293 Report of Discussions between Service Officers and Hasluck

20 September 1944


In Minute No. 297/1944 [2], the Defence Committee considered the proposal by the Department of External Affairs that an officer from that Department should discuss, with officers of the Department of Defence and the Services, military aspects of Post- Hostilities Planning and of proposals for World Organization. It was agreed that each Chief of Staff should appoint an officer to consider Defence Committee Agendum No. 184/1944 [3] with the officers appointed by the other Chiefs of Staff, and that arrangements should be made for the Officer-in-Charge of the Post- Hostilities Division of the Department of External Affairs to meet these officers together. These Service officers should form a committee to report to the Defence Committee on these matters.

2. Discussions took place with Mr. P. Hasluck, Department of External Affairs, on the 19th and 20th September, the following Service officers being present:

Navy-Commander G. G. O. Gatacre Army-Lieutenant-Colonel A. A. Conlon Lieutenant-Colonel J. R. Kerr Air-Wing-Commander V. S. Vincent.

The Chief of the Air Staff and Mr P. E. Coleman, Department of Defence, were also present during the discussions. The Committee's report is contained in the following paragraphs.

3. The Committee examined in detail Section 8 of the draft recommendations from the Dumbarton Oaks Conference regarding arrangements to be made within the proposed world organization for the maintenance of peace and security (Telegram D.1338 [4]). At the same time, it had in mind the invitation given by the Prime Minister of New Zealand for an early conference on matters arising out of the Australia - New Zealand Agreement (Telegram 151 [5] from the Prime Minister of New Zealand) and the request made by the Department of External Affairs in its memorandum of 8th September [6] that further attention might be given to the armistices and armistice control machinery in the Far East.

4. It was represented to the Committee by the representative of the Department of External Affairs that there was an immediate need (a) to advise the Government at an early date whether or not there were any military objections to the Government's assenting to the terms of the Dumbarton Oaks draft;

(b) to complete within the next fortnight a preliminary examination of the matters related to defence and security, armistices and postarmistice control likely to arise at the Wellington Conference.

It was stated that the Wellington Conference might take place as early as the middle of October.

5. Questions relating to the armistices and armistice control machinery were not considered in detail, it being understood that these would come before the Post-Hostilities Planning Committee now being set up by the Defence Committee, and that the representative of the Department of External Affairs would have an early opportunity of discussing such questions with the Post- Hostilities Planning Committee.

6. The Committee suggest that among the matters which should be covered by the discussions referred to in para. 5 are the following:

(a) the co-ordination of Australian and New Zealand post- hostilities planning as envisaged in Clause 11 of the Australia - New Zealand Agreement, including the exchange of plans and documents and joint staff arrangements for consideration of post- hostilities planning problems;

(b) the selection of matters of special interest to Australia and New Zealand, which after the Conference should receive the continual attention of their respective Post-Hostilities Committees, e.g.

(i) inter-allied machinery comparable to European Advisory Commission for consultation as between Governments on armistice terms for the Par East and the structure and representative character of armistice control machinery;

(ii) Australian and New Zealand views on Armistice terms and Armistice Control Machinery; and particularly on such Armistice terms as- Return of prisoners of war and Internees;

Disarmament of Japan and Thailand and disposal of arms, equipment, shipping, and other war material of the enemy.

(iii) Participation of Australian and New Zealand personnel in Civil Affairs arrangements for the Far East during the period of military occupation;

(iv) Participation of Australian and New Zealand personnel in garrisoning and for policing enemy territory after the Armistices.

7. The representative of the Department of External Affairs referred to developments since the Australia - New Zealand Conference of January, 1944, particularly the proposals for a World Organization, and asked that in preparation for discussions at Wellington, consideration might be given during the next fortnight to the following matters- (a) In what respects, if any, does the Defence Committee wish in the light of developments to amplify its report of Defence Committee Minute No. 2/1944 [7] relative to the defence of the Southwest Pacific Region, particularly as regards the sections of the report dealing with the following aspects- (i) the strategical location of forces;

(ii) the strength of forces available for defence of the island screen;

(iii) the policy of achieving security by a synthesis of national defence, empire co-operation and international security.

(b) the relationship of the proposal in the Australia - New Zealand Agreement for a regional defence zone (Clause 13) to proposals for regional arrangements as part of the World Organization (Clause 8(c) of Dumbarton Oaks Draft);

(c) arrangements in accordance with Clause 35(a) of the Australia - New Zealand Agreement for co-operation for defence; and the desirability of and machinery for early joint-staff discussions on matters raised- (i) in Clause 35(a); and (ii) in connection with the military aspects of World Organization.

(d) Suggestions regarding items to be discussed under the Security and Defence Section of the Agenda at the Wellington Conference.

The view of the Committee was that these were matters which should be brought before the Defence Committee for consideration.

8. It is suggested that the work done as a matter of urgency under the above paragraphs might merge in due course with the more comprehensive studies to be undertaken by the Post-Hostilities Planning Committee of the Defence Committee.

9. The greater part of the time of the Committee was devoted to an examination of Section 8 of the Dumbarton Oaks draft recommendations.

