262 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 109 LONDON, 28 August 1944, 6.50 p.m.

PERSONAL SECRET

(Addressed to the Prime Minister, Mr. Curtin.) Dominions Office Telegram D.1195. [1]

While it is obviously desirable there should be a greater measure of co-operation in regard to Defence, I have considerable doubt as to whether the method suggested in Dominions Office telegram would achieve satisfactory results and also whether, from our Australian point of view, we would be wise to agree to this matter being referred to a meeting of Service representatives.

In your statement at the Prime Ministers' Conference [2], you said, with regard to Defence, 'the position of individual Dominions varies so greatly that it would seem desirable to avoid attempting to establish a uniform system of co-operation'. The contemplated meeting would have this very objective of establishing a uniform system of co-operation, of which the measure would be the point to which the least cooperative Dominion would be prepared to go. At the moment, our contacts are much closer and more intimate than those of any of the other Dominions.

As a result of the conversations I had with you and Shedden and Blamey in London, I understand that we are hoping to go still further by establishing contacts on the lower levels, e.g., joint planners.

I feel very strongly that the course suggested by the Dominions Office would not tend to facilitate the closer and more intimate contacts, but would tend to diminish those which we have already established by placing our relations on a formalised basis acceptable to all the Dominions.

I suggest, for your consideration, that, in replying to the Dominions Office telegram, you should, while welcoming the idea of closer cooperation in the sphere of Defence, indicate that, owing to circumstances of the individual Dominions varying so greatly, you consider it would be more effective if bilateral discussions of an informal character were undertaken in the first place between the United Kingdom and each of the Dominions, leaving question of multilateral conversations for decision in future in light of results of these individual discussions.

BRUCE

1 Document 257.

2 Document 152.

[AA:A5954, BOX 6]