449 Department of External Affairs to Legation in Moscow

Cablegram 219 CANBERRA, 14 DECEMBER 1945


MEETING OF FOREIGN SECRETARIES 1. During the recent Council of Foreign Ministers Session Dr.

Evatt secured acceptance in principle by both Byrnes and Bevin that there should be a peace conference at which all relevant issues would be finally determined by all the Allies which actively fought in the war against the Axis.

2. In relation to the Moscow talks this means that any discussions must be purely preliminary and general in character pending detailed review and final decision by all countries directly concerned.

3. In particular Items 3, 4, 5, and 6 of the tentative agenda (see my immediately following telegram [1]) concern us vitally. Such matters as the terms of reference for the Far Eastern Commission concern Australia and all other nations members of that body and should not be discussed in the absence of the great majority of such members. Without their participation arrangements such as the four Power veto in voting procedure now proposed in the latest United States draft terms of reference may well be written into the Commission's Constitution without consultation with some two- thirds of its members. Such a situation is completely unsatisfactory. We are emphatically opposed to the veto provision.

Settlement of the terms of reference of the Commission as of the Allied Council for Japan should be discussed freely by all members of the Commission.

4. We are advised that Bevin has insisted with Byrnes' concurrence that the Moscow talks will be exploratory only and that other countries will have to be consulted. If you should be consulted you should remind Bevin of the understanding referred to in paragraph 1 above and stress that Far East matters should not be discussed in absence of Powers directly concerned and that any discussions between the Great Powers on such matters should be exploratory and preliminary in character.

5. We are not sending you instructions on agenda items as we wish to maintain principle that matters such as are on agenda should be subject to discussions at a conference to which we would send representatives.

1 Cablegram 220, dispatched 14 December. On file AA : A1066, E45/1/30. The proposed agenda items are listed in Document 438.

[AA : A1066, H45/1016/4/1]