219 Department of External Affairs to Hood

Cablegram 284 CANBERRA, 29 April 1946


Your 268 and 275. [1]

Regional Organisation in the Pacific.

1. Departmental proposals on Organisation of South Seas Commission suggested four components namely-Commission proper, Secretariat, Special Research Bodies, Periodic South Seas Conference. The last might consist of nominees of international organisations and of member governments the latter representing administrations, scientific and missionary bodies, and native peoples.

(a) Composition of Commission.

(i) representatives of powers with direct territorial interests in the region viz: Australia, United States, New Zealand, France, United Kingdom. (Possibly Netherlands in respect of Dutch New Guinea and administering authority in respect of Japanese Mandates.) (ii) Commission might consist of an official representative from each of member Powers together with recognised authorities on colonial policy nominated by such bodies as Trusteeship Council and I.L.O. and by participating Governments in rotation.

(b) Functions.

Commission would be advisory to member Governments and in particular would perform the following functions:-

(i) receive reports from and address inquiries to member Governments.

(ii) Arrange research into special problems of native welfare, economic, social and political development and make recommendations to governments thereon.

(iii) discuss projects for international economic development of South Seas Territories.

(iv) Furnish copies of reports to appropriate international bodies e.g., I.L.O.

(v) publish annual report on welfare and progress in South Seas.

(vi) direct work of secretariat.

(vii) consider recommendations of South Seas Conference.

(viii) facilitate exchange of information between administrations.

2. Departmental proposals regarding South East Asia Commission.

(a) Composition (c.f. Despatch mentioned below.') (i) Dependent territories and Parent States within the South East Asia area:-United Kingdom, Portugal, France, Netherlands, Malayan Union & Colony of Singapore, British Borneo, Timor, Indo-China, Netherlands Indies.

(ii) Governments within the region:-Burma, Philippines, Siam, Indonesian Republic (?) Annamese Republic (?).

(iii) Governments with interests in the region:-Australia, India, China, United States, New Zealand, Ceylon.

(b) Functions. Advice to member governments on following- (i) co-ordination of rehabilitation measures.

(ii) co-operation in regard to welfare, communications and economic development.

(iii) research into special problems.

(iv) exchange of information by administrations on matters of common interest.

(v) relations with appropriate international bodies.

3. You will recall also United Kingdom despatch D. No. 172 of 27th December, 1944, on general question of colonial policy with special reference to development of regional machinery. [2]

4. We are forwarding by air mail copy of Departmental papers (November 1944) on South Seas Commission and telegraphing details on School of Civil Affairs (ref. paragraph 3 of your 275).

1 Dispatched 23 and 26 April, they sought information on proposals on regional organisation prepared by the Department for possible use at the Prime Ministers' meeting in London.

2 See Volume VIII, Document 17, note 1.

[AA:A1838/2, 383/1/2/1, i]