173 Evatt to Chifley

Letter CANBERRA, 30 May 1944

I wish to bring before War Cabinet as early as possible a proposal regarding the setting up of an organisation for post-hostilities planning in international affairs, in accordance with our undertaking in the Australian - New Zealand Agreement. [1] Such an organisation has become urgently necessary to ensure that War Cabinet may have complete information and expert advice on the various matters affecting the armistices and peace settlements which will come before it in the near future.

I think you will agree that it is most important that Australia should take an adequate part in the shaping of the peace and in establishing post-war conditions which will give a reasonable hope of world stability and prosperity and the peaceful development of our country. After paying a heavy price for victory we must be certain we do not lose the peace.

As you know, a great number of the issues of the international postwar settlement are already crowding in on us-for example, the investigation of war crimes, relief and rehabilitation in devastated countries, repatriation or transference of refugees, the post-armistice arrangements with Italy, prospective armistices with other enemy countries, civil administration after the conclusion of armistices, the whole field of post-war economic collaboration (including the proposals for monetary, commodity and employment agreements), civil aviation, a petroleum agreement, the future of France and her colonies, the future of Italy, Germany and Japan, questions of colonial trusteeship, a security system and the shaping of the future world organisation. Many of these subjects have already received close attention, with consultation between the Department of External Affairs and other interested Departments, and it is partly to facilitate such consultation that I have drawn up the plan for a Post-Hostilities Planning Division.

I also hope to be able to ensure that all phases of post- hostilities planning in international affairs are given adequate attention and that the results of preliminary and expert examination are brought before War Cabinet at the appropriate time and in the appropriate form.

The details of my proposals are contained in a draft agendum, a copy of which is attached [2], and, before bringing the matter before War Cabinet, I should be glad to know whether I may have your concurrence as Treasurer to the proposed extra expenditure that is involved.

The estimated annual cost is 10,000. Having regard to the scope of the work to be undertaken and the necessity for appointing a highly qualified staff, including two special advisers, this seems to me to be a very moderate commitment, in comparison with current war expenditure, for making our preparations for the peace. I am informed that most other countries have already made provision for post-hostilities planning organisations in one form or another and in most cases they are on a more elaborate and costly scale than the organisation now proposed for Australia.

I should be glad to have your views as early as possible so that no time may be lost in setting up the new Division and making the necessary appointments.


1 Document 26.

2 Not published.

[AA:A571, [45/244]]