227 Chifley and Evatt to Forde

Cablegram E19 LONDON, 1 May 1946, 2.10 p.m.


1. PACIFIC. Discussions on the Pacific have been satisfactory and our general point of view on bases as adopted by Cabinet in Australia has been accepted by the United Kingdom Government. This is a great advance on the position in January when United Kingdom was prepared to hand over certain Pacific Territories and bases without a corresponding obligation on the part of the United States of America. It is now agreed that United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand should approach the United States Government with a suggestion for a, conference at which regional arrangements would be discussed, including obligations which each country should undertake and as part of these arrangements the joint use of certain bases. The present position is that as a next step Bevin will discuss our propositions with Byrnes while in Paris.

2. DEFENCE. While there has been no finalisation and we have emphasised that Australian Cabinet must consider all proposals, we have given approval to four propositions in relation to the organisation of Commonwealth Defence.

(A) A fundamental of a system of Commonwealth Defence is that United Kingdom should maintain a mission in each Dominion and each Dominion should maintain similar missions in London or any other Dominion if they so wish.

(B) Such a system would overcome the difficulties of a centralised system which is unacceptable as it restricts freedom of action of any member of the British (Commonwealth to make bilateral arrangements with Allies outside the British Commonwealth.

(C) Such a system provides for co-ordination while at the same time is based on National Defence Organisations which the United Kingdom and each of the Dominions should maintain.

(D) It will take time to bring this decentralised system into operation, but provided all parties work on the basis of the above three propositions the necessary framework will soon be developed.

3. Besides Pacific and Defence matters, there have been informal discussions on several matters of International concern, particularly in relation to present discussions of the Council of Foreign Ministers. These have been informative and tentative. On Italian Colonies we expressed the view that- (A) Colonies should not be returned to Italy.

(B) Russia's proposal for its Trusteeship over Tripolitania was unjustified.

(C) Because of importance of U.N.O. and America's co-operation, plan should be adopted for placing Colonies under United Nations Trusteeship. On Palestine report we have emphasised necessity for United States and United Kingdom to have joint policy and joint responsibility both in adoption and implementation of plan.

4. You will, no doubt, make it clear that the whole of the matters mentioned are strictly confidential. Most of the matters are as yet tentative and provisional and publicity may actually defeat our objects.

1 Hasluck.

[AA:A3195, 1946, 1.11601]