285 Eden to Evatt

Cablegram 225 [1] LONDON, 27 September 1943


Your telegram No. 224. [2] Thank you for your message. Question raised in paragraph 6 of your Government's telegram No. 244 of 16th September [3] is to come before Cabinet shortly, and Dominions Secretary will telegraph to you our conclusions. We here are of course entirely in sympathy with the objective of securing a united Empire policy in these questions, but, as you know, the Imperial Conference of 1926 ruled out the conception of the British Empire formally acting as a single international unit, and I imagine that the other Dominions would still maintain this view.

But of course our system would in any case provide the fullest possible preliminary consultation between ourselves and the Dominions on all matters coming up for discussion between the Four Powers, so that even if in name it is the United Kingdom which is one of the Four Powers, in practice the United Kingdom would put forward a British Commonwealth policy. In this connection I can hardly credit your suggestion that in these days consultation with the Dominions is not as satisfactory as it was during the last war. There is in these days a continuous exchange of information and of views between the Dominions Office and Dominions Governments which far exceeds anything which took place in the past.

Of course in times like these, events sometimes necessitate immediate decisions, but, in the main, the principle of prior consultation with Dominions Governments on all major issues of policy which are of common concern is accepted by all members of the Cabinet and is practised to the fullest possible extent.

1 Sent through the External Affairs Officer in London.

2 Document 281.

3 Document 280.

[AA:M100, SEPTEMBER 1943]