43 Note by Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in London, of Conversation with Mr R. A. Butler, U.K. Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

[LONDON], 5 February 1940

After agreeing with McDougall [1] and Loveday [2] to see Halifax [3], I remembered that he was away in Paris attending the meeting of the Supreme War Council, and I accordingly saw Butler.

I told him quite frankly of the conversation which Loveday had had with Assheton [4] and Leggett [5], and it was quite apparent that he had heard something of it. I put it flat to Butler that I was left with the impression that the International Labour Office was intriguing against the implementation of the resolutions of the Bruce report [6], and as this was contrary to what I understood was the attitude of the British Government I wanted to discuss the position frankly with him. I also pointed out that if the International Labour Office was successful in preventing the reconstruction of the League on the economic and social side, it would simply have the result that nothing could be done during the war, owing to the fact that even if the International Labour Office achieved its objective, this could only have results in a practical sense after the war was over, as they could not take up the work that had previously been done by the League if, and until, their Charter was very greatly enlarged.

Butler assured me in categorical terms that it was the policy of the British Government to facilitate the reconstruction of the League in respect to its economic and social activities and undertook to put a stop to any intrigues of a contrary direction.

He gave me the assurance that he would give definite instructions to Assheton as to what attitude he was to take up and on this basis we left the matter.

He asked me, however, to use my best endeavours to smooth the position out with Loveday. This I undertook to do and after my meeting with Butler I saw McDougall, told him what had taken place and instructed him to try and smooth the matter out with Loveday.

1 Economic Adviser to the High Commissioner in London and Australian representative at the meeting at The Hague of the organising committee for the League of Nations Central Committee for Economic and Social Questions. Bruce's note of this conversation on 4 February 1940 is on the file here cited.

2 Director of the League of Nations Economic, Financial and Transit Department.

3 U.K. Foreign Secretary.

4 Parliamentary Secretary at U.K. Ministry of Labour and U.K.

representative at the meeting at The Hague.

5 Chief Industrial Commissioner at U.K. Ministry of Labour.

6 See Document 38.

[AA: M100, FTBRUARY 1940]