313 Curtin to Bruce

Cablegram 153 [1] CANBERRA, 25 October 1943

SECRET

Your 186, 187 and 188. [2]

Results of conference cannot be regarded as satisfactory to Australia. We would appreciate full account of proceedings and particularly some indication of attitude of various participants on points raised and reaction to views expressed by us in telegram No. 146 of 8th October. [3]

2. Despite fact that conference was understood to be informal and exploratory, it proceeded to what almost appears from your report to be a cut and dried plan for establishing monopolistic routes.

From New Zealand High Commissioner [4] we have learnt that the actual routes of two proposed services to Australia have been proposed as exclusive British services though the intermediate stations on one route, such as Manila and Vladivostock, clearly indicate such a route might normally be regarded an international trunk route. The decisions of conference appear to us to involve radical departure from original proposals on basis of which we issued our instructions.

3. We have strongest objection to any attempt to present a line-up in favour of cut and dried scheme until possibilities of genuine international control and operation have been more fully examined.

We fear that measures now proposed will prejudice chances of internationalisation and especially have detrimental effect on Australian interests in Pacific. In particular we have no information as to what part, if any, Australia is to play in overseas routes, especially trans Pacific.

4. In your 186, paragraph 2, you state that Beaverbrook will now disclose to United States 'general line of our thought as crystallised in Empire meeting'. Information at present available is not sufficient to warrant our being associated with decisions of the conference without further information and most careful examination.

1 See also Document 322.

2 Cablegrams 186-7[A] are published as Documents 298-9. Cablegram 188[A] of 14 October is on file AA:A989, 43/735/832/5.

3 Document 292.

4 See letter of 18 October on the file cited in note 2.

[AA:A989, 43/735/832/5]