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

Cablegram 921 LONDON, 16 October 1940, 6.15 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER MOST SECRET

Dutch Minister [1] on authority of his Minister for Foreign Affairs [2] has approached me with a formal proposal for an exchange of diplomatic representatives between Holland and Australia. In putting forward the proposal Minister stressed the common interests and dangers of Australia and the Netherlands East Indies and close trade and personal contacts between two countries.

In view of these facts Dutch Government felt that it was desirable that there should be closest co-operation between Australia and Holland and that this would best be achieved by exchange of diplomatic representatives.

After suitably expressing our appreciation of suggestion, I outlined our attitude towards separate diplomatic representation and its development over last few years. I stressed the difficulty of providing Minister and staffs, which he countered by urging that as the Dutch Government was now in London I could act in a dual capacity. In undertaking to convey his proposal to my Government I warned him that there would probably be some delay in replying owing to political situation in Australia but I was certain the suggestion would be received with appreciation and interest particularly in view of Dutch interests in Pacific to which area our diplomatic representation had so far been confined.

BRUCE

1 Dispatched 14 October. See file AA:A981, New Caledonia 37.

2 Masatoshi Akiyama.

3 Free French Governor of New Caledonia.

4 Tokitaro Kuroki Japanese Consul in Noumea.

5 Jonkheer E. Michiels van Verduynen.

6 Dr E. N. van Kleffens.

[AA:A981, NETHERLANDS 20, i]