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

Cablegram 380 LONDON, 3 June 1940, 9.40 p.m.


Estimated Germans will only require three or four more days to reorganize armoured divisions and early drive southward against French anticipated. War Cabinet decision is to send two divisions immediately and certain air support, but nothing like what asked for. Anxieties indicated last night of French capacity to hold persist, but felt in many quarters that French morale has now stiffened and they will fight on in face of further reverses.

Personally I have grave anxieties that further German successes will lead to French collapse.

Italy being informed today of intention to stop ships. [1] I have stressed that I see no point in doing so unless we were prepared also to ask for definite assurances that Italy will not come into the war and within an hour of their being refused act on line of plans which have already been prepared. This course, however, which I, with the support of the High Commissioners for South Africa and Canada [2], acting entirely personally, have been urging on the consideration of the United Kingdom Government for some days, they are not prepared to take. Their grounds are the possibility that Italy may still not come in, the difficulty of obtaining French consent and the possibility of Turkey not regarding herself as bound under treaty if war in the Mediterranean brought about by Allied action. This last point could have been overcome by active and resolute diplomacy. I have been specially asked not to refer to subject matter of today's Z cable. [3]


1 See Document 329. Italy, however, was not informed of the intention to stop her ships. (See Bruce's cablegram 389 of 6 June 1940, on file AA: A1608, H41/1/4, ii.) 2 S. F. Waterson and Vincent Massey.

3 This sentence was a separate paragraph in Bruce's file copy (on AA: M100, June 1940). It appears to refer to the U.K. Dominion Secretary's circular cablegram Z87 of 3 June 1940 on the possibility of a German invasion of Ireland (on file AA: A1608, L41/1/2).

[FA: A3195, 1.3832]