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280 Mr P. Liesching, U.K, Acting High Commissioner to Australia, to Lord Stanley, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram 186 27 September 1938,

IMMEDIATE SECRET AND PERSONAL

Following for Harding [1] Begins. I saw the Prime Minister's
message this afternoon [2] (telegram No. 96 [3]) in draft shortly
before he [4] telephoned first to Mr Bruce [5] and subsequently to
Mr Chamberlain. [6] It is primarily the work of Menzies [7] and
Casey [8] and as such is obviously entitled to all the respect due
to authoritative views which can only be expressed by Ministers.

Nevertheless I am here to form the best opinion I can with the
numerous contacts open to me and I do so with a full sense of
responsibility. The Prime Minister's telegram was drafted some
hours before the Cabinet (with the significant exception of Mr
Hughes [9] who is ill today but has been successful in resisting
earlier proposals to telegraph unreserved approval of concessions
beyond the limits indicated in my telegram No. 184 [10]) had seen
Dominions Office telegram Circular B. No.279 [11] and appreciation
of His Majesty's Ambassador at Berlin. [12] 1 could hardly believe
that it should have been sent, as it was, after those telegrams
had been studied and should purport to represent general opinion
here. I feel bound to record my considered view that Mr Lyons'
message is very far from representing the core of Australian
majority opinion, except as regards its first paragraph, and that
it would be condemned by public sentiment here as an insulting
under-estimate of their appreciation of immediate and ultimate
issues involved.

1 Sir Edward Harding, Permanent Under-Secretary, U.K. Dominions
Office.

2 This refers to 26 September, when presumably this cablegram was
drafted.

3 Document 278.

4 J. A. Lyons, Prime Minister.

5 S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London.

6 Neville Chamberlain, U.K. Prime Minister.

7 R. G. Menzies, Attorney-General.

8 R. G. Casey, Treasurer and Minister in charge of Development.

9 W. M. Hughes, Minister for External Affairs.

10 Document 270.

11 Not printed.

12 Not printed. The U.K. Ambassador was Sir Nevile Henderson.


[PRO : FO 371/21777]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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