30 Cranborne to Curtin

Cablegram D250 LONDON, 9 February 1945, 2.20 P.M.

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

My telegrams D.235 and 236 of 7th February. [1]

1. As indicated in my telegram 6th February D.227 [2] we informed the United Kingdom delegation at the Three Power Meeting of the views of the Dominion Governments as then known. Your replies to my D.227 have since been transmitted urgently to the Delegation but before they had been received the Prime Minister has sent the following personal message for communication urgently to you. The text of the Prime Minister's message. Begins.

1. I have seen the telegrams from the Foreign Office reporting that your Governments are unwilling to agree to Australian, New Zealand, South African prisoners of war liberated by the Soviet advance being employed by the Soviet authorities pending their repatriation.

2. The really important thing is to ensure that our liaison officers should enter Soviet territories at once so as to make sure that the terms of any agreement are scrupulously carried out. The Soviet Government are unwilling to grant visas to these liaison officers until an agreement has been concluded and I regard it as of paramount importance therefore that such an agreement should be made at the earliest possible moment.

3. After most careful consideration I have had Clause 6 redrafted so as to make sure that the work is only permitted on a voluntary basis. The Clause also contains the other conditions which have been devised in order to give protection to our men. The time at my disposal for concluding this matter is very short and I feel sure that it would be best in all our interests that such an agreement should cover men drawn from all parts of the British Commonwealth. In these circumstances I should be glad to hear from you as a matter of the greatest urgency whether you can agree to your Government being bound by the terms of such an agreement.

Until I have received your reply to this telegram I will prepare to reserve the position of your Government in any discussions which we may have with the Soviet Government.

4. I add the original and amended drafts of Clause 6. Text of the Prime Minister's message ends.

2. We are informing the Delegation as in paragraph 3 of my D.235 that Canadian, New Zealand and Union Governments have agreed to provision being made for work on a voluntary basis and to the inclusion of their personnel within the scope of the agreement accordingly and are suggesting that if they find it essential to conclude the agreement immediately they should exchange letters to cover the Agreement and notify the Soviet Government in the above sense. As regards Australia they would be asked to say that pending further consideration the Australian Government wish their position to be reserved.

3. Assume that this course would be in accordance with your wishes but if not please telegraph most immediately.

1 Cablegram D235 reported a revision of the draft agreement to ensure that any work by ex-prisoners of war was done on a voluntary basis. Cablegram D236 gave the text of the revised article. On file AA:A1066, IC45/6/2/1, i.

2 Document 25.

[AA:A1066, IC45/6/2/1, i]