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

Cablegram 118 24 August 1940,

SECRET

Having in mind particularly recent exchanges between the Commonwealth Government and the United Kingdom Government on Far Eastern and Pacific policy, we have been impressed of late with the advantages of completing the direct liaison at present existing between the Department of External Affairs and the Foreign Office by the appointment of a member of the Foreign Office staff to Canberra.

We are at present considering exchange of liaison officers between the Department of External Affairs, Canberra, and the Department of External Affairs, Wellington, and it would be a most valuable supplement both to this arrangement and to the existing representation of the Department in London if a corresponding exchange could also be completed with the Foreign Office.

We are aware that from time to time members of the Foreign Office have served with the staff of the United Kingdom High Commissioner (though not in Australia), but the liaison system has worked so well at the London end and is in our view so useful an adjunct to means of imperial consultation that, if there should be any question of innovation here, we should much prefer to go the whole distance and have a Foreign Office representative actually attached to the External Affairs Department. For inevitable reasons, we are, under the existing one-sided arrangement, incomparably better advised of day to day views and information emanating from Foreign Office than is Foreign Office of corresponding opinions and facts here. To fill this gap would be directly to the advantage of the Foreign Office and, of course, indirectly to us. The direct advantage here of such an arrangement at the present time would be felt particularly in the circumstances of present rapid expansion of Australian diplomatic service. This has involved and will continue to involve numerous questions of form, procedure, etc. in which it would be invaluable to have easily accessible advice based on Foreign Office experience.

Before proceeding further with this suggestion would like to have your views as to probable Foreign Office reaction.

MENZIES

[AA:A3196, 1940, 0.6195]