182 Note by Bruce of Conversation with Attlee

[LONDON], 8 May 1943

After the High Commissioners Meeting I spoke to Attlee and told him I knew there had been a meeting of the Cabinet that morning to consider the Egyptian situation [1], that I could think of no matter which more directly concerned us, but I was sick of hammering at him to implement the understanding we had reached last August [2] and I was not bothering my head about the matter.

To this outburst Attlee really made no reply and in fact had no opportunity to do so because I merely flung it at him and walked out of the room.

On Friday morning the 7th May I received a notice for a Cabinet Meeting at 1 o'clock to consider Egyptian position. I decided, however, that I would not go to the meeting and sent a notice to Attlee to that effect. It was quite obvious that the invitation was due to my outburst on the Wednesday, but I came to the conclusion I could not tolerate getting asked to meetings during the Prime Minister's absence because I had intimidated Attlee and then the practice ceasing as soon as the Prime Minister returned.

This appeared to me too undignified and I explained this to Attlee in the afternoon.

It is indicative of what an extraordinarily little man he is that he offered no comment whatever, but merely accepted the position.

S.M.B.

1 A political crisis had developed in Egypt following allegations made against Nahas Pasha, the Egyptian Prime Minister, which King Farouk had exploited to his own advantage. For details of the British position see Bruce's cablegram S96 of 15 May on file AA:M100, May 1943.

2 See Document 14.

[AA:M100, MAY 1943]