250 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 197 [1] CANBERRA, 18 August 1944



Your D.1129 [2], D.1119 [3] and Despatch D.75. [4] Draft Instrument of Surrender for Germany.

1. In general the terms of Articles 1 to 11 of the Draft are acceptable to the Australian Government, but we have strong objection which we feel will be shared by the European Allied Governments, to- (a) the proposal contained in the preamble that the surrender should be made to the Supreme Commands of the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and United States acting on the authority of their respective Governments; and (b) the proposal in Article 12 for vesting supreme authority with respect to the administration of the instrument and all related matters in the three great powers alone.

2. Regarding (a) we recognise the practical difficulties in the participation of all the Allies in the final transactions related to the surrender of Germany, but we cannot accept the idea that, whereas a great number of countries including ourselves have been fighting against Germany since the outbreak of war on various fronts and are contributing to her defeat in numerous other ways, the acceptance of the surrender of the enemy should be limited to only three powers. In view of practical difficulties we would be prepared to authorise the Supreme Commander of the Anglo-American forces engaged against Germany to act on our behalf in accepting the unconditional surrender and in applying the military measures necessary to ensure that the surrender was complete, but we think that such authority should be given formally by the Governments concerned. If it is impossible to obtain an alteration to the text of the Instrument we suggest that a declaration might be made either jointly or severally, by the Governments other than the United Kingdom, United States and U.S.S.R. whose forces have taken an active part in the defeat of Germany, simultaneously with the signature of the Instrument, stating that the Governments concerned- (a) authorise the Supreme Command of the Anglo-American forces to accept the surrender of Germany on their behalf; and (b) have been advised and concur in military terms of the armistice.

3. Regarding (b) it is our view that the powers under Article 12 are so extensive as virtually to place in the hands of the Big Three the determination of the future shape of Central Europe. We feel that the exclusion of the other Allied Governments from participation in the control machinery and from any association with the political and economic directives vitally affecting their interests must lead to inevitable and damaging resentment, and will prejudice not only present relations between the United Nations but the future peace of Europe. In our view an amendment of Article 12 should still be sought, to provide for representation of other Allied Governments on the control machinery or, alternatively, in lieu of an amendment of the text, that the three Governments should give an assurance by public declaration that in the exercise of the powers under Article 12, provision will be made for obtaining the views of other Allied Governments and for associating them directly with the various agencies used for carrying out the terms of Article 12. You will share our anxiety lest objections by the other United Nations to their exclusion from an effective voice in the settlement with Germany result in open differences.

1 Repeated to the Canadian, South African and N.Z. Prime Ministers as nos 13, 68 and 171, respectively.

2 Dispatched 11 August. On file AA:A989, 44/735/1013/2/2.

3 Dispatched 9 August. On the file cited in note 2.

4 Dated 9 June. On the file cited in note 2. It conveyed the text of an interim and informal Draft Instrument for the Surrender of Germany.

[AA:A5954, BOX 538]