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 interests.

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 Embassy.

3 J. A. Lyons.

[AA : AA1970/559]