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

Cablegram 602 LONDON, 26 July 1940, 10.35 p.m.

IMMEDIATE FOR THE PRIME MINISTER PERSONAL FOR HIMSELF MOST SECRET

High Commissioners had a meeting with the Prime Minister [1] this morning. Principal questions discussed:

(1) Smuts' and your cables re possible economic offensive by Hitler [2], (2) Japan, and (3) Possibility of United Kingdom acting as mediator in improving Turkish-Soviet relations.

With regard to (1) the Prime Minister expressed the view that the urgency of the question had been diminished by the omission from Hitler's recent speech of anything specific as to Germany's plan for European economic future. I urged that the matter might at any time again become urgent particularly if Hitler decided attempted invasion United Kingdom too risky-or having attempted was repelled. In any case we should be prepared with positive proposals to counter any move on his part, particularly as Europe, faced with starvation and suffering under Gestapo while their (sic] countries are occupied, might in the absence of any alternative despairingly acquiesce.

The Prime Minster expatiated at considerable length on the subject of Europe after the war and to my surprise visualised the necessity of League of Nations or some similar body having armed strength to enforce its decisions and internationalised troops.

Although discussion was a lengthy one I do not anticipate that any action will be taken to translate the views that the Prime Minister expressed into any definite proposals for discussion and, when agreed to, for use should occasion arise. The only course is to continue to hammer at other members of the Government.

With regard to (2), I put the position strongly down the lines of your telegram of 25th July [3], and with regard to (3) I emphasised particularly the point raised in my telegram No. 587.

[4]

The discussions on (2) and (3) were in my view very useful. The Prime Minister's mind is so pre-occupied with the immediate problem of the defence of the United Kingdom-possibly a good thing as this issue for the moment transcends all others-that I gather it is very difficult to get him to give his mind to other questions. I believe that your telegram was of real educational value and discussions both on Japan and Turkish-Soviet relations will make him take a greater personal interest in both questions.

BRUCE

1 Winston S. Churchill.

2 See Document 30 3 Document 34.

4 Dispatched 22 July. See file AA: M100, July 1040. The cablegram discussed means of bringing about Turko-Soviet rapprochement so as to bar Germany's advance towards Asia Minor and wean the U.S.S.R.

from German influence.

[AA: A981, WAR 45, IV]