194 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 580 8 November 1940,

MOST SECRET MOST IMMEDIATE

Repeated to Prime Minister of New Zealand [1], No. 59, and to Commander in Chief, Middle East. [2]

Reference your telegram No. 376 to United Kingdom High Commissioner [3]: Agree that holding of Crete is of first importance and we are ready to give every proper assistance.

I therefore concur in the selection for Crete of Australian troops now retained in Egypt for internal security duties, provided of course that their degree of training is such as to enable them adequately to discharge the duties involved in the defence of Crete and that their equipment will be fully sufficient for that purpose.

As you are aware from earlier advices of the importance which we attach to the units of the A.I.F. serving in an Australian Corps under their own Commanders, it is assumed that, when the Forces at the disposal of the Commander-in-Chief, Middle East, become adequate for the purpose, the replacement of our units will be arranged.

1 Peter Fraser.

2 General Sir Archibald Wavell.

3 Incorrect reference to the cablegram printed as Document 193.

[AA:A3196, 1940, 0.8590]