Bruce to Chifley

Cablegram 104A LONDON, 25 August 1945


Everybody here has been getting distinctly hot and bothered as to the atmosphere which is developing with regard to Australia’s international position.

With the publicity now given to the matter I detect a distinct feeling of resentment. Yesterday the Prime Minister, Bevin and Addison discussed the situation at length. The first intention was to issue a public statement traversing the facts and forcefully setting out the United Kingdom’s point of view. In the end the conclusion was reached that this course was undesirable in that it would almost certainly lead to controversy, misunderstanding and a state of strained relations between Australia and the United Kingdom which at this time of all times was most undesirable. It was accordingly decided that no public statement should be issued but consideration should be given to sending a Prime Minister to Prime Minister telegram designed to straighten out the position and obviate any further publicity.

My own view is that having obtained our immediate desiderata, namely, separate signature to the Surrender Terms and full United Kingdom support to Australia’s inclusion in the Control Council for the Far East, the excitement and speculation should be damped down and we should pursue our further objectives in privacy.

From my observations here I am convinced that a continuance of high pressure tactics will not help us but will create so much resentment as to impede our obtaining our legitimate objectives. I am greatly influenced in this view by the fact that I am convinced that the members of the new Labour Government who count are sympathetic to our aspirations and are sincerely desirous of ensuring ways and means by which we will be consulted and have an opportunity of expressing our opinions before important decisions are taken. Do not let us destroy this favourable atmosphere by overplaying our hand just at the moment when possibilities of achieving what we have been fighting for for years are opening.




[AA : M100, AUGUST 1945]