219 Makin to Chifley

Cablegram 835 WASHINGTON, 27 June 1947, 7.18 p.m.


My telegram 400.

1. Recently a meeting was called by the State Department at which Political and Service Representatives were requested to attend.

The following were present at the Meeting

Mr. Alfred Stirling, Minister General J. A. Chapman, Head of Military Mission Captain S.H.K. Spurgeon, Naval Attache (Group Captain M.O. Watson, Air Attache, was absent sick) United States-Mr Arthur Richards, British Commonwealth Division Mr Robert Margrave, Military Liaison Officer and Officer responsible for Munition questions at State Department.

2. Although Richards had been unable to give any details of the discussions, he had mentioned over the telephone that it concerned the policy of the release of United States Military or Defence information to Australia. The Service Representatives were aware that the United States had been developing a New Policy since December last, and in view of delicate negotiations that had already been in progress, a Meeting of the Australian Representatives was held in the Chancery prior to going on to the State Department.

3. At the State Department Meeting, Margrave read or paraphrased a document which he stated was 'to be communicated personally and orally to Representatives of the Australian Embassy'. The document was both lengthy and technical and when the Australian Representatives requested a copy, they were told this could not be given them. However, they were informed that they could make notes.

4. The briefing opened with a definition on the extent of classified Military information which was to be supplied on request, and the conditions under which it would be made available to Australia.

5. The United States Service Authorities were only permitted 'on their own', to supply up to and including secret intelligence and technical information requested by an Accredited Australian Service Representative in Washington. In addition, the United States services were authorised to release only top secret information which, on the advice of S.C.A.P. [1], was considered relevant to the occupation forces in Japan. However, if requests were received for other top secret information, the United States services were not authorised to furnish this, and were to refer the request to an inter-Departmental Committee of the State, War and Navy Departments, for final decision. Approval for the release of such information would only be made for very good reasons.

6. The New Policy, Margrave continued, excluded the release of information to Australia which came under the category of United States Research and Development but did not necessarily deny United States information on projects which were defined as 'combined research and development.' 7. Research and Development, he said, 'ceases with the creation of an item which- (a) meets the Military characteristic established by the using force, (b) is adaptable to production, (c) has passed the tests of the services, (d) is adopted in accordance with the various Service regulations.' 8. He went on to say that United States classified information would be furnished with the understanding that- (A) it will not be released to another nation without the specific approval of United States authority. For the purpose of this directive the Member Nations of the British Commonwealth were to be regarded as separate Governments 'for this as for many other purposes'.

(B) It will not be exploited for production for other than Governmental military purposes.

(C) The information will be afforded substantially the same degree of security as is afforded it in United States.

(D) Patent and Copy Rights must at all times be preserved.

9. Following this briefing, both United States Representatives stressed that the new policy was not to be assumed as 'restrictive' but aimed at an 'opening up'.

10. The following points still require clarification and are still under action.

(A) The definition of combined research and development is not clear (Paragraph 6). It was not understood whether 'combined research and development' was meant to include only those projects in which United States and Australia were engaged or whether it would cover projects in which United States, United Kingdom and Australia were involved. While we have not got full particulars, we know that both the United States and Australian Members are invited to 'sit in' on certain meetings in London. We also know that United Kingdom and United States where [2] research and development in guided missiles here. The guided missile range in Australia, however, is one in which the United Kingdom and Australia are engaged but in which United States has shown no desire to participate at present. It would be to the advantage of Australian Service Representatives here, in clarifying the definition on combined research and development, if they might be kept informed of all Australian research and development of a Military nature.

Advice to this effect would be appreciated.

(B) Referring to Paragraph 8(A) Australia has been given responsibility towards the British Commonwealth for collection, analysis and dissemination of all general intelligence in the Far East. It is quite certain that United States would not wish to interfere with this British Commonwealth Plan, should some intelligence received from United States source be included in Australia's analysis. This however, still requires clarification.

(C) Australian Service Staffs in Washington, because of their limited size, were still dependent on United Kingdom Service Staffs, to a large extent, for knowledge of classified intelligence available and of its value to them. They must have collaboration, in general terms, with United Kingdom Services in order to know what to ask United States services for. We are now engaged in clarifying this aspect.

(D)With reference to conditions of release mentioned in Paragraph 8(B), C.S.I.R. [3] and Munitions Laboratories in Australia performed both Military and Civil Research, and it was often, from the Australian point of view, well nigh impossible to determine where the borderline occurred.

11. At the Meeting, the general nature of response to these questions, by both Richards and Margrave, was that they both seemed optimistic as to the value of informal ad hoc approaches to United States in overcoming difficulties or problems such as the foregoing. However, such adjustments can only be made if the interpretation of the oral directive by United States, United Kingdom and Australia is similar. Much depends upon the individual interpretation in each service. Clarification on the foregoing points is now being sought by discreet consultations with United Kingdom Service Chiefs, before a further approach is made to the State Department.

12. Our impression is that there is definitely no intention, by United States, of driving a wedge between members of the British Commonwealth. Since the end of the war, State Department has been seeking a policy which gives individual conditions for the release of United States Military information to different Governments with whom they had freer relationships when they were Allies. This includes European, South American and Far Eastern Nations as well as those of the British Commonwealth. It is assumed, therefore, that, at the present time, it is expedient for the State Department not to recognise, officially, that the British Commonwealth needs special privileges in this overall political plan. This situation is coupled with lack of understanding in some United States quarters of the British Commonwealth set-up which we are endeavouring to overcome.

13. This is the first occasion we have received any official notification of the new policy from United States sources.

Instances have already occurred where, on a service level, United States officers are ready to offer special consideration to Australia and United Kingdom, but they desire, above all, to avoid putting pen to paper. Certain difficulties are envisaged where United Kingdom Service Authorities, in trying to 'play cricket' with the United States, feel they may not, at present, consult with Australian Service Representatives to the extent they desire.

They fear they may jeopardize their own source of information and gain nothing by such recourse. Australian Service Representatives here fully appreciate this attitude and are anxious to exercise patience and caution, feeling confident that the difficulties will be overcome. It is not possible for us to assist the United Kingdom in furthering British Commonwealth interests which, to date, United Kingdom has been obliged, by her own briefing from United States, to conduct alone.

14. Service Representatives here would appreciate this and the immediately following telegram [4] being passed to Service Chiefs in Australia at earliest.

1 Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, i.e. General Douglas MacArthur.

2 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

3 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

4 Cablegram 836 suggested that all requests for classified information and permission for official visits to establishments with security control should be sponsored by the relevant Australian Service Department.

[AA : A1068 T4, DL47/1/10]