The Committee considers that there are no objections on military grounds to assenting to sub-sections A and D of Section 8 and to paragraphs 1 to 4 and 7 to 11 of sub-section B of Section 8. The Committee sees no objection to the proposal in para. 9 of sub- section B setting up a military staff committee, assuming that the Australian Services are kept advised by the British Service Representatives of developments on the Military Staff Committee, but it considers that the circumstances under which Australia should be invited to be associated with the work of the Committee should be further examined before any military commitment is accepted.

Paragraph 5 of sub-section B, which concerns the contribution of forces, bases or facilities from national resources, calls for further examination. The procedure envisaged in the draft is that in clue course an agreement or agreements will be negotiated between member nations to govern these matters, and, therefore, it is suggested that the examination of the military aspects of the problem might proceed with the definite objective of reaching an agreed opinion regarding the Australian interests to be served in such agreements. In the meantime, there would appear to be no objection to assenting to the paragraph. Of the alternative drafts put forward regarding the establishment of bases, the Committee prefers the one proposed by the United Kingdom and United States.

Paragraph 6 of sub-section B [8] also requires further examination. Of the three alternative drafts, the Committee prefers the British draft at this stage, because it affords opportunity for further consideration of the question, but it is considered that as an ultimate objective, the United States draft is preferable.

Some of the objections to the Russian proposal would be- (a) International controversies would arise on such matters as command, location, composition and maintenance (see para. 7 of the U.K. Memorandum C-Security [9]).

(b) The International Air Force would probably disintegrate at a time of crisis owing to the National components of the Force taking opposite sides in the current dispute (particularly if their respective countries were concerned).

(c) The disinclination of a State to make available its latest developments and inventions on aircraft and equipment for the common knowledge and usage of the international Force.

With regard to the whole of the proposals for an international air force, it is pointed out that a land-based international air force would not be effective as a striking force in the Pacific; and in such ocean areas, it would have to be carrier-borne.

Sub-section C (Regional arrangements) is still not agreed upon by Britain, U.S. & U.S.S.R., and calls for further examination (see also para. 7(b) above).

Sub-section E, (Interim arrangements) calls for further examination, particularly in conjunction with Clause 15, of the Australia - New Zealand Agreement.

10. The Committee discussed at length the lines on which the further examination of the Dumbarton Oaks Draft and of related matters might proceed, and reached the following conclusions:-

(a) That it is impossible to indicate at this stage what armed forces, facilities and assistance could be made available under the terms of an agreement negotiated pursuant to Clause 8(B)(5) of the Dumbarton Oaks Draft. The answer to this question is dependent upon knowledge of the size, structure and general task of the armed forces of the Commonwealth in the post-war world, number and location of bases to be maintained from national resources and the structure of the Australian post-war supply and defence industries. Government policy on any of these matters has not yet been communicated to the Services.

(b) As to size, structure and general task of the armed forces, preparation of Service plans in this field depends upon some indication of Government policy with regard to the finance to be available for the post-war forces and an indication by the Government of the national purposes to be served by the armed forces in the post-war world.

(c) As to number and location of bases-this is dependent upon policy decisions as to the defence task and the finance available to carry it out.

(d) As to the structure of post-war supply and defence industries, the Committee invites attention to the fact the present war has shown that Australia's strategical position and resources make it likely that the Commonwealth will in any future war in this area again be an important base for operations. In negotiating any agreement under Clause 8(B)(5), attention should therefore be given to this problem in connection with the 'facilities and assistance' which the Commonwealth might agree to make available.

This raises the important question of the extent to which Australia's defence industries should be maintained and developed, pursuant to any such agreement.

(e) The above matters require attention at two levels:-

(i) An indication is necessary from the Government of policy in the several fields outlined; and (ii) Detailed planning by the Services and Departments concerned with defence and foreign policy, finance, supply and defence industries.

The Service representative stressed that the important limiting factor is finance, and that until some indication is given by the Government on this head, it will be impossible to come to final conclusions about commitments to the World Organization. 11. The Committee expressed the view that developments in connection with Clauses 8(B)(5), (13)(6), and (C) and (E) should receive the urgent and continued attention of the appropriate Post-Hostilities Planning Authorities to be set up.

12. After completion of this report, the Committee received telegrams 874 and 884 [10] from Washington reporting the probability of a breakdown of the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. It is recognized that while this will defer the prospective international conference on World Organization, it does not lessen the necessity for examining the issues raised above. [11]

G. G. O. GATACRE Navy Representative

A. A. CONLON J. R. KERR Army Representatives

V. S. VINCENT Air Representative

1 Document 26.

2 Dated 15 September. In AA:A2031, vol. 13.

3 Dated 11 September. On file AA:A5799, 184/1944.

4 Dispatched 12 September. On file AA:A989, 44/630/5/1/11/5. The U.K. proposals were on most points similar to those agreed to by the U.K., U.S. and Soviet representatives at Dumbarton Oaks. See Document 311. The substance of sub-sections D and E of section 8 of the U.K. proposals was incorporated in an altered form in Ch.

12 of the Dumbarton Oaks proposals.

5 Document 268.

6 On file AA:A816, 146/301/1.

7 Dated 5 January. In AA:A2031, vol. 12.

8 Paragraph 6 of sub-section B contained alternative U.K., U.S.

and Soviet drafts on the nature of a proposed international air force.

9 See Document 48 for the list of memoranda A to E.

10 Dispatched 16 and 17 September, respectively. On the file cited in note 6.

11 This report was submitted by the Secretary of the Defence Committee, Douglas I. Menzies, on 26 September.

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