514 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram S28 LONDON, 2 June 1942


Reference Dominions Office telegram No. 442. [1] Point raised is one I anticipated Prime Minister would have put to Evatt [2] in their final conversation last Friday but in fact it was not. My reason for this anticipation was that I knew Fraser [3] had cabled when I took over from Page [4] indicating that he did not want Jordan [5] to attend War Cabinet meetings but Australian High Commissioner doing so placed him in some difficulty-this most secret. Trouble was got over but Attlee [6] saw me yesterday suggested matter might be revived on announcement of my appointment as Accredited Representative and asked if I thought you would mind Prime Minister suggesting it should be made clear that I was shedding for the time being my routine functions as High Commissioner. I told him I quite understood their difficulty, that I was sure you would and that I saw no objection to Prime Minister cabling. Hence Dominions Office telegram No. 442.

Apart from United Kingdom's embarrassment it will be necessary for me in order to devote the required time to my duties as Accredited Representative to leave many of the matters I have been handling to Duncan. [7] Foreseeing this I raised with Evatt the desirability of Duncan being appointed Deputy High Commissioner in order to improve his status and position in carrying out the work that would fall to him. As Prime Minister did not raise the question of my position as High Commissioner we decided to let the matter rest, at all events till Evatt got back to Australia. Now however that matter has been raised I think it would be desirable at the same time as any public statement is made that I am giving up part of my duties as High Commissioner it should be announced that these duties will be discharged by Duncan who has been appointed Deputy High Commissioner.

I have repeated this cable and Dominions Office telegram No. 442 to Evatt. [8]


1 Dispatched 2 June (AA:A3195, 1942,1.21415). It conveyed a message from Winston Churchill suggesting that Bruce be relieved of the routine functions of High Commissioner while he was Accredited Representative so that the other Dominions would not be encouraged to press for a similar status for their own High Commissioners.

2 Minister for External Affairs.

3 N.Z. Prime Minister.

4 As Accredited Representative pending Evatt's arrival in London.

5 N.Z. High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

6 U.K. Dominions Secretary.

7 Official Secretary of the High Commission in London.

8 See cablegrams 58-9 to Washington on file AA:M100, June 1942.

[AA:M100, JUNE 1942]