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162 Note by Bruce of Conversation with Attlee

[LONDON], 22 April 1943

I saw Attlee and had about half an hour with him. My object in
going to see him was to suggest that Orr should be included in the
United Kingdom Delegation to the Food Conference. [1] With this
view Attlee expressed his sympathy but pointed out that the matter
was not one for his decision but he undertook to take it up with
Woolton. I found subsequently that he had done so.

I then went on to wider questions and outlined to Attlee my view
of the necessity of dealing with post-war problems on an
imaginative basis. Everything I said is familiar and, as usual,
Attlee completely agreed but it is equally certain he will do
nothing.

I then pointed out to Attlee that we had had an arrangement by
which he was to keep me advised of any Cabinet Meeting at which I
was not present. [2] That there had been three in the past week
and he had told me nothing.

Attlee, as usual, assumed an attitude of racking his mind for what
had happened and reached the usual conclusion that nothing had
been dealt with except domestic questions. I repeated my usual
offensive observation that it seemed to me an extraordinary thing
that the United Kingdom War Cabinet was doing nothing whatever,
but this failed to elicit any response from him.

I left him with the observation that the whole thing was a
complete farce and if I could only consult my own desires I would
give up the job. That, however, was not possible, but I added that
I would welcome it if circumstances forced me to do so. As usual
the conversation was very reminiscent of punching a pillow.

S. M. B.


1 Sir John Orr was Professor of Agriculture at the University of
Aberdeen and an expert on health and nutrition. Bruce and
McDougall thought highly of Orr and McDougall (then in Washington)
had asked Bruce (see cablegram 55 of 22 April) to try to obtain
the latter's inclusion in the U.K. delegation to the Hot Springs
Conference. Bruce replied to McDougall on 29 April (cablegram 21):

'I have done what I could with everyone, including Woolton, for
Orr's inclusion but without success. My impression is they are
afraid of him even as an Adviser.' All documents are on file
AA:M100, April 1943.

2 See Document 100, note 3.


[AA:M100, APRIL 1943]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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