309 Mr R.G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Mr S.M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London

Cablegram unnumbered n.d.[27 October 1939 [1]],

SECRET PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL FOR HIMSELF

I am grateful to you for your long cable regarding Washington [2], and for the valuable way in which you have analysed the various factors to be considered. On full reflection my judgment agrees with your instinct that you should continue in London. At the same time, I am attracted by your idea that you should go to Washington to negotiate with the American administration for the establishment of reciprocal Legations and to inaugurate our own.

This would, I think, be very satisfying both to American and Australian opinion and would enable Casey to return to Australia and report to us. [3]

Would be glad if you could arrange accordingly and let me know at what time you think I could publicly announce it here because there is some natural impatience at our delay in making a move in relation to America.

I have had some reservations about Casey, but on the whole I think that a man of political experience is essential at Washington, and he appears to be the most suitable of those available.

You might perhaps take this cable as authority to open up official negotiations with British Government so that proposals to America may be formally made through British Ambassador.

Though I honestly believe we have been doing very well under difficult circumstances, we have some newspaper critics-notably Murdoch [4]-while Page [5] and Cameron [6] are conducting specially poisonous public campaign. Result is that I may be seriously challenged when House meets on November [15], though challenge win not, I think, succeed. So far as general public concerned, I think we stand fairly high but naturally a great deal of work is not publicly known or appreciated.

I greatly value the statement in your cable that amongst the Dominions Australia has in recent years acquired most influence, which has been greatly strengthened with me as Prime Minister, and that our country is the most effective voice in Empire counsels today. If this were known in Australia position of Government would be enormously improved.

MENZIES

1 The copy of this cablegram on the file cited is not dated. The version in the Bruce papers is dated 27 October 1939 (see AA:

M100, October 1939).

2 Document 300.

3 R.G. Casey, Minister for Supply and Development, was then on his way to London for discussions on wartime collaboration between United Kingdom and Dominions Ministers.

4 Sir Keith Murdoch, editor of the Melbourne Herald.

5 Sir Earle Page, former leader of the Country Party.

6 A.G. Cameron, leader of the Country Party.

[AA: CP 290/6, ITEM 1]