44 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D333 LONDON, 22 February 1945, 11 p.m.

TOP SECRET IMPORTANT

My telegram 263 of 10th February. [1]

World Organisation.

Now that it has been decided to issue invitations to all United Nations to participate in conference at San Francisco on World Organisation on 25th April we feel that the time has come to reach definite decisions with regard to the preliminary gathering of British Commonwealth representatives referred to in my telegram 17th January D.89. [2]

In view of the immense importance of this issue for each and all of the members of the Commonwealth we think it most desirable in advance of the San Francisco meeting to ensure fullest discussion and mutual understanding of our respective points of view. We feel strongly therefore that a preliminary meeting ought to be arranged as suggested. We are most grateful for the views on the Dumbarton Oaks scheme which we have received from the Dominion Governments and these have been and are receiving the most careful consideration here and we shall be quite ready to discuss them at a meeting.

As regards the place we should suggest a meeting in London. It would clearly be helpful if the Foreign Secretary who was, himself, at the Crimea meeting could be available for consultation and it would be difficult for him to undertake another absence from this country in the near future before the San Francisco meeting.

As regards the time there would, we assume, be advantage in so arranging the meetings as to afford an opportunity for the results of the discussions to be considered by the Governments before final instructions are sent to the delegates who will be attending the San Francisco Conference. From this point of view we suggest that the preliminary meeting should open on or about the 15th March so that discussions could finish by Easter and leave three weeks available before the San Francisco meeting opens.

The magnitude of the issues raised would naturally seem to indicate discussion at the Ministerial level. But if any Government found it impracticable to be represented by a Minister we should welcome representation by appropriate officials. It is suggested that I, as Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, should preside at the meeting.

Opportunity could conveniently be taken at proposed meeting to discuss also question of territorial trusteeship which is likely to be raised in connection with the San Francisco conference.

We greatly hope that the above suggestions regarding the proposed meeting will be acceptable. We should be grateful for earliest possible reply and an indication as to who would be your representatives at the meeting. We should be delighted that the Delegates should be our guests while in England.

1 Document 32.

2 On file AA:A1066, H45/765.

[AA:A1066, H45/765]