By Sir Robert Menzies
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Additional info for Afternoon Light: some memories of men and events
England: The problem ofJapan On 26 February 1941, I attended a conference in Mr R. A. Butler’s r o o m at the Foreign Office in London. ‘Rab’ was then a Minister under Anthony Eden, who had gone to the Middle East, on aninvestigation which led to the expedition into Greece. Somewhat to my surprise, the chair was taken by Sir Alexander Cadogan, the permanent head of the Foreign Office. Lord Cranborne (now Salisbury) was present. I was accompanied by Bruce (then of course Australia’s High Commissioner) and Shedden.
The captain came back to look at us. I asked him to tell us asa matter of interest why, only twenty-four hours before, we had been thought to need a fighter escort, while today we had none. ’ I must say that this sounded reasonable enough. When we arrived at El Adem we got o u t to stretch o u r legs, which, speaking for myself, were almost destitute of feeling. After me emerged Frank Hurley, in even worse shape than me. ’ I asked. ‘Quite simple,’ said Hurley, ‘when the boy came along to offer mea blanket, I was about to grab t w o when my eyes caught the white polar ribbons on my tunic, and vulgar pride overtook me.
I could write many pages of my o w n experiences in a brief three months. I will content myself with one m o r e typical example. I spoke at the great Bristol Aircraft Factory to a Shop Manager. The shop covered acres of floor space. There were many hundreds of people at work, and asustained buzz of machinery and men. ’ I knew, of course, that there had been bombing of factories everywhere, every night for months; but I saw no signs of damage in that particular shop.  AFTERNOON LIGHT ‘Well,’ said the Manager, ‘you can’t just give it away when you’re bombed.
Afternoon Light: some memories of men and events by Sir Robert Menzies