2 Note by Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, of Meeting of Dominion High Commissioners

Extract LONDON, 2 January 1940

After we had dealt with the ordinary questions which arose, I

raised the question of the alteration in the instructions to

Lothian [1] with regard to his attitude towards the Zionists in

the United States of America. I pointed out that very definite

instructions had been sent to Lothian with which I was in full

accord, telling him that the British Government adhered entirely

to the White Paper, but that these instructions had been

countermanded by a cable dated Christmas Day which told him that a

decision as to the Government's policy would probably not be

arrived at for a period of a week.

I asked whether this portended a change in the Government's policy

and that if it meant any yielding to Jewish pressure to the

detriment of the Arabs, there would be the strongest objections

from Australia.

Anthony [2] was obviously slightly embarrassed that I had got on

to this point and gave a somewhat shuffling explanation to the

effect that when the matter had been discussed in the Cabinet some

members felt that the instructions sent to Lothian went rather

beyond the policy laid down in the White Paper. The point at issue

apparently being with regard to land sales. He told us that

Malcolm [3] had attended the War Cabinet and explained the

position and that the matter was still under consideration.

I reiterated my point that any selling of the Arabs under pressure

from the Jews would cause considerable trouble with Australia and

Anthony said that he would speak to the Foreign Office about the


I then raised the question of the Dominions Office letter [4]

dealing with the exchange of letters between Halifax [5] and

Benes. [6] I pointed out that what had been done appeared to me to

be a reversal of policy and that this was so was borne out by

O'Malley's [7] telegram from Hungary specifically stating that a

change of policy had taken place.

I pointed out that the press section of the Foreign Office had

been very insistent a few weeks ago that there should be no

reference to Czecho-Slovakia, but that we should talk about

Bohemian and Moravian protectorates.

The statement in Halifax's letter that His Majesty's Government

recognise that the Committee is qualified to represent the Czecho-

Slovak people appeared to be a reversal of the previous attitude.

Anthony clearly had little knowledge and no views on the matter

and it was left that he was to speak to the Foreign Office about


We then had a discussion as to what attitude should be adopted by

the Dominions with regard to the Benes request for recognition of

his Committee by the Dominions. We decided the best course would

be that Benes should be told that the Dominion High Commissioners

would be prepared to see him and discuss the matter.

1 U.K. Ambassador to the United States.

2 Anthony Eden, U.K. Dominions Secretary.

3 Malcolm MacDonald, U.K. Colonial Secretary.

4 On file AA: A1608, B41/1/3, iii.

5 U.K. Foreign Secretary.

6 Chairman of Czechoslovak National Committee.

7 U.K. Minister to Hungary.

[AA: M100, JANUARY 1940]