Lt Col W.R. Hodgson, Secretary of Department of External Affairs, to Mr A.T. Stirling, External Affairs Officer in London

Cablegram 51 22 August 1939,


Personal for Stirling. Minister [1] desires me to inform you that cabinet [2] has been very embarrassed over failure to receive any reply to my most urgent message this morning. Press and wireless had early report of German announcement [3] which was being featured throughout world, and Government though subjected to pressure, was unable all day to make any statement as to actual facts of position.

Apparently there was some gap in the circuit of communication to you. Minister desires that some staff arrangements be made immediately to ensure that if most immediate messages are sent to you in morning Australian time that some reply will be received in reasonable time.



1 Sir Henry Gullett.

2 Although Cabinet met on 22 August no record of discussion has been found.

3 The official German news agency announced at 11.20 p.m. (Berlin time) on 21 August that ‘The German Government and the Soviet Government have come to an understanding with regard to the conclusion of a non-aggression Pact. German Foreign Minister, Herr von Ribbentrop will arrive in Moscow on Wednesday to bring the negotiations to a conclusion’. (See unnumbered cablegram from Stirling to External Affairs Department, 22 August 1939, on file AA: A981, Germany 72B, i.)


[AA: A981, GERMANY 72B, i]