34 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister
Circular cablegram M215 LONDON, 6 August 1941, 12.55 a.m.
IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET
Following for Prime Minister.
My Circular M.213 of 5th August. 
The question of giving an assurance to the Netherlands Government has been under prolonged consideration here and has been the subject of frequent approaches by the Netherlands Government, more particularly in relation to the recommendations of the Singapore Conference.  But we have not hitherto felt able to enter into definite commitment, owing largely to uncertainty as to the attitude of the United States Government.
2. When the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs  saw the Netherlands Minister  on 1st August, however, he said that as a result of recent consideration of the whole Far Eastern question he was in a position to tell him that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom deemed themselves already to have assumed the duty of safeguarding and restoring the possessions and rights of the Netherlands to the best of their ability during war and at peace. It followed, therefore, that an attack on the Netherlands East Indies would lead His Majesty's Government to do the utmost in their power, though His Majesty's Government must remain the sole judge of what action or military measures were practicable and likely to achieve a common purpose. Mr. Eden added that of course much would depend on the attitude of the United States Government since supporting action by them would render many things possible which could not be undertaken now.
3. The Netherlands Minister expressed satisfaction that Mr. Eden had been able to speak in this sense, since our delay in giving any reply to the Netherlands Government's approach had begun to cause anxiety particularly to the Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies , who perhaps did not understand as well as the Netherlands Government in London the difficulties of our position.