122 Legation in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 264 WASHINGTON, 8 March 1946, 9.08 p.m.

SECRET

FEC18.

1. The Steering Committee met on 8th March. The Committee recommended that the only duty of the Vice-Chairman should be to preside at F.E.C. Meetings in the absence of the Chairman.

Recommended that there be three Vice-Chairmen Gromyko, Halifax and Wei. Eggleston opposed the Three Powers entitled to a Veto also being Vice-Chairmen, but the only support came from Berendsen. [1] Eggleston also suggested that Vice-Chairmanship might rotate monthly among all Delegates, but got no support. The French motion that there should be four ViceChairmen, to permit of election of Naggiar, was defeated. [2]

2. The Committee decided that a Committee entitled 'Strengthening of Democratic Processes' be formed, but that a Press Statement outline its functions in some detail in order to forestall hostile press criticism which is feared by U.S.A. (see FEC16). [3] Functions include establishment of freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought, reform of educational system, public information including press and radio, civil liberties, status and role of women and State Shinto.

3. The Steering Committee directed that all Committees hold their first meeting next week, beginning with reparations on nth March.

FEC will meet on 14th March.

4. Reference your 364 of 8th March. Education is covered by Committee on strengthening of democratic processes. Strongly advise against asking for New Committee:-

(A) It would delay beginning of work;

(B) It would look like an attempt to take education away from a Committee headed by the Russian Delegate, whose attitude to date has been most reasonable;

Suggest that instead FEC be asked to direct that this Committee give high priority to education. [4]

1 Berendsen had been instructed to support Australian vice- chairmanship because of Australia's contribution to the defeat of Japan.

2 Gromyko, Halifax and Wei were elected on 14 March.

3 U.S. fears concerned chairmanship of the committee by Soviet Union delegate N. V. Novikov, and its title. A U.S. suggestion to change the name to 're-orientation' was opposed by all other delegates.

4 The External Affairs Dept cabled its concurrence on .3 March. On 12 March the Committee had established a special sub-committee on educational reform, on which Andrews initially represented Australia.

[AA:A1838/2, 483/1, i]