117 Evatt to Beasley

Cablegram P202 CANBERRA, 16 September 1946


Italian Colonies P.C.40 [1], 43 [2] and 44. [3]

1. South African amendment is open to following objections:-

(a) Although countries which assisted in liberation of colonies are to be consulted their views may be completely ignored or overridden by four nations; this is a disturbing position to Australia which contributed far more to victory over Italy than did either France or Russia. (b) As 'any other interested Governments' can also be consulted by Council of Foreign Ministers, there is no satisfactory recognition of special claims of countries which assisted in liberation of colonies. (c) Australia has fought throughout for recognition of democratic principle that nations which have done the fighting and contributed to victory have a clear right to make the peace settlement. If we agree to ultimate reference to United Nations Assembly as regards Italian colonies, this may create disastrous precedence to Pacific settlement. For that reason our amendment would refer matter back to conference of twentyone, if preliminary conference failed to agree.

2. I realise your difficulties and have given full weight to what you say. There is no dishonour in losing, but there may well be in yielding to pressure. Frankly I am disgusted at lack of support by Foreign Office and some Dominions; their attitude has been one of appeasement of Russia and forgetfulness of Australia's massive war effort. You should make supreme effort to get New Zealand support.

3. I would again mention question of treaty revision which would give some chance of review of unjust claims.

4. You should elaborate on Australia's war effort against Italy- also other Dominions-and if you prefer to do so, allow Hodgson to conduct matter although I would prefer that you did it.

5. It is also vital to point out that Australia will not submit to similar action in relation to Pacific settlement as our life as a nation may be affected.

1 Document 112.

2 This cablegram from Beasley reported the South African amendment described in Document 112, note 2.

3 In this cablegram, Beasley had asked for instructions, indicating the delegation's inclination to support the South African amendment.

[AA:A1066, E45/19/5]