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

Cablegram 1053 LONDON, 3 December 1940, 5.45 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL MOST SECRET

PALESTINE. Illicit immigrants. As a result of [disaster] [1] 'Patria', question of refusing admission reconsidered by the United Kingdom Government. I strongly questioned the wisdom and urged adherence to decision already taken-my telegram No. 1023.

[2] War Cabinet decided as act of grace and owing to circumstances to admit 1800 ex 'Patria'.

Wavell [3] has now telegraphed to Eden [4] strongly urging against admission and the British Ambassador at Cairo [5] has also telegraphed Halifax [6] strongly supporting Wavell's view.

The War Cabinet has been shaken by these communications but feel must adhere to decision with proviso no further illicit immigrants will be admitted under any circumstances.

As I am convinced that the same game will be tried again and have some apprehensions as to the United Kingdom Government's adhering to proviso suggest a cable from you expressing your views might be helpful in stiffening their attitude.

BRUCE

1 Inserted from Bruce's copy on file AA:M100, December 1940. The Patria, a refugee ship which was carrying some 1800 Jewish illegal immigrants being deported to Mauritius, sank at Haifa on 25 November 1940.

2 Document 202.

3 U.K. Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East.

4 U.K. Secretary of State for War.

5 Sir Miles Lampson.

6 U.K. Foreign Secretary.

[AA:A981, PALESTINE 8, vi]