214 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 156 [1] CANBERRA, 5 July 1944


Your telegram D.947 of 29th June. [2]

Recognition of constituent Republics in Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

We agree that in view of the delicate questions involved it would be advantageous if recognition could be postponed until the peace settlement provided this can be done without causing offence. We have felt, however, since the announcement of February 3rd, 1944 [3], that one of the reasons for this step was the fear that the Soviet Union might be outvoted on international conferences or peace organizations. This aspect was brought to the fore at the time of the creation of the War Crimes Commission, when the question of separate Dominion representation was specifically raised, and we were compelled to present a note pointing out the status of the members of the British Commonwealth. [4] If there is substance in this view, we believe that the Soviet Government will in fact raise the issue before the peace settlement. We should therefore have in mind how this position will be met. We believe it will have to be accepted with grace rather than risk differences with the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, especially in view of our acceptance in principle of the ultimate incorporation of the Baltic States and the Soviet Government's claims in respect of its Western frontiers.

We certainly agree that all British Commonwealth Governments should keep each other informed of any Soviet move bearing on this matter and that the various representatives in Moscow should be instructed to exchange information on any development. His Majesty's Australian Minister is being informed accordingly.

1 Repeated to the N. Z. Prime Minister as no. 135.

2 Document 207.

3 i.e. the press release of the Supreme Soviet's decision to appoint Commissars for Defence and Foreign Affairs in sixteen constituent republics. See Maloney's cablegram 27, dispatched 3 February. On file AA:A989, 43-44/845/4.

4 See Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 276.

[AA:A5954, BOX 451]