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35 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr W. S. Churchill, U.K. Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 8 August 1941

(To be re-transmitted from London to Mr. Churchill immediately.)
Delighted to know that this meeting between yourself and Roosevelt
is taking place. [1] It will have stimulating effect all over the
world. You will I think have a great opportunity of influencing
his mind in the direction of dramatic action. My own impression in
America was that the natural process of developing public opinion
had gone about as far as it would and that the next stage depended
on Roosevelt whose personal prestige would assure him a majority
for any vigorous course. If this is right you of all men can give
him what he needs.

I hope you will seize the opportunity not only to deal with the
Atlantic and European problem but also to clarify the Far Eastern
position. I do not think that there is any doubt that firm and
unequivocal attitude by the United States is the one thing that
will deter Japan from continuing on a course leading to war. If
Japan enters the war or by threat of our vital interests compels
the British Empire into war the effect upon the disposition of
Australian forces of all arms may be far-reaching and certainly
you would have a naval problem of the gravest character.

The Far Eastern position is thus seen not as a remote incidental
matter but as something crucial and intimate. On this matter also
I found Roosevelt extremely sympathetic but reluctant to be too
precise; and yet precision and firmness are the real antidote to

I am sure that you have these matters in mind but I just want you
to know that in Australia and no doubt in New Zealand these
aspects of your discussions will be closely watched and the
outcome most anxiously awaited.

Kindest regards and good wishes.


1 Menzies had been informed by both Churchill and S. M. Bruce,
High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, of Roosevelt's secret
invitation to Churchill to meet him 'somewhere in Newfoundland'
(see circular cablegram Z256 and cablegram 618 of 6 August), Bruce
subsequently informed Menzies (cablegram 627 of 7 August) that he
had persuaded the U.K. Foreign Secretary, Anthony Eden, to cable
Churchill urging the importance of a thorough discussion of the
situation in the Far East and advised Menzies to do likewise. All
cablegrams are on file AA : A1608, N41/1/1.

[AA : A3196, 1941, 0.11482]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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