122 Fraser to Curtin

Cablegram 48 WELLINGTON, 20 February 1943, 8.40 p.m.

My colleagues and I have decided that I should again raise with you the question of exchange of representatives which was discussed generally on the occasion of my last visit to Australia.

[1] We remain as firmly convinced as we believe you are of the essential unity of the defence and foreign problems of Australia and New Zealand. We feel it to be of the highest importance that the policies of the Commonwealth and the Dominion should be mutually understood to the fullest extent and that the only way to maintain this understanding and to ensure that divergences are kept to a minimum is to provide some better means than exist at present for mutual information and for frank discussion in the utmost confidence before any such divergences arise.

This appears to be of special importance to us in the fluid period that lies ahead during which discussions of the greatest significance for the Commonwealth and the Dominion must be undertaken.

We would propose therefore, subject always of course to your agreement, to appoint a High Commissioner for New Zealand in Australia who would possess our fullest confidence, who has been intimately associated with New Zealand's foreign and defence policies for a lengthy period and who would be entirely qualified to interpret your views to us and ours to you. Should you feel it desirable to reciprocate we should be very happy to receive a similar representative of Australia in New Zealand, but whether you think it necessary to reciprocate in this way or not we very much hope you will accept our representative.

Under such circumstances we would appoint Mr. C. A. Berendsen, C.M.G., at present permanent head of the Prime Minister's Department and Secretary for External Affairs.

I should be most grateful to learn whether this proposal is acceptable to you and your Government and in which case I could advise you as to the suggested form and date of its announcement for simultaneous release.

1 Fraser visited Australia in May 1941, but no record of discussion of this matter has been found.

[AA:A461, B348/1/17]