264 Mr A. S. Watt, First Secretary of the Legation in Washington, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 76 WASHINGTON, 31 January 1941, 12.15 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

My telegram No. 407. [1] United Kingdom and United States conversations between delegations have now commenced. Burrell [2] is in daily consultation with United Kingdom delegation and is kept fully informed of all aspects of the conversations.

Canadian representative Commander German R.C.N. retired arrived today.

British Embassy has communicated with the United Kingdom Government (a) to confirm that Dominions have been fully informed of the United Kingdom delegation's instructions and (b) stating that progress reports of the conversations will be made by this Legation to Canberra for the information of Australia and New Zealand and by Canadian Legation to Ottawa.

Need for utmost secrecy cannot be over emphasised particularly in view of the present tension caused by publicity of the discussions of the present Lend-Lease Bill and the possible effect on this vital issue of any leakage of information.

Rear-Admiral Bellairs Head of United Kingdom delegation requests urgent information regarding (1) proposed despatch of Australian brigade group to Singapore including the date of arrival (2) Approximate dates for arrival at Singapore of torpedo bomber squadron of Australian manufactured Beauforts which it is understood will be formed within the next few months.

WATT

1 Document 213.

2 Naval Attache at the Legation in Washington.

[AA:A981, FAR EAST 26A]