181 Chifley to Fraser

Letter CANBERRA, 2 September 1947

SECRET

CO-OPERATION IN BRITISH COMMONWEALTH DEFENCE

I would refer to our discussion on 1st September [1] relating to Machinery for Co-operation in British Commonwealth Defence.

2. I am writing to confirm the views expressed on that occasion, which I think fully safeguard the position of the New Zealand Government in participating in the Australian machinery 'on the basis of equality' and with 'an effective voice and vote' as mentioned in your letter of 14th July.

3. In paragraphs 4 and 5 of my letter of 13th August, it was pointed out that cooperation 'on the basis of equality' was specifically provided for in the conclusions of the Prime Ministers' Conference and in the Australian Memorandum.

4. In paragraph 9 of my letter, it was made clear that the Australian Government's proposal for liaison between the countries on the Government and official levels by mutual representation on each other's machinery retained to each Government sovereign control of its own policy and administrative machinery on a basis of equality.

5. To make the situation absolutely clear, it is suggested, as mentioned in our discussion, that if you embodied something on the following lines in your reply, it should fully safeguard the principles about which you are concerned:-

'New Zealand participation in the Australian Machinery is subject to the principle expressed in the Australian Memorandum that the sovereign control of its Policy is retained by the New Zealand Government, that the assent of its Representative is required at whatever level a matter is considered and that, without the expressed assent of its Representative, the view of the other Representatives cannot bind the New Zealand Government on any matter affecting a commitment on its part, or the control or use of its forces and resources.'

6. As the United Kingdom Government has accepted the Australian proposals relating to machinery for co-operation, it was also pointed out in our talk that the New Zealand idea for a purely joint Australian - New Zealand body would not give New Zealand a round table contact with Australia and the United Kingdom as would be the case with the use of the Australian machinery. Furthermore, the latter will give the New Zealand Representative access to a much wider range of contacts and information than a purely Australian - New Zealand body where only matters relating to New Zealand commitments or the use of its resources are considered.

7. Reciprocally, the same provisions and principles will apply to the Australian Representative on the New Zealand Defence Machinery.

1 Fraser was in Canberra to attend the British Commonwealth Conference on the Japanese Peace Settlement.

[AA : A5954/1, 1850/1]