55 Note by Bruce

[LONDON], 6 October 1942

I learnt to-day of the Prime Minister's reactions to my letter of the 25th September and my two Memoranda. [1]

Apparently he became somewhat violent on the subject and dictated, and in fact signed, a letter to me in which I gather he suggested that I was advocating a change of Government here and pointing out that that was a matter for the United Kingdom Parliament to decide, but he, the Prime Minister, did not take the view that Parliament desired any such change. [2]

What else was in the letter I did not discover but I am under the impression that it was fairly acid.

Apparently, contrary to what I would have expected, the Prime Minister showed the Memorandum to somebody-whether it was any other member of the War Cabinet I do not know. I am inclined to think not, but it was probably Bridges and possibly Brown, his Private Secretary. Whoever he showed the Memorandum to, and his letter, apparently took the view that the Prime Minister had somewhat gone off the rails and by some miracle persuaded him not to send the letter. This, I think, is as well, because certainly if what was in the letter was anything like what I gather, it would have been no reply to what was in my Memorandum because certainly the last thing I suggested was any change of Government here.

It seems the position is that the Prime Minister is not going to send me any reply with regard to the Memorandum dealing with the functioning of the War Cabinet here. This is possibly as well. As far as I am concerned I have freed my conscience from any responsibility of not telling the Prime Minister frankly what I think, and it is quite possible that my frankness may have sown some seed in the Prime Minister's mind.

It would be interesting to know whether in fact he showed the Memorandum to any of his colleagues in the War Cabinet. If he did, such colleague or colleagues would have been faced with a position where he would either have to say that he was quite satisfied with the way the Government was being run and that my contentions were absurd, or he would have had to say that there was a good deal in my point of view and have been compelled to press the Prime Minister to make some changes even if they were not the changes I advocated.

With regard to the Memorandum in respect to the AIR I gather that the Prime Minister has sent that to the Chiefs of Staff I will have to wait for a day or so to try and confirm whether this is so, but if the Prime Minister has not done anything about my Memorandum I will have to return to the charge-probably by insisting on my Memorandum being distributed to the Members of the War Cabinet. This, however, can wait for the moment.

1 See Document 52 and Enclosures.

2 There is a copy of this letter in PRO:PREM 4/50/11.

[AA:M100, October 1942]