160 Commonwealth Government to Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 769 [1] CANBERRA, 5 December 1941

MOST SECRET AND MOST IMMEDIATE

Replying to your telegram M.416. [2] Proposed declaration of state of War Finland, Hungary and Roumania. We raise no objection to a very limited further delay in this long delayed transaction, but we think the greatest care should be taken to avoid defeating the main object of the decision taken by the United Kingdom Government and us which was to consult Stalin and act according to his wishes as representing an ally. (See M.341 [3], M.352 [4], M.371 [5] and our 708 [6].) We further point out- (a) Stalin has now been consulted repeatedly and has never wavered in his attitude.

(b) There is danger if, after delivery of an ultimatum, the period is extended without even a request by the countries concerned.

(c) We see little reason why the desire to add one more to Finland's already numerous chances of retreat should result in Hungary and Roumania escaping a declaration. [7]

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 515.

2 Dispatched 3 December. On file AA : A981, War 44. It reported that as there was still some prospect of inducing Finland to cease hostilities against the U.S.S.R., the U.K. Geer bad decided to defer temporarily the declaration of war against Finland, Hungary and Rumania.

3 Document 92.

4 & 5 See Document 93, note 4 6 Document 93.

7 On the same day Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs, drew the attention of S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to the dispatch of this cablegram and advised him that his previous comments (see Document 93, note 2) had greatly appealed to the War Cabinet and Advisory War Council and since receiving them the Commonwealth Govt 'had tried to preserve a firm and consistent attitude'. See cablegram 371 on file cited in note 2.

[AA : A1608, 0.41/1/2]