282. Telegram From the Embassy in the United Kingdom to the Embassy in Australia 1

185. For the President from Bruce. Subject: President Johnson and Prime Minister Wilson meeting at Melbourne.

[Page 590]
In connection with Embtel 184 to Canberra2 I should like to make following comment.
PriMin Wilson’s domestic political position has been so eroded that it is impossible to forecast now whether remedial financial and economic measures essential to real confidence in Britain and elsewhere in his policies will be accepted, in necessary measure.
Under the circumstances, I urgently suggest that the President offer him at this time nothing more than a sympathetic hearing, and say he will be glad to discuss the program when it has been definitely settled upon, and looks forward to doing so at Washington in February.3
After a wild Christmas binge of buying in considerable degree increased by a desire to convert disturbed currency into goods, a winter of even heavier discontent is almost certain to distress the British. Meanwhile, I believe we should buy no pig in a poke.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1967-69, POL UK-US. Secret; Immediate; Exdis. Repeated to the Department of State. The President and Prime Minister were attending funeral services for Australian Prime Minister Holt.
  2. Dated December 20, this telegram analyzed Wilson’s political position and problems. (Department of State, Bruce Diaries: Lot 64 D 327)
  3. No memoranda of conversation were found. According to Wilson, The Labour Government, 1964-1970, p. 478, the two men discussed Vietnam.