35 Chifley to Attlee

Cablegram 283 CANBERRA, 25 July 1946


1. I refer to the discussion at the tenth Meeting of Prime Ministers on 2nd May, relative to the disposal of the Polish Armed forces under British Command. [1] As promised at the meeting, I have had this matter examined, though you will recall I said during the discussion that I was not very hopeful there was anything the Australian Government could do to help.

2. Even if arrangements could be made for the reception and accommodation of a substantial number of Poles, which would present great difficulties at present, the problem of transport would have to be overcome.

3. During the next twelve months or longer, all the shipping likely to be available for transport of passengers from the United Kingdom to Australia will be required for the repatriation of Australians who have been held up in the United Kingdom during the war, for the wives and fiancees of Australian servicemen, wives and dependants of British servicemen discharged in Australia and for British migrants who it is desired to introduce as soon as practicable.

4. I regret, therefore, that it is not possible at present for Australia to render any significant help to the United Kingdom Government in the solution of this problem.

1 At this meeting, U.K. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Hector McNeil, had asked Dominion governments for assistance in resettling Polish servicemen and civilians reluctant to return to Poland.

[AA:A1067, E46/25/3]