20 Mr J.S. Duncan, Acting High Commissioner in London, to Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London (in Australia)

Cablegram 36 LONDON, 10 February 1939, 5.40 p.m.

SECRET FOR HIMSELF

In view of the Palestinian talks now proceeding here [1] and the effect upon Australia of hostile Arab States imperilling communications, do you not think desirable that the Government should send some message firstly that the Government looks forward to being kept informed as to the progress of negotiations, and secondly emphasising the special interests of Australia in the settlement of the problem on lines which will not imperil Australia by creating enmity and hostility of the Arabs. Have you seen in the above connection report of the authoritative sub-committee referred to in External Affairs telegram No. 17 and summarised in External Affairs H.250 of 25th January. [2]

Message could either be directed to the Dominions Office or to me for communication to Inskip [3] on instructions.

DUNCAN

1 The Palestine conference was a series of discussions between the U.K. Government, Arab leaders and Jewish representatives, held in London between 7 February and 17 March 1939. The conference was called by the U.K. Government in an attempt to solve the Palestine problem. Failure to reach a solution acceptable to both Arab and Jewish representatives led to the British plan set out in the White Paper of 17 May 1939 (Cmd. 6019).

2 Not printed. Memorandum H250 summarised the survey by 'a highly authoritative body' (probably a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence) of strategic factors of importance to the security of British forces and eastward lines of communication. The survey stressed the importance of the friendship of Arab states to imperial defence (AA: A1608, 1 41/1/3, i).

3 Sir Thomas Inskip, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.

[AA: A1608, 1 41/1/3, i]