Prime Minister's Department to Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered 11 December 1939,


Reference meeting League Assembly. Secretary-General [1] has been advised McDougall [2] will act as Commonwealth representative.

Following views of Commonwealth Government are transmitted for McDougall’s guidance.

(a) Soviet-Finnish dispute If resolution condemning Soviet action is proposed in Assembly, support of Commonwealth Government for resolution should be indicated. If resolution goes further and involves sanctions against Russia then reference should be made to the policy of the Commonwealth Government that any imposition of sanctions will be matter for consideration by individual governments and that it will give effect to measures for enforcement of sanctions only if these measures are applied collectively by Members of League as a whole. If Assembly should be asked to express opinion concerning expulsion of Russia from League, it is desired McDougall should report direct to Commonwealth Government on general attitude of League Members concerning expulsion, when specific instructions on voting in light of all available information will be sent. Recognising the necessity at present time of all members of British Commonwealth being in closest accord with United Kingdom, McDougall should work in close consultation and collaboration with United Kingdom delegation. If Commonwealth Government view as indicated above is not in conformity with United Kingdom policy, please report immediately, and advise what United Kingdom policy is.

(b) If Council and Permanent Court Elections come before Assembly, support of Commonwealth Government for candidature South Africa for Council and Hurst, Ahmed, Basdevant [3] for Court should be indicated. Support for other candidates Council or Court should be determined at McDougall’s discretion after consultation with representatives of members of British Commonwealth with view maintenance common front.


1 Joseph L.A. Avenol.

2 F.L. McDougall, economic adviser to the High Commissioner in London.

3 The candidates of the United Kingdom, India and France respectively.


[AA: CP 290/6, ITEM 31]