134 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 377 [1] [PHILADELPHIA], 4 May 1944, 4.32 a.m.


I.L.O. Report 21.

1. As previously indicated [2] the United States Government put forward the draft cabled to you [3] as a substitute for Declaration 2 in the report on item 2 of the agenda. [4] It was necessary for us, therefore, to circulate an amendment [5] to our own text. [6] We also made it clear that we did not regard this as a substitute for office resolution No. 2 as this resolution was much wider and referred to the right of collective bargaining.

2. I sent early this morning a letter [7] to Miss Perkins saying that I regretted their action in putting forward a draft without prior consultation as agreed and their action in obtaining publicity for it and I gave her the text of a statement [8] which I intended to make this morning. She immediately spoke to me but I went ahead with my statement, the general nature of which you will have seen in the press. It strongly criticized the American draft and pointed out that there were no binding commitments. I had the workers on my side because our amendment did not threaten [9] the declaration concerning collective bargaining and the whole morning was devoted to the American-Australian proposals.

3. The local press headlined our criticism on the United States draft. As a result a meeting took place between Nash, Miss Perkins, Goodrich and Burton. Without indicating details of the discussion it is sufficient to say that the Americans are obviously very concerned not to let this issue become prominent.

We have, therefore, adopted a strong line and this evening will be spent in drafting a Resolution which will contain all our points.

It might also have to contain a reference to the rights of collective bargaining and other social objectives, but we will attempt to obtain employment agreement separate from the other issues. We shall also try to add a specific undertaking that any obligations contracted in relation to monetary and commercial proposals shall be dominated by obligation of employment. This draft will then go forward within the next day or so to the Committee on items 1 [10] and 2 as an Australian - American proposal, that is, of course, provided Miss Perkins can obtain authority and provided that it is satisfactory to us. While it is clear that working through Treasury and State Department we could not get agreement, it does seem probable that working from the political level to the departmental level, we can achieve results.

4. The one concession we must make if we wish [11] this agreement is that the International Labour Office be recognised as the 'appropriate authority' to which we refer in our text. Your statement to the House mentions [12] specifically the I.L.O. [13] and my inclination is to prefer the I.L.O. Our purpose then should be to make its status more satisfactory and work for radical changes in its administration. We will do our best also to obtain membership on the Governing Body. To-morrow I hope to be able to give you the text which we will agree to put forward to the Committee without, of course, any commitment of our Government. I would prefer that we delay a day or so in order to obtain your reaction as it would be valuable to be able to put up an Australian-American proposal based on Australian text and with the full authority of the Australian Government. If we can delay presentation to the Committee for a few days we shall.

5. My statements have brought this matter right into the field of monetary and commercial policy and there can be no room for doubt in the minds of the American Administration of the implications of this agreement for economic collaboration generally. But to make quite certain I shall have included appropriate reference either to Article 7 or to other United Nations and as well try to insert the extra clause indicated above. If I succeed in doing this, I believe we shall not only have made our position clear and have left ourselves with much more freedom in relation to Article 7 but also we shall have done so with the support of the majority of governments and workers and employers representatives at this conference.

6. It was most important for me to be able to claim Australian initiative in order that our draft should take priority. I therefore took advantage of the position to refer to your previous work in some detail and I made the following reference- 'considerable credit [14] is due to the farsightedness and statesmanlike leadership of the Australian Foreign Minister, Dr.

Evatt.' I also quoted in full the first of the five points mentioned in your statement on Canadian Mutual Aid.

7. Committees on the other items of the agenda have been progressing but it has not been possible for us to give them much attention.

1 Sent through the Legation in Washington.

2 See cablegram 338, dispatched 27 April. On file AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3.

3 Cablegram 339, dispatched 27 April, on the file cited in note 2.

4 Resolution II on item 2 of the conference agenda of the I.L.O.

dealt with social provisions in the peace settlement. See International Labour Conference. Twenty-sixth session.

Philadelphia 1944. Record of proceedings, International Labour Office, Montreal, 1944, appendix V, pp. 338-9.

5 See ibid., pp. 340-1.

6 Document 87. See also Document 117, note 3.

7 Document 127.

8 See Document 127, note 7.

9 A sign here indicated 'mutilated'.

10 See Document 123, note 3.

11 A sign here indicated 'mutilated'.

12 A sign here indicated 'mutilated'.

13 On 17 March, announcing the signature of the Mutual Aid Agreement with Canada, Evatt had outlined the Commonwealth Govt's five point approach to international economic collaboration. The first point read:

'Australia favours an international agreement by which subscribing countries would bind themselves to pursue domestic policies aimed at full employment, and would arrange for an existing organization, such as the International Labour Office, or a new international organization, to facilitate the exchange of information and consultation between countries on employment policy, and generally to give effect to the international agreement on employment.' See Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 178, p. 1555.

14 A sign here indicated 'mutilated'.

[AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3]