64 Note by Bruce of Conversation with Forde

LONDON, 2 April 1945

After the Press Conference which Forde and Evatt had this morning Forde had about an hour's talk with me. [1]

He was extremely frank and said that he was the Leader of the Delegation. He said that the Prime Minister had quite definitely decided on this and when he, the Prime Minister, made the announcement Evatt had gone to see him about 8.30 in the morning and protested, but the Prime Minister remained firm.

Forde told me that Evatt did not know that he, Forde, had heard of this intervention.

Forde then went on to say quite frankly that Evatt was very difficult but that he, Forde, could get on better with him than anyone else in the Cabinet.

Forde said that he had had some troubles on the way over owing to Evatt attempting to usurp his position but up to date they had managed to get on without any row.

I told Forde it seemed to me that his course was to go on quietly maintaining his position but leaving Evatt to do whatever job Evatt was more competent to do owing to his knowledge and experience in the Foreign Affairs field. I advised Forde very strongly not to attempt, in order to maintain his position as leader, to take on jobs that Evatt was more fitted to do.

The conversation was very cordial and Forde is quite a decent little man without any very great capacity. I see, however, I am going to have a somewhat difficult role to play.

1 Bruce had a private talk with Evatt the same day. See his note of conversation on file AA:M100, April 1945.

[AA:M100, APRIL 1945]