406 Commonwealth Government to Walker

Cablegram P26 CANBERRA, 23 November 1945


Your 59 Reparations. [1]

In view of the very much greater damage suffered by European countries and consequent stronger claims to reparations we do not wish to press our own beyond what our substantial war effort will reasonably justify and bearing in mind our real industrial needs.

2. Concerning this latter the lists of equipment already forwarded give items which would be of definite use to Australia rather than a specific quota which we expect to get. Since our actual share is likely to be small you should press hard for specific items on the lists submitted which Cochrane and if necessary further advice from here suggest are of special value to us rather than lay claim to any large quantity of industrial equipment.

3. We attach great importance to German patents, technical processes, scientific discoveries and industrial know-how. But we consider these should be freely available to all the United Nations and you should concentrate to the utmost on securing recognition of this principle. In addition to Cochrane selected industrial and scientific experts will shortly be leaving to acquire such information from all available sources.

4. It is difficult for us to lay down a precise line of policy beyond paragraph 1 above unless the basis upon which reparations are to be allocated is definitely known. If material damage is strongly taken into account in allocating shares we should then be free, having once conceded the point, to press for full recognition of our needs in accordance with paragraph 2. If damage is not made the primary principle of title to claim, we will be in a stronger position in view of our substantial relative war effort against Germany.

1 Dispatched 19 November. On file AA : A1066, H45/1015/11.

[AA : A1066, H45/1015/11]