Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered 5 September 1939,


Thanks your telegram 4th September, 405. [1] As we see the position at present our task for some time will be the completing of training of forces for Australian defence. Until position of Japan has been cleared up it will be useless even to discuss the sending of expeditionary force and in any event we have great doubts as to just how war is to be carried on and the ultimate use of our troops. Personally I can visualise the possibility of our reinforcing Singapore at some stage or putting garrisons into places in Middle East. Whilst we will naturally have to determine our own course, I would be glad if you would maintain closest contact with British Government on these points so that you may advise me.

Unnecessary to emphasise the importance of secrecy since any suggestion at present of sending troops out of Australia would be widely condemned. [2]



1 Document 194 2 Bruce replied on 7 September 1939 that he entirely agreed with Menzies’s views and had stressed to the U.K. Government the absolute necessity of avoiding any suggestion of an expeditionary force (see Bruce’s cablegram 422, on file AA:A981, War 45B).


[AA:AA1972/341, Box 6, TELEGRAMS … SEPTEMBER 1939]