61 Commonwealth Government to Mr M.J. Savage, N.Z. Prime Minister

Cablegram unnumbered 29 March 1939,

SECRET

Further to my telegram of 28th February, reference forthcoming Defence Conference. As Item (C) [2] is a question of high political importance on which decision must rest with Government, Commonwealth Government feels that Service representatives should not be placed in the position of having to discuss this to any great extent. It is proposed therefore to instruct leader of Australian delegation [3] that his part in Item (c) is to be limited in its military aspect to the examination as a purely staff problem of the strength available for co- operation elsewhere after providing fully for the local commitments for Australian defence.

Regarding Item (d) the same principle arises as to the extent to which a delegation of Service officers should be placed in the position of having to discuss policy in peace and war. I think you will agree that this again is the realm of the Government. It is therefore proposed to instruct leader of the Australian delegation that the views expressed by him are to be limited to and accord with the proposals for co-operation set out in my letter of 3rd March [4] concerning the question of interchange of information between our respective Governments.

Regarding (h) this is a vast subject which we are attacking in Australia through various Departments and special committees set up to deal with the economic and financial aspects of national planning. You will I am sure therefore realise that our Service officers cannot be expected to discuss this time [5] except probably in so far as shipping is concerned.

1 Document 31.

2 For this and other items see Document 9.

3 Admiral Sir Ragnar Colvin, Chief of the Naval Staff.

4 Document 35.

5 ?item.

[AA: A981, PACIFIC 1]