Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr N. Chamberlain, U.K. Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered n.d.[14 November 1939 [1]],


Following for Prime Minister. [2]

Thank you for your cable regarding Bruce and the proposed Legation at Washington. [3] I greatly appreciate your statements regarding the importance of having Bruce in London.

What I first had in mind was appointing Bruce to Washington and sending somebody like Casey [4] to London. in reply to this suggestion Bruce pointed out that he thought his experience would be more useful in London, particularly during a time of war, and on consideration I agreed with this.

I then suggested that Bruce might make a very brief visit to Washington to establish the Legation and then return to London. By that time. Casey would be back in Australia and would have made his report and could be appointed to Washington.

My difficulty is that there is a growing impatience here at my failure to make a Washington appointment and that sending Bruce to Washington for a few weeks would have satisfied this agitation. If Bruce is not to go then I may have to defer any action in relation to Washington until after Casey’s return, in which case criticism will become very acute.

If you will think it undesirable for Bruce to go even for a brief period would be glad if you would at once take the necessary steps through Lothian [5] to secure approval of the establishment of an Australian Legation at Washington with reciprocal appointment of American Minister to Canberra, and at the same time ascertain whether I could open Legation with a Charge d’Affaires and defer the nomination of my Minister for say 2 months.

Kind regards.



1 This cablegram was received in London at 11.45 p.m. on 13 November 1939 (see PRO: FO 372/33 19).

2 This cablegram was sent via the U.K. Dominions Secretary.

3 Document 344.

4 R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development.

5 Lord Lothian, U.K. Ambassador to the United States.


[AA: CP 290/6, ITEM 1]