422 Evatt and Lavarack to Chifley

Cablegram E59 WASHINGTON, 30 November 1945, 10.02 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegrams 1832 [1] and 1833. [2]

Having carefully tested out the position here and weighed all the probabilities if we resist the United States proposals which will probably arrive formally to-morrow, we both feel strongly that in the interests of Australia we should accept the proposals. We both feel that Northcott will be able to make very satisfactory arrangements on the spot with MacArthur.

If we resist the United States will probably take up the position that the Russians will insist on a share of the occupation on the same lines, and this we know the United States cannot accept in the present circumstances.

Therefore, in order to avoid further delay and a possible review of the acceptance in principle, we feel that we should agree to the proposals. We entirely agree that our Commander-in-Chief must have access to the Supreme Commander, and we regard this as a very important safeguard. We are confident that this can be arranged.

A further communication will be made as soon as detailed reply from the United States is available. (From then onwards General Lavarack will furnish particulars and comments, as Doctor Evatt will be proceeding to the west coast and will not be available until Monday.

We think that the principle which has been established in this matter regarding Australian leadership among British Commonwealth Nations will be of the utmost value on political and military levels. Both the President and the Secretary of State have expressed their interest in this to Doctor Evatt.)

1 Dispatched 29 November. On file AA : A816, 52/301/222. It considered the forthcoming discussions between the Commonwealth and U.S. Govts of detailed arrangements for the British Commonwealth occupation forces and in particular reported opinions in favour of MacArthur's views.

2 Document 420.

[AA : A816, 52/301/222]