Skip to main content

Historical documents

328 Note by Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, of Conversation with Lord Halifax, U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, at the Foreign Office

LONDON, 6 December 1938

I spoke to Lord Halifax with regard to the question of Australia
having a Minister in Washington and found he had not given very
much thought to the general question of separate Dominion
representation in foreign countries but on the whole was inclined
to think that it had worked out fairly well-that the individuals
when they actually got to their posts did co-operate with the
British Ambassador or Minister and that the anticipated danger of
the Empire talking with two voices had not, in fact, arisen.

We then discussed the question from the point of view of the
special circumstances of the United States and I suggested that if
Australia had a first class representative there who was working
closely with the British Ambassador he might be very valuable as
it would be possible for him to say things that wanted saying but
which it would be quite impossible for the British Ambassador to
give utterance to.

The upshot of the conversation was that while Halifax gave no
positive advice in favour of our having a representative he saw no
objection to our doing so if we decided it was advisable.

I then spoke to him about Palestine and told him that Australia's
views were very definitely that we must not arouse the hostility
of the Arabs in trying to pacify the Jews.

Australia considered that the existing balance of population
namely 2 Arabs to 1 Jew should not be upset.

I told him I was putting Australia's point of view to him because
I was perfectly certain that any attempt at a settlement by
Britain which involved a quarrel with the Arab population of the
East would bring forth a strong protest.

He said that his own mind was very similar to that of Australia.

[AA : AA1970/556, ITEM 6(1)]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top