42 D'Alton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 18 WELLINGTON, 5 February 1944, 2.05 p.m.

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

I saw the Prime Minister today concerning the American note handed to him, and, I understand, to the Commonwealth Government yesterday [1], regarding the Australia - New Zealand agreement.

[2]

Mr. Fraser said that he was awaiting advice as to your attitude before replying.

He felt, however, that the American attitude was based on a misunderstanding of Article 13 of the agreement which mentioned 'A regional zone of defence within the framework of a general world plan of security'.

He said also that as it had not been intended to hold the [. . .] [3] envisaged under Article 34 until after the Conference of British Commonwealth Prime Ministers, there was no reason why we should not accept the American suggestion of a discussion in Washington en route to London. He thought that it might be to our advantage to have a full discussion of the agreement with Hull and Roosevelt.

Mr. Fraser felt that the very fact of the American note indicated the impression made by the agreement on America. He felt, however, that we should be careful not to give the administration's political opponents material for criticizing Roosevelt and Hull.

Mr. Fraser doubted whether the Netherlands would accept an invitation to a conference not attended by the United States, although the French might.

D'ALTON

1 See Document 40.

2 Document 26.

3 The word lost in transmission presumably was 'conference'.

[AA:A989, 43/735/.68]