473 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 178 LONDON, 21 April 1942, 8.22 p.m.

MOST SECRET

For the Prime Minister. Russia.

Question of position of Dominions in the event of negotiations between United Kingdom and Russia for treaty being successfully concluded has been receiving some consideration.

Position as I see it is as follows:

It would be acceptable to Russia that Dominions should be parties as well as United Kingdom, but most improbable that Canada or South Africa would be willing.

It would be admirable if agreement acceptable to all Dominions could be arrived at and embodied in a treaty to which they were parties. It would, however, be undesirable that some Dominions should be parties, as this would be interpreted as indicating a divergence of the attitude towards Russia in the British Empire.

As unanimity almost certainly unobtainable wisest course would seem for treaty to be solely between United Kingdom and U.S.S.R.

In such case unless declaration made by any Dominion to the contrary, which unlikely, general assumption would be that Dominions were in accord with what had been done.

I shall be obliged if you will let me have your views. [1]

BRUCE

1 On 26 April the External Affairs Dept replied that since the treaty affected European reconstruction and frontiers it was primarily a matter for the U.K. Govt and that the arguments advanced by Bruce against formal participation by the Dominions were accepted. See cablegram 153 on file AA:A2680, 39/1942.

[AA:A2680, 39/1942]