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25 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 600 LONDON, 31 July 1941, 8.30 p.m.


Your telegram 4048. [1] Greek Government's proposal for diplomatic
mission to Canberra.

I agree entirely with your view that an exchange of Ministers
would have no advantages for us.

As I see it the main aim of Greece and other Allied governments in
seeking increased representation in the Dominions is to secure
prestige and to obtain opportunities for propaganda with an eye on
advancement of their respective claims at the Peace Conference.

Another consideration is that a number of their senior diplomats
are unemployed.

Only Greece has raised the question of a 'diplomatic mission'
which presumably means a legation. Poland and Yugoslavia are
evidently content with Consulates General. Of all European
countries Greece probably has the strongest claim, for reasons of
sentiment, to exchange of missions but any discrimination in
favour of Greece would lead to similar demands from all the others
and raise endless difficulties.

Greeks have made similar approach to Canada, New Zealand and South
Africa. First two, I understand., will not agree. South Africa
have decided to agree to exchange of Ministers and the High
Commissioner in London will be accredited as Minister to the Greek
Government but they have made it clear that they have only done so
as the Royal Family is in South Africa, and for the period of the
war. This proviso is hardly a practicable one.

There is definitely no reason why High Commissioners in London
should not act as Ministers to all Allied governments at present
in exile, (Americans have made Biddle who is resident in London
their Ambassador to Poland and Belgium as well as Minister to the
Netherlands and Norway), but the position would be very different
when the Allied governments return home to their capitals as we
should be faced with the creation of a whole set of new legations.

In my view we should refuse Greek suggestion. Probably best course
would be for me to have an informal talk with the Greek Minister.

Unlike the Polish Ambassador [2] and Yugoslavian Minister [3] he
did not come to see me before making a formal approach to the
United Kingdom Government, otherwise I might have induced him to
refrain from raising the question.

If, in our talk, I can induce Simopoulos to drop the idea of an
exchange of Ministers I might suggest to him that his Government
should indicate their feeling of goodwill towards the Commonwealth
by the appointment of some senior career diplomat of standing to
the post of Greek Consul-General in Australia. This might appeal
to the Greeks in view of the number of senior diplomats on their
hands. Practicability of this suggestion depends on status (i.e.

whether he has held diplomatic posts and whether he is a senior
man) of present Consul-General [4] who is a career man. Please
advise me on this point. [5]


1 Dispatched 26 July. It requested Bruce's comments on the Greek
Govt's proposal to establish diplomatic missions in Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa and Canada, which had been conveyed to the
Commonwealth Govt in Dominions Office dispatch 63 of 19 June. All
documents are on file AA : A981, Greece 19.

2 Count Raczynski.

3 Ivan Soubotitch.

4 Emil Vrisakis.

5 On 6 August Menzies advised Bruce that the Commonwealth Govt
would be reluctant to accede to the Greek request and asked him to
dissuade Simopoulos from pressing it. He also opposed Bruce's
suggestion for the replacement of Vrisakis because of the latter's
high status in Australia and the Greek community. On 9 August
Bruce reported that he had had a long conversation with
Sirnopoulos who completely understood the position. See Menzies's
Cablegram 4241 and Bruce's cablegram 636 on the file cited in note

[AA : A981, GREECE 19]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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