Commonwealth Government to Mr A. Eden, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs

Cablegram [165 [1]] 14 November 1939,

Reference your Circular D.68. [2] Australian Government does not desire to make merely verbal criticisms. We feel that there are two underlying matters of great importance: The first is that we should do nothing to impair our complete unity with France and that consequently in any statement the greatest emphasis must be placed upon the view that our first war aim is to win completely and not to become involved in a patched-up compromise. From this point of view we dislike the reference in paragraph four to the possibility of finding a German Government which is willing and able voluntarily to accept our terms. If this contemplates a revolutionary movement in Germany, we think it overoptimistic. If it contemplates some form of puppet government, we think it dangerous.

Our second war aim is to establish after Victory a more secure Europe and therefore a more secure world, and this will involve territorial, economic and political settlements of a kind designed to encourage disarmament, a stimulation of international trade-if possible by a revival of international investment, and territorial settlements which are based not upon the status quo but upon the giving of real independence to peoples who are by race and tradition outside the German State.

We are profoundly apprehensive of any suggestion that the peace of Europe or of the world is to be secured by the political dismemberment of Germany or any artificial attempt to disrupt the German unity, for we feel that such a suggestion would not only have the present effect of rallying the German people behind Hitler [3] , but would have the ultimate effect of laying the foundations for a future nationalistic move of an aggressive kind which would inevitably produce another war.

In brief, we think that there is everything to be gained by stating, in conjunction with France, our irrevocable determination to pursue this war to victory, while at the same time announcing for the benefit of the whole world that we are not looking for a peace, when the war has been won, which has to be indefinitely maintained by force, but that we are genuinely anxious to establish international conditions which will conduce to freedom and prosperity, not only for ourselves and the smaller European States whose existence has been destroyed or threatened, but for Germany herself.


1 The number did not appear on the copy cited. It has been taken from a copy of the decipher sent by the Dominions Office to S.M.

Bruce, High Commissioner in London (On file AA: M100, November 1939). Copies were also sent directly to Bruce and to the Canadian, New Zealand and South African Prime Ministers (see copy on file AA: A1608, A41/1/1, v).

2 Document 340.

3 Adolf Hitler, German Chancellor.


[AA: A981, WAR 45B, ii]