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

Cablegram unnumbered LONDON, 30 July 1940, 9.30 p.m.

Your telegram 30th July, Agricultural products [1], reached me after mine to-day's date had been despatched. Summary contained in my telegram is best estimate of position which can be obtained having regard to existing conditions here and uncertainty of future.

Meat. I have represented strongly that Ministry should make necessary shipping provision to lift whatever quantity of meat you are likely to have available from this current season in excess of 260,000 tons and have estimated that figure [at] UP to 24,000 tons. Matter is being examined and I shall advise you of result as soon as possible.

Collapse of France and return of British Expeditionary Force have entirely altered the situation here and quantities including those diverted by recent events are in excess of handling capacity. It is not a question of imposing quantitative restrictions with a view to doing deals with South America. As indicated in my separate telegram today [2], Woolton [3] finding it impossible at present to give clear indication regarding future quantities of meat since European events dictate substantial revision of policy.

Whilst I am endeavouring strongly to have your full production lifted this year, I feel I should warn you that despite strongest representations we can make, I consider it unlikely, particularly in view of the fact that meat has been placed very low in nutritional scale to which careful consideration has now been given and with regard to which drastic action is contemplated unless some unlooked for circumstance arises, that U.K. Government will be prepared to commit themselves to take your full production next year.

BRUCE

1 Document 39.

2 Document 41.

3 U.K. Minister of Food.

[AA:A3195, 1940, i.6082]