174 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 1481 CANBERRA, 23 October 1946

SECRET MOST IMMEDIATE

Your FEC 258 [1] and 261. [2]

Minister desires you make a general protest against inordinate delay in F.E.C. in the vital matter of basic policy. It was June last [3] when the Minister endeavoured to have a basic policy document considered.

2. You should protest at the unnecessary hurry in putting forward the reparations proposal.

3. F.E.C. should be asked to give a decision on FEC 081 and it will be time enough then for Governments to consider position if there is no agreement. It may be eventually that Reparations Conference itself should decide all matters including external assets. In these circumstances we do not favour suggestion of interim reparation deliveries prior to determination of Conference of countries to receive shares and their proportion.

4. Provisional lists of items which Australia may desire to obtain as reparations were forwarded to you with Chancery letter 356 of 17th October. This material should arrive this weekend. We are preparing additional background information including statistics of the Australian war effort and of casualties etc. as a basis for Australian claims. We are hoping to be able to let you have this in the near future. If there is any particular matter on which it would be helpful to have information from here we should be glad to have details.

1 Dispatched 17 October, this cablegram reported McCoy's statement to Makin that, in the event of the Soviet Union's refusing to accept a conference on reparations within the F.E.C., the United States intended to propose at the F.E.C. meeting on 24 October that a conference be called outside the F.E.C. to which all F.E.C.

members would be invited.

2 Dispatched 19 October, this cablegram marshalled arguments in favour of Australia's case for asking that the subject of reparations be delayed because of lack of information about talks between the United States and the Soviet Union.

3 See Volume IX, Document 256.

[AA:A1067, ER46/13/2/3]