194 Australian Government to Addison

Cablegram 78 CANBERRA, 28 March 1947


1. Reference Dominions Office cablegram No.393 [1] relative rocket range.

2.Paragraph 2. Firm proposals for the use of the whole of Salisbury factory have been received from General Evetts, and are now before the Defence Committee.

3. Paragraph 3. We agree in principle regarding the proposals for the joint body in London. We consider Australian representation should consist of a representative of the Department of Defence, a representative of the Department of Munitions, and a member of the High Commissioner's staff representing the Commonwealth Treasury.

The representative of the Department of Defence would co-opt technical staff officers representing Navy, Army and Air, as necessary. We suggest that the Joint Body would discuss all major projects, questions involving provision of large scale facilities, the programme of work for the range, and also policy and financial questions arising from these matters, and that the Australian representatives would communicate proposals arising out of these discussions to the Department of Defence through the Australian Defence Representative, London. The Defence Representative will ensure that the Australian High Commissioner is informed of all important matters which may affect Australian Government Policy.

We also agree that all major projects and questions involving provision of large scale facilities should be submitted to Governments for approval. It is suggested that any technical matters requiring joint consideration should also be dealt with by this body, and that, for the Australian part of these, the Australian representatives communicate with the Department of Munitions, whose Minister has been charged with the execution of the Long Range Weapons Project. See paragraph 6 below.

4. Paragraph 4. The Australian Government will co-operate in drawing up as quickly as possible estimate of costs which will be sufficiently comprehensive and accurate for the purpose of negotiating a basis for financial agreement. The Australian Government is prepared to authorize, as necessary, preparatory and other work for those portions of the project which have been approved and which need to be put in hand in the meantime on the understanding that the expenditure will eventually be apportioned between the two Governments on whatever basis may be ultimately agreed. Certain exploratory work is now being carried out by the Department of Works and Housing, the cost of which will be financed initially from Australian funds available this financial year which ends of 30th June. The proposal regarding authority for Evetts to agree to commitments for expenditure in Australia up to (A)500,000 subject to apportionment later is noted. Regarding expenditure in the United Kingdom, we should be glad if you would consult with the High Commissioner in London, as proposed by you in the last sentence of your paragraph.

5. Paragraph 5. Discussions have now commenced between Evetts and the Australian Guided Projectiles Committee on matters for inclusion in the agreement other than financial aspects which are being deferred pending the preparation of detailed estimates. It is noted that participation of Australian personnel in work done in the United Kingdom would be welcomed, and that the Australian Government will be given full information about this work.

Provision will be made for these points in the draft agreement.

6. As an interim measure, and until the final agreement is drawn up, agreement has been reached between the Ministers for Defence and Munitions, on the one hand, and General Evetts on the other, to the setting up of a Long Range Weapons Board of Administration under the Minister for Munitions with the immediate object of providing and administering the facilities required in accordance with the approved policy. This Board is to consist of the Controller-General of Munitions Supply as Chairman, General Evetts as Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, representatives of the Departments of Defence, Navy, Army, Air and Works and Housing, the Chief Scientific Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, British Long Range Weapons Organisation Australia, and the Assistant Secretary, Department of Munitions. Joint Secretaries are to be supplied by Munitions and British Long Range Weapons Organisation Australia. We should be glad of your concurrence in this machinery, which is already functioning provisionally and satisfactorily.

1 Volume X, Document 317.

[AA : A5954/1, 1910/2]