259 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram E58 (extract) LONDON, 20 May 1946, 8.15 p.m.


1. I have just returned from Paris where I had talks with Byrnes, Molotov, Bidault and Bevin.

2. To each of these and in a Press statement I stated that the real purpose of the Peace Conference could still be met if at the Conference when called, each of the great powers was equally free to support or oppose any amendments suggested. Byrnes indicated that this proposal for calling a Conference at once received rather luke-warm. support. However, there seems to be a growing public opinion in favour of a Peace Conference and when the Council [1] meets again on 15th June, the date will probably be decided.

3. Byrnes mentioned the question of bases. What he said confirms that our attitude at London was right; the door to negotiations has not been closed and that despite all difficulties, satisfactory arrangements may result. Byrnes desires me to discuss the matter with him at Washington in the near future in accordance with an agreed note he received from Bevin after our London talks.

[2] Bidault told me there would be no changes of sovereignty so far as France was concerned.

4. I raised with Bidault the question of French participation in the South Seas Commission. They are interested but make one reservation. They do not agree that the Commission should concern itself with political matters such as self-Government of the native peoples. This objection need not necessarily be an obstacle as the Commission should deal firstly with practical matters such as health, conditions of labour, eduation and Missionary activity.

While in America I will similarly test out informally the United States Government.

5. The Commonwealth Meetings in London will conclude on Thursday or Friday next. The Agenda includes Peace Treaties, policy towards Germany, nationality of married women, atomic energy, timetable of Commonwealth and international conversations on commercial policy.

On all these matters, however, only informative [3] talks will take place.

6. No decision regarding the Peace Conference can now be made until 15th June and I propose leaving next weekend for America.

There I will discuss base questions with Byrnes and also attend the Security Council and Atomic Commission, Oliphant and Briggs acting as advisers in the latter connection.

[matter omitted]

1 i.e. the Council of Foreign Ministers.

2 See Documents 231 and 235.

3 Presumably 'informal'.