328 Note by Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, of Conversation with Lord Halifax, U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, at the Foreign Office

LONDON, 6 December 1938

MINISTER WASHINGTON I spoke to Lord Halifax with regard to the question of Australia having a Minister in Washington and found he had not given very much thought to the general question of separate Dominion representation in foreign countries but on the whole was inclined to think that it had worked out fairly well-that the individuals when they actually got to their posts did co-operate with the British Ambassador or Minister and that the anticipated danger of the Empire talking with two voices had not, in fact, arisen.

We then discussed the question from the point of view of the special circumstances of the United States and I suggested that if Australia had a first class representative there who was working closely with the British Ambassador he might be very valuable as it would be possible for him to say things that wanted saying but which it would be quite impossible for the British Ambassador to give utterance to.

The upshot of the conversation was that while Halifax gave no positive advice in favour of our having a representative he saw no objection to our doing so if we decided it was advisable.

PALESTINE I then spoke to him about Palestine and told him that Australia's views were very definitely that we must not arouse the hostility of the Arabs in trying to pacify the Jews.

Australia considered that the existing balance of population namely 2 Arabs to 1 Jew should not be upset.

I told him I was putting Australia's point of view to him because I was perfectly certain that any attempt at a settlement by Britain which involved a quarrel with the Arab population of the East would bring forth a strong protest.

He said that his own mind was very similar to that of Australia.

[AA : AA1970/556, ITEM 6(1)]