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

Cablegram 387 (extract) LONDON, 5 June 1940, 8.48 p.m.

IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET PERSONAL

Italy. In personal conversation with Loraine [1] Ciano [2] left no doubt of imminent war. Loraine adds that his guess is within a week. My telegram No. 376 [3]: grounds of detention of Italian ships will be exercise of contraband control. If ships convoyed detention will be carried out by force if any interference attempted.

Reports from Spain indicate growing hostility against England and Hoare [4] telegraphed his opinion that Spain will follow Italy if the latter enters the war, owing to Franco's [5] belief in Mussolini's judgment. Nevertheless strong volume of opinion in Spain will remain neutral.

BRUCE

1 U.K. Ambassador to Italy.

2 Italian Foreign Minister.

3 Document 329.

4 U.K. Ambassador to Spain.

5 Spanish Chief of State.

[AA: A981, ITALY 60B]