206 Bruce to Chifley

Letter (extract) LONDON, 20 August 1945

PERSONAL

[matter omitted]

In my view, the importance of the work to be done by the High Commissioner in London in the immediate future cannot be exaggerated. For years past we have been working to establish a better system of co-operation and consultation between the United Kingdom and Australia. Great progress has been made, but in practice we have not achieved, during the war years, the results we were entitled to expect.

This has been almost entirely due to the temperament and outlook of the late Prime Minister. With all his great qualities he is not a co-operator, and he appears quite incapable of realising the developments that have taken place in Empire relations during recent years and the new status of the Dominions.

The necessity of consulting the Governments of the Dominions always irritated him and at times during the war that irritation has developed into very real anger.

With the change of Government the whole position is altered.

Attlee and his senior Ministers recognise the necessity for close co-operation and, as I think I indicated in one of my cablegrams, I am greatly encouraged by conversations I have had with the Prime Minister, Bevin, Cripps [1] and Dalton [2] as to the prospects of ensuring greater consultation on matters of moment and more sympathetic consideration of our views.

That efforts to this end should succeed is in my view of vital importance to Australia, to the Empire and to the world.

The position will, however, require wise and tactful handling. I would therefore urge that you should send to succeed me the best man you can spare.

[matter omitted]

S.M. BRUCE

1 President of the Board of Trade.

2 Chancellor of the Exchequer.

[AA : A5954, BOX 461]