10 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram 927 WASHINGTON, 5 July 1946


1. The decision to hold Peace Conference on July 29th though belated is satisfactory. I believe that but for our efforts in pressing for a conference of belligerents-efforts sustained since August of last year-there would have been no conference at all.

Although our interests in the Pacific are primary yet they cannot be separated altogether from our interest in Europe and it is necessary to participate actively in the European Conference not only because of its importance in itself but as a means of ensuring very full participation in the conference which will deal with Japan. Moreover, questions of veto and procedure for the Japanese Conference will probably follow the precedent of the European Conference.

2. I shall finish my term of office as first Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission early in the week commencing Monday 15th.

I have worked unceasingly and driven the Commission hard in order to get the machinery fully working before I hand over to my successor. Both here and in connexion with the Security Council work I think Australia's contribution is universally recognized as being amongst the foremost.

3. It is desirable to take a decision now whether I should go to Paris for Peace Conference.

4. That depends largely upon your assessment of the position and everything must be looked at in relation to the Government position in the coming election. Success for you at the election I regard as essential in the best interest of Australia. In many ways I would feel far happier to come home. I greatly miss the comradeship of work together particularly at Canberra. However, on the whole my judgment is that as my duties compel me to stay here until probably the 18th instant for the purpose of the Atomic Commission, the Far Eastern Commission, the Security Council, and bases negotiation it would be unwise to leave here particularly at the very time when delegations are making for Paris. If so, I shall at least supervise the delegation work for the first few weeks of the Conference.

5. I think I can make a useful contribution at Paris, especially as our advisers will need supervision and co-ordination.

6. I have just received a telegram from Dunk making some suggestion as to the possible composition of the team. [1] It will be essential for me to have additional advisers as I have been entirely without the assistance of anyone fresh from Australia since Burton's return. [2] The burden has been heavy indeed.

7. I should be grateful for your views as soon as possible. [3]

1 Dunk had suggested that an adequate delegation could be assembled from posts in Europe and Canada. In a subsequent telephone conversation it was agreed that Dunk, Burton and Legge would travel from Australia. The delegation also included Hodgson, Officer, Stirling, Hood and Walker.

2 Burton had departed for Australia late in May.

3 Chifley replied that Evatt, accompanied by Beasley, should go to Paris for the conference but that Evatt should return to Australia by 28 August in time for the campaign leading to a federal election on 28 September.