25 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister

Cablegram 600 LONDON, 31 July 1941, 8.30 p.m.

FOR THE PRIME MINISTER SECRET

Your telegram 4048. [1] Greek Government's proposal for diplomatic mission to Canberra.

I agree entirely with your view that an exchange of Ministers would have no advantages for us.

As I see it the main aim of Greece and other Allied governments in seeking increased representation in the Dominions is to secure prestige and to obtain opportunities for propaganda with an eye on advancement of their respective claims at the Peace Conference.

Another consideration is that a number of their senior diplomats are unemployed.

Only Greece has raised the question of a 'diplomatic mission' which presumably means a legation. Poland and Yugoslavia are evidently content with Consulates General. Of all European countries Greece probably has the strongest claim, for reasons of sentiment, to exchange of missions but any discrimination in favour of Greece would lead to similar demands from all the others and raise endless difficulties.

Greeks have made similar approach to Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. First two, I understand., will not agree. South Africa have decided to agree to exchange of Ministers and the High Commissioner in London will be accredited as Minister to the Greek Government but they have made it clear that they have only done so as the Royal Family is in South Africa, and for the period of the war. This proviso is hardly a practicable one.

There is definitely no reason why High Commissioners in London should not act as Ministers to all Allied governments at present in exile, (Americans have made Biddle who is resident in London their Ambassador to Poland and Belgium as well as Minister to the Netherlands and Norway), but the position would be very different when the Allied governments return home to their capitals as we should be faced with the creation of a whole set of new legations.

In my view we should refuse Greek suggestion. Probably best course would be for me to have an informal talk with the Greek Minister.

Unlike the Polish Ambassador [2] and Yugoslavian Minister [3] he did not come to see me before making a formal approach to the United Kingdom Government, otherwise I might have induced him to refrain from raising the question.

If, in our talk, I can induce Simopoulos to drop the idea of an exchange of Ministers I might suggest to him that his Government should indicate their feeling of goodwill towards the Commonwealth by the appointment of some senior career diplomat of standing to the post of Greek Consul-General in Australia. This might appeal to the Greeks in view of the number of senior diplomats on their hands. Practicability of this suggestion depends on status (i.e.

whether he has held diplomatic posts and whether he is a senior man) of present Consul-General [4] who is a career man. Please advise me on this point. [5]

BRUCE

1 Dispatched 26 July. It requested Bruce's comments on the Greek Govt's proposal to establish diplomatic missions in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, which had been conveyed to the Commonwealth Govt in Dominions Office dispatch 63 of 19 June. All documents are on file AA : A981, Greece 19.

2 Count Raczynski.

3 Ivan Soubotitch.

4 Emil Vrisakis.

5 On 6 August Menzies advised Bruce that the Commonwealth Govt would be reluctant to accede to the Greek request and asked him to dissuade Simopoulos from pressing it. He also opposed Bruce's suggestion for the replacement of Vrisakis because of the latter's high status in Australia and the Greek community. On 9 August Bruce reported that he had had a long conversation with Sirnopoulos who completely understood the position. See Menzies's Cablegram 4241 and Bruce's cablegram 636 on the file cited in note 1.

[AA : A981, GREECE 19]