Sir Geoffrey Whiskard, U.K. High Commissioner to Australia, to Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Letter CANBERRA, 5 September 1939


I understand from my Government that they have received a telegram from the New Zealand Government stating that the existence of a state of war with Germany has been proclaimed in New Zealand and asking that we will take any steps which may be necessary to indicate to the German Government that His Majesty’s Government in New Zealand associate themselves with the action taken by His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom.

It is proposed to make a communication in the terms requested through the United States Ambassador in London [1], but in this event it would seem to my Government most desirable that a similar communication should at the same time be made as regards the Commonwealth Government. In these circumstances my Government have requested me to take up the matter at once with you and to suggest that if you agree, the most suitable procedure would appear to be for the Commonwealth Government to send an official telegram to the United Kingdom Government asking for a communication to be made on similar lines as regards the position of the Commonwealth.

As the matter is most immediate my Office communicated the substance of this message to your Department orally early this morning for transmission to you at once in accordance with the request of my Government. [2]



1 Joseph P. Kennedy.

2 The substance of this letter was telephoned to the Prime Minister’s Department at 4 a.m. on 5 September 1939 by R.R.

Sedgwick, Official Secretary of the U.K. High Commission in Australia.


[AA:A1608, M41/1/1]