381 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 363 [1] LONDON, 22 December 1944, 2.27 p.m.


Your telegram No. 335. [2] Employment Conference.

1. We agree to your suggestion that the Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom governments should make a joint approach to the United States government to ask whether they would join in calling an employment conference or would attend such a conference if called. We suggest, however, that before approach is actually made, the governments of the other Dominions and of India should be informed of our intention and of the general procedure proposed and given the opportunity to send comments to you, the New Zealand government and ourselves.

2. We also agree that if the United States reaction is favourable to our approach it should be suggested to them as the next step that discussions should be held between officials of the four governments regarding the agenda, scope and objective of the conference. Arrangements would, of course, be made for keeping in touch with other Commonwealth governments during these discussions.

3. We feel that the holding of such preliminary discussions with United States officials will be of great importance in order that the ground may be carefully prepared before invitations to the conference are issued. We are sure you will agree that we must not, on account of inadequate preparation, run the risk of an abortive conference which would undoubtedly constitute a setback to the prospects of an international understanding on this very important subject.

4. We should be glad to know the terms in which you and the New Zealand government propose that our joint approach to the United States government should be made. In this connection you will no doubt have it in mind that the approach should be on the basis that the governing body of the International Labour Office would be associated with the conference. We understand that all the resolutions passed at the Philadelphia Conference will come before the governing body at the meeting in London starting 25th January.

5. We think that the proposal would have to be communicated to the Russian, French and Chinese governments before any public announcement in regard to the conference is made or invitations to it are issued.

6. We shall be glad to receive an advance copy of the statement referred to in your paragraph 2 as soon as it is ready and we shall study it carefully. We note that you propose to publish it and circulate it to members of the United Nations in due course.

We are inclined to think that there might be advantages in delaying publication until after the approach to United States has been made and the official discussions referred to in paragraph 2 above have taken place.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Govt as no. 286.

2 Document 374.

[AA:A989, 44/735/58/7]