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

Cablegram 2855 8 June 1941,


We have received cable from Blamey [1] in which he expresses his views regarding Cyprus.

It appears that the intention is to hold Cyprus, at least for the time being. It seems clear, however, that the Chiefs of Staff in the United Kingdom place Cyprus as of lesser importance than the Western Desert and Syria, and apparently no further troops, transport or equipment can be made available for Cyprus. Despite this, the Chiefs of Staff have decreed that 'Garrison must be retained to force enemy to undertake serious operations to capture it' (Cyprus).

You will of course appreciate what this means.

Another forced evacuation, particularly if accompanied with great losses, will have serious effect on public opinion in America and elsewhere, whilst in Australia there are certain to be serious reactions which may well involve the Government. Concisely, my view is that there are but two alternatives, either Cyprus is to be held-and to that end should be garrisoned by a sufficiently strong force-or, if such a force is not available, then the enterprise should be abandoned. [2]


1 General Officer Commanding and A.I.F. in the Middle East.

2 Menzies dispatched a similar cablegram (probably numbered Gordon 1) to Winston S. Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister, On the same day.

See PRO: DO 35/1009, ii.

[AA: A3196, 1941, 0.7642]