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

Cablegram 1464 3 December 1940,


My cablegram No. 627 to Dominions Office [1] relative to Singapore Naval Base has since despatch been placed before the Advisory War Council, and it has recommended to the Government that representations be made to the United Kingdom Government regarding the possibility of basing three or four capital ships at Singapore without prejudice to the security of other areas where they may now be located.

2. In view of the recent British naval successes in the Mediterranean and the increase in the number of capital ships it is considered, if circumstances permit, that the course proposed would have a great deterrent effect on Japan and meet with a favourable reaction from the U.S.A. Government who would no doubt be consulted in regard to any such move.

3. It is realised that capital ships require cruisers, destroyers and other vessels for completeness as a tactical unit and that the strain placed on the present cruiser and destroyer strength is considerable. However, it was noted from Dominions Office cablegram 268 of 11th August [2] that, in the first phase of an Anglo-Japanese war, a battlecruiser and a fast aircraft carrier would be based on Ceylon. With the recent improvement of the naval position in the Mediterranean, it is suggested that consideration be given to the possibility of the adoption of the greater proposal or at least the lesser one mentioned.

4. I would be glad if you would raise the foregoing with the Prime Minister [3] or First Lord of the Admiralty [4] and advise me of their views when it can be decided whether any representations should be made to the Government. [5]


1 Document 212.

2 Document 64.

3 Winston S. Churchill.

4 A. V. Alexander.

5 Bruce reported on 5 December that he had urged the U.K.

authorities to supply immediately a full appreciation of the naval position. See cablegram 1056 on file AA:A1608, x27/1/1.

[AA:A3196, 1940, 0.9605]