187 Fraser to Chifley

Letter WELLINGTON, 20 October 1947


Thank you for your letter of 2nd September in which you refer to our discussions on the preceding day in Canberra on the subject of co-operation between our two Governments in British Commonwealth defence.

I am glad to have your assurance that the co-operation between our two Governments in defence will be on the basis of equality, and with an effective voice and vote as mentioned in my letter to you of 14 July- I wish to confirm also that New Zealand participation in the Australian machinery is subject to the principle expressed in your own memorandum that the sovereign control of our policy is retained by the New Zealand Government, that the assent of our representative is required on whatever level a matter is considered and that, without the expressed assent of our 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.

The arrangements for co-operation in defence between our two Governments will, I hope, prove fully satisfactory. They will, of course, depend in a large measure upon the will of the officers of our respective Governments to work together in pursuit of our common object. We shall do our best to ensure that this spirit prompts the work of our representative in Australia and assume that opportunity will be afforded him of working at all stages of the defence machinery which your Government has approved. If this close understanding exists at all levels of the preparation of plans, particularly in respect of joint defence undertakings, then I feel sure that we should have few, if any, difficulties. I will take steps to see from our point of view that the work of our representatives is kept constantly under review, and if at any time I felt that there was any improvement which appeared desirable then I should certainly let you know.

I would be very happy to arrange for a New Zealand Joint Service Representative to be accredited to the Department of Defence in Australia, and it is proposed, if you agree, that Colonel Duff, who is the New Zealand Chiefs of Staff Representative on the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Australia, should be accepted for this purpose.

I shall welcome the appointment of a Joint Service Representative of Australia in New Zealand, and you may be assured that our Defence authorities will look to work with him on the basis of the fullest co-operation.

So far as J.C.O.S.A. is concerned, I agree, in the circumstances, that it should be dissolved. Control and administration of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force would for the future be effected in accordance with the principles stated in the second paragraph of this letter.

[AA: A59541, 856/5]