286 Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram 681 12 February 1941,

MOST SECRET

War Cabinet has today given consideration to question of armed forces necessary for defence of Australia combined with adjacent areas in the Pacific and the Far East, having regard to present menacing Japanese position. [1]

If situation should deteriorate calling for further reinforcement by us of existing troops in the Singapore and adjacent areas, this, with our commitments in North Africa, combined with the necessity for ensuring our own local defence, would make heavy drain on our resources.

During the discussion of Far Eastern situation, question arose as to extent that Canadian Forces might possibly be utilised, and, without making any formal approach to United Kingdom authorities, it would be appreciated if you will make soundings in this regard and advise me personally.

1 See War Cabinet Minutes 790 and 796 of 12 February in AA:A2673, vol. 5.

[AA:A3196, 1941, 0.1828]