Skip to main content

Historical documents

333 Note by Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, of Conversation with Sir Ronald Lindsay, U.K. Ambassador to the United States

Extract LONDON, 8 December 1938 [1]

Sir Ronald Lindsay came to see me. I asked him how Officer [2] was
doing in Washington and he said admirably. He indicated that
Officer had made quite a good position for himself and that he got
on excellently with both the Embassy staff and the Administration.

I then told him of Australia's idea with regard to the possibility
of a Minister in Washington and he expressed the view that it
might be a good thing, but was somewhat doubtful whether an
Australian Minister could do anything to help the British
Ambassador, such as saying the things which the Ambassador himself
could not say.

Lindsay told me, however, of one flaw in the plan of our having
people in the British Embassies, or Ministries, as against our own
Minister. It was the situation which might arise during trade
negotiations, when for instance Australia was nearly brought into
the picture. He pointed out it would have tremendously complicated
the British negotiations if Australia had been in, and he, the
British Ambassador, would have been representing two parties
namely the United Kingdom and Australia with entirely conflicting

He, however, said that notwithstanding this one danger point which
had been reached, he did not attach very much importance to the
idea of interests at times conflicting and on the whole he
expressed his view that the system of an Australian representative
being attached to the British representative worked quite well.

I asked him if there were any particular subjects that he thought
it would be a good thing for me to raise, but he had nothing to
suggest, save that when I told him of the Prime Minister's [3]
desire to get some indication of America's attitude towards the
Japanese in the Pacific, he said there would be every advantage in
my pressing them on this question as indiscreetly as I liked
although he was perfectly certain I should not get any
satisfactory answer.

[The remainder of this note concerned landing rights in Honolulu.]


1 There is no evidence that a copy of this record of conversation
was sent to Canberra. It has therefore been placed according to
the date on which it was made.

2 F. K. Officer, Australian Counsellor attached to British

3 J. A. Lyons.

[AA : AA1970/559]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top