315 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 368 LONDON, 30 May 1940, 9.56 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL HIMSELF

Reference my telegram en clair B 84. [1] Statement has caused grave concern here on grounds: (1) disclosure secret D W information (2) 'Large proportion' of inaccuracy. [2]

With regard to (1) although publicity given in French [3] communiques nothing has been said here as proposed joint French and British communique would be made at appropriate moment framed to obviate suggestion British desertion of the French.

With regard to (2) forty thousand out of 200,000 not large proportion but if believed by Germans might stimulate them to intensify attacks; also tendency to raise false hopes among relatives of members of B.E.F.

BRUCE

1 On file AA: A981, EA Dept 192, ii. It contained a brief summary of a statement made in the House of Representatives on 30 May 1940 by John McEwen, Minister for External Affairs. See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 163, p. 1564.

2 In Bruce's file copy 'of inaccuracy' read 'inaccurate' (see AA:

M100, May 1940).

3 In Bruce's file copy 'French' read 'German'.

[AA: A981, WAR 45, iv]