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

Cablegram 2 LONDON, 13 August 1941


Developments of last 24 hours have intensified desirability of your coming to London and in my view questions of such vital importance to Australia will be under consideration in the immediate future that you should get here as soon as it is physically possible to do so.

Dominions Z.258 [1] will have informed you that President's [2] idea of negotiating on Japan's conditions so as to gain a moratorium of say 30 days has been agreed to. This is unpalatable in view of the nature of those conditions but well worth while in exchange for U.S.A. acceptance of the inclusion in the American note to Japan of the warnings set out in the penultimate paragraph of Z.258. During the contemplated 30 days moratorium and particularly in the latter part of it when you could possibly be here, it is of vital consideration to Australia that our point of view should be fully represented in the War Cabinet when the many questions that will arise are under discussion. This will be equally important following the moratorium period as then we will probably either be facing war or formulating policies for future relations in the Pacific, the area in which we have a paramount interest.

In addition to the problem of the Pacific all the questions discussed and understandings arrived at between the President and Prime Minister [3] including their joint declaration will be under consideration in the immediate future.

In my view the next two or three months will be of transcending importance in which fundamental questions concerning the war and the post war world will be determined.

In view of the magnitude of these issues it is imperative that our point of view should be fully and adequately represented. This can only be done by the presence here of the Prime Minister of Australia with the prestige and authority attaching to the head of the Government of the outstanding Dominion.

Out of a considerable experience of these people and knowledge of the personalities in the United Kingdom Government I say without hesitation that any Minister of lesser authority than the Prime Minister would be able to accomplish little and even you notwithstanding the remarkable impression you created during your recent visit would find yourself frustrated without the status of a Prime Minister.

A further reason for your coming to London immediately is that there is now a distinct prospect of a Meeting of Prime Ministers here. Mackenzie King [4] is due in England on Sunday-this most secret-and Fraser [5] has as a result postponed his departure, contemplated for tomorrow. Smuts [6] is at present in Cairo-this also most secret-and pressure is being put on him to come on here.

Should these three Dominion Prime Ministers be in England together it would I suggest for many reasons be regrettable if Australia's Prime Minister was not here also. [7]


1 Document 40.

2 Franklin D. Roosevelt.

3 Winston Churchill.

4 Canadian Prime Minister.

5 N.Z. Prime Minister.

6 South African Prime Minister.

7 On 18 August Bruce informed Menzies that a meeting of Dominion Prime Ministers was now unlikely. See cablegram 6 on file AA :

M100, August 1941.

[AA : M100, AUGUST 1941]