Cabinet Minute

Minute 228 CANBERRA, 13 November 1939

WAR AIMS The Prime Minister [1] read to Cabinet the reply of the British Government [2] to his cable on the war aims of the Commonwealth (31/10/39). [3] An appreciation of Sir Eric Phipps, Ambassador at Paris, was also read, indicating his views of the mental background of the French people on the matter of war aims. [4]

It was agreed that the British statement was too uncertain and that there were in substance two war aims-(i) immediate, and (ii) ultimate. There was no difference of opinion as to the immediate aim, namely to completely defeat Germany. In regard to the second, the Australian Government did not lend itself to any suggestions for the dismemberment of Germany for this in its view would ultimately lead to another war. Exception was also taken to the suggestion in the British reply that some German Government might be found acceptable to the Allies. The view was expressed (a) that if the British Government anticipated an internal revolution in Germany they were over-optimistic; (b) that if it contemplated a puppet government, it could not serve any purpose.

It was agreed that the Prime Minister should, along the general lines indicated, prepare and despatch a cablegram to the United Kingdom. [5]


1 R.G. Menzies.

2 Documents 339 and 340.

3 See Documents 311 and 316. The cablegram was sent on 28 October 1939 and confirmed by Cabinet on 31 October.

4 Document 341. The appreciation was in fact prepared by R.I.

Campbell, UX. Charge d’Affaires in Paris.

5 Document 359.


[AA: A2697, VOL. 3B]