196 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner in Australia

Cablegram 379 LONDON, 9 November 1940, 11.30 p.m.

IMPORTANT MOST SECRET AND PERSONAL

Commonwealth Government telegram No. 580 of 8th November. [1]

Please convey to the Prime Minister [2] the great appreciation of H.M. Government in the United Kingdom of the co-operation of H.M.

Government in the Commonwealth in this question.

2. Full weight will of course be given by Commander-in-Chief Middle East [3] to considerations referred to in above telegram, viz. that degree of training and scale of equipment of any troops selected for duty in question will be adequate to enable them to discharge their tasks.

3. The importance which H.M. Government in the Commonwealth attach to grouping of components of Australian Imperial Force into an Australian Corps under their own commander is fully appreciated and it is still our intention that this should be accomplished at the earliest possible moment. For this purpose any Australian contingents which may be sent to Crete will be replaced there by other troops as soon as this is practicable in the light of the general situation. It will however be realized that in existing circumstances it is not possible to give a definite (group omitted ?date) by which this can be done.

4. A similar message is being sent to Prime Minister of New Zealand [4] and text is being repeated by War Office to Commander- in-Chief, Middle East.

1 Document 194.

2 R. G. Menzies.

3 General Sir Archibald Wavell.

4 Peter Fraser.

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