145 Department of External Affairs to Brigden

Cablegram 471 CANBERRA, 27 March 1946


Your telegram 344. [1] U.N.R.R.A. Council.

We do not see why our election to the Central Committee should involve us in difficulties with the Soviet Union and other countries in Eastern Europe, if practical questions which arise are dealt with in the light of certain overriding principles.

We assume you will have seen the text of the Minister's statement to Parliament on the 13th March, 1946 [2], and we draw particular attention to the concluding section on the future of international co-operation in which special reference is made to relationships with the Soviet Union. Minister's general view is that full and objective consideration should be given to the Soviet case on any issue. Hasty action should be avoided and every effort made to ascertain all relevant facts.

It is particularly important that U.N.R.R.A. decisions should not be based upon political considerations. The aim should be to contribute in the maximum degree to the solution of current relief difficulties on humanitarian grounds. Decisions taken should ensure that such relief is given on the basis of equality amongst recipient countries.

It is essential to avoid any appearance of voting with one group of countries rather than another group for purely political reasons. Voting should be based upon the general principles indicated above which should be publicly stated.

1 Document 141.

2 Evatt had referred to criticism of the Soviet Union's expansion since 1939: 'I take the view that the Soviet Union's policy is directed towards self-protection and security against future attack ... its desire is to develop its own economy and to improve the welfare of its peoples. 'Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, vol. 186, p. 205.

[AA:A1067, R46/3/5]