94 Hood to Sinclair

Memorandum CANBERRA, 24 May 1945

British Borneo Civil Affairs Unit

[matter omitted]

2. As it is understood that the matter is to be considered by War Cabinet on Monday, 28th May, we suggest that the following paragraphs should be included in the War Cabinet Agendum:-

(a) The attention of members of War Cabinet has been previously drawn to the Australian Government's policy of participation in Civil Affairs activities in the Far East and the consequent support of this policy by the Department of External Affairs.

(Reference War Cabinet Agendum No. 57/1945, paragraph 12). [1]

(b) The Australian and New Zealand Governments declared in the Australian - New Zealand Agreement (Article 26) that the interim administration of enemy territories in the Pacific is of vital importance to both countries. In this Article there is this clear indication of the Australian Government's undoubted concern in the preliminary civil administration of all Pacific territories which were under the control of the enemy at the time of the Agreement (January 1944).

(c) Australian interest in the future of the Pacific area, and in Southeast Asia in particular, demands that every opportunity should be seized of ensuring the fullest possible participation by Australian representatives in civil affairs administration. The United Kingdom's readiness to enlist the aid of suitable Australian personnel in the civil affairs administration of their own colonial territories should be willingly accepted by the Australian Government. Such acceptance may well be a first step towards enlisting United Kingdom support for regional international cooperation in Southeast Asia, a vital area for the security of the Commonwealth and a region in which the quality of all colonial administrations is a matter of the utmost concern to Australia. Preparedness to assist the United Kingdom may well lead to consultation with the United Kingdom Government as to the policy to be pursued in the administration of the extensive and important British colonies in Southeast Asia. [2]

J. D. L. H.

Acting Secretary

1 Dated 5 February. On file AA : A2671, 57/1945.

2 A copy of this memorandum was attached as Appendix A to Supplement 1 of War Cabinet Agendum 228/1945, dated 28 May. On the same day War Cabinet approved (minute 4209) the earlier transfer of the unit, with its nucleus of British officers, to the Australian Order-of-Battle, subject to a request to the U.K. Govt that Australian personnel in the unit be replaced as soon as possible. See also Document 139.

[AA : A1066, P45/152/2]