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239 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram S127 LONDON, 7 July 1943


Greek Ambassador [1] called to see me recently to ask whether Commonwealth Government's attitude towards exchange of diplomatic representatives had changed since his predecessor [2] had raised the matter (Menzies' telegram to me No. 4241 of 6th August 1941 and my No. 636 of 9th August [3]). He added that the Greek Minister in Angora [4] had learnt that Turkey was proposing to approach Australia with a view to the establishment of diplomatic relations (-I had already heard Turks had this in mind but were delaying action pending passing of Budget-), and his Prime Minister [5] had instructed him to see me urgently to try and ascertain what the position was, 'as the Greek Government would not like the Turks to get in first, having regard to the close relations between Greece and Australia as a result of the campaigns in Greece and Crete'.

On the following day I received a letter from the Turkish Charge d'Affaires [6] (the Ambassador [7] being at present in Turkey). It stated that 'the Turkish Government proposed to establish direct relations with Australia and to open a Legation in Canberra'. They hoped the Commonwealth Government would be agreeable to this prospect.

I learned that similar approaches were made simultaneously to my Canadian and South African colleagues.

I consulted Evatt, who told me that Commonwealth Government's view with regard to exchange of Legations remained unchanged i.e. that for the duration of the war at least we desired to limit these exchanges to Powers with a direct interest in the Pacific. Evatt suggested that I should see the Turkish Charge d'Affaires and endeavour to dissuade the Turks from following the matter up.

Accordingly I asked M. Halulu to call on 2nd July and in a long and frank talk explained to him the whole position as regards our past and present policy of diplomatic representation. [8]

He communicated with his Government and came to see me again yesterday. On this occasion he gave me a very cordial personal message from the Turkish Foreign Minister [9], who is an old friend, saying that he accepted the position entirely and agreed to do nothing further in the matter at the present time. It was agreed that we should regard the Charge d'Affaires' letter as 'not having been sent'.

I asked the Charge d'Affaires to convey to Numan that Australia greatly appreciated the Turkish approach. While I was not in a position to say definitely what our attitude would be after the war, I could say this, that we would give every consideration to any proposal for an exchange of representatives which the Turkish Government might put forward.

I understand that the South African Government are likely to return a similar reply, possibly with a suggestion for a consular exchange.

As regards the Greek approach, this was merely on the basis that they did not want the Turks to get in ahead of them. They will not make any formal approach, at any rate at the present time.


1 Thanassis Aghnides. Bruce's record of this conversation (dated 25 June) is on file AA:M100, June 1943.

2 Charalambos Simopoulos. See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. V, Document 25.

3 These cablegrams are summarised in note 5 to the Document cited in note 2.

4 Raphael Raphael.

5 Emmanuel Tsouderos.

6 Siret Halulu.

7 Rauf Orbay.

8 Bruce's record of this conversation is on file AA:M100, July 1943.

9 Numan Menemencioglu.

[AA:M100, JULY 1943]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History