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

Cablegram unnumbered 18 October 1939,


Latham [1] has without request from me asked me to telegraph you as from him as follows:-

begins-‘Venture to urge strongly you give earnest consideration to suggestion to represent Australia at Washington. Immediate (risk) to (Australian) (group undecypherable) and ultimate risk and danger to Empire possibly depend on attitude Japan. This attitude win be profoundly affected by attitude America. Statement (by) America that she could not be disinterested in any important changes in Pacific might be sufficient to deter Japan from entering war against Empire. In view of substantial distrust in America of man [sic] and British motives (consider) it not improbable that Australian representative of personal reputation, precedence, skill (group undecypherable) experience might well turn scale if vital issue arose. You are especially qualified.’ [2]

I would add for myself that if you feel you should not go I would propose (send) Casey. [3]



1 Sir John Latham, Chief Justice of the High Court.

2 Bruce acknowledged this cablegram in cablegram 570 to Menzies, 18 October 1939, not printed (on file AA: M100, October 1939), which read ‘Your cable crossed mine. Appreciate importance of Latham’s views’.

3 R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development. This cablegram was mutilated in transmission, but no Canberra version has been found.


[AA: M100, OCTOBER 1939]