368 Fraser to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 216 WELLINGTON, 6 December 1944, 12.05 a.m.

SECRET

Regional Commission and Colonial Policy.

After careful consideration of the United Kingdom telegrams 274 [1] and 275 [2] we cannot avoid the conclusion that our views are still not entirely understood.

We also note with regret that the effect of the messages from the Secretary of State is to postpone indefinitely the commencement of the South Seas Regional Commission on the argument that such bodies are, bound up with the consideration of international colonial policy.

My statement [3] on the other hand purported to make it clear that we regard the South Seas Regional Commission purely as a welfare body set up by voluntarily co-operating Governments and not connected with any scheme of international supervision that might or might not be set up in the future. We do not see how the establishment of the Regional Commission, any more than that of the existing Caribbean Commission, could prejudice later consideration on the basis of the United Kingdom Government's forthcoming note or otherwise of larger questions of colonial policy.

These larger questions will ultimately need to be examined on the broadest basis and probably at considerable length with the United States of America as the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs suggests and also presumably at the United Nations Conference on a general international organisation.

In the meantime we are reluctant to postpone the practical welfare work which we envisage and consider that, as we are not thereby prejudicing in our favour any issue of general principle on which the United Kingdom and our own views may differ, we should again press for an early discussion among the interested powers.

1 Document 359.

2 Document 360.

3 Contained in Fraser's cablegram 298 to Cranborne of 15 November, repeated to Canberra as no. 203. In AA:A3195, 1944, 1.40740/44/42.

It is framed in similar terms to Document 346.

[AA:A1838, 342/1]