373 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Acting Prime Minister

Cablegram M35 LONDON, 29 March 1941, 1.30 p.m.


Your telegram 176 of 28th March. [1] I have not yet received letter from Blamey dated 5th March [2] to which you refer. It seems curious for Blamey to write and not cable on matters of such urgency.

I pointed out in the War Cabinet here that the timetable for troop movements difficult and slow but was assured that Dill [3] and Wavell [4] were nevertheless favourable. I will again take the matter up and ask for definite information regarding reinforcements and the sending of troops to the Middle East, though I know that all available shipping is being intensively used.

You will also appreciate that the fall of Keren will greatly improve the position. Wavell was of the opinion in Cairo that after Keren, the cleaning up of North East Africa would only be a matter of weeks. Particular attention is being paid to aircraft and reinforcements are going every week. I was certainly informed of Blamey's agreement and cannot understand why he should regard himself merely as receiving instructions. He knows of his powers as General Officer Commanding A.I.F. and should not have hesitated to offer his views and to apprise us of any views he had.

The only cable I had related to Command of the force, of which he made no great point. However, I will raise with Churchill the question of absence of discussion with Blamey.

The view here is that while the adventure is hazardous, it has reasonable chances of success.

These are now improved if Yugoslavia goes as well as Churchill anticipates and Turkey is stimulated by her example. Personally I feel that no chance to form a Balkan Front should be neglected and that our aid to Greece may prove the decisive factor in stiffening resistance.


1 Document 370 (in fact dispatched 27 March).

2 Document 335 3 Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

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

[AA:A3195, 1941, 1.4735]