20 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 24 CANBERRA, 2 February 1945

IMMEDIATE SECRET

We have been informed by the Australian Minister at Washington that the approach which was agreed between us should be made by the United Kingdom Ambassador and the Australian and New Zealand Ministers was in fact made by relatively subordinate officials of the Embassy and the Legations. [1] This in our view is contrary to our arrangement and quite inappropriate. The United States State Department is fully informed regarding the employment approach and what was required was a diplomatic approach to ascertain whether United States Government was willing to join with us in calling a conference or attend a conference if called. We are most anxious to take every step to prevent a hasty decision without a new approach to the Secretary of State or the President. A decision once made by the State Department might be difficult to review when the matter is opened up again with the President. We are instructing the Australian Minister therefore to advise Clayton that on a matter of this kind we did not expect a departmental approach or decision as he has indicated, but a decision after a diplomatic approach to the Secretary of State and the President.

As the President is not available we are suggesting that the approach be regarded as purely provisional and that the official diplomatic approach will be made at a later time.

It is unfortunate that we were not informed that the President and Secretary of State were not available and the approach was made on the operational level. We hope you will support us in doing everything possible to prevent an unfavourable decision particularly in view of the fact that at the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation, on which you are represented but we are not, the plan was shelved without so much as a word of support of the employment conference made at a lower level. As you know we regard this matter as vital and our countries should not be deterred by an unfavourable reply made in circumstances such as have been created in Washington.

1 Document 18.

[AA: A1066, ER45/2/3/2]