220 Makin to Chifley

Cablegram 1418 WASHINGTON, 22 0ctober 1947, 7.02 p.m.


Further to my top secret telegram 835 of27th June, 1947, promising advances have been made in negotiations with United States Service Departments on the exchange of classified information with Australia.

2. The S.W.N.C. [1] Committee has recently approved the release of research and development information in the field of guided missiles to the extent of instrumentation and operating techniques of long range proving grounds. We have good reason to believe a wider range of information in this field will shortly be approved for release, to cover information on missiles themselves. This development is more than we had expected at this stage. Paragraph 10A of my telegram 835 refers.

3. Furthermore, with reference to paragraph 10C, we learn that United States will most probably shortly concur in our official request for authority to collaborate with United Kingdom in all guided weapon information derived from U.S.A. sources.

4. Approval has also been sought and obtained for Australian services, when desired, to publish and circulate to United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand, items of classified general intelligence obtained from United States services. This information, however, may not be released to South African, Burmese or Indian personnel, nor must the source of this information be identifiable.

5. To date, we have not been so successful in obtaining information from U.S.A. on the V.T. fuze. In reply to a request from the Department of Munitions, through the A.C.N.B. [2] and Naval Attache, Navy Department informed Naval Attache on the 24th of September that it is regretted they were unable to provide the Australian Government with the information on the production and development of the V.T. fuze requested. This was evidently in accordance with United States policy stated in paragraph 6 of my 835. Our service representatives were not satisfied with this United States attitude, and were making progress towards a better and more satisfactory understanding.

6. Following this negative response by Navy Department, efforts have been continued to change this decision in regard to V.T.

fuzes and we learn that there is good promise of favourable reconsideration in this matter following on the more favourable and promising attitude by United States in the field of guided weapon information and in which the V.T. fuze is associated.

7. We were concerned to learn last week, however, that a representative of the Australian Department of Munitions in London had made an approach for secret information on the V.T. fuze in U.S.A. through United States Diplomatic channels in London. We are informed that Navy Department has requested their Naval Attache in London to advise the Australian representative there, that the U.S.A. would not accept request from the Australian Government except by the recognised channels of approach in Washington through the accredited service representatives. My top secret telegram 836 gives the desired procedure.

8. It can not be too greatly emphasised that at this time, when negotiations though still delicate, are definitely progressing to our advantage, that requests for secret information from U.S.A.

from other than military Departments should be in accordance with my 836.

9. It would appear from the foregoing that all our overseas representatives may not yet be aware of this procedure proposed in my top secret telegram 836. Departure from this procedure may well influence the United States against us. We are of the opinion that United States State and Service Departments are anxious that requests from the Australian Government, particularly on subjects of a classified nature, should come direct from Australia.

10. United Kingdom, Canada and ourselves have experienced difficulties when civilian governmental agencies have sought classified military information from United States Government.

This is more apparent when such an Australian agency is associated with industrial research cannot be given classified service information unless it is to be used solely for military purposes.

For this reason it would appear that, in dealing on American military subjects, the word 'industrial' in any Governmental agency which may require classified military information may debar it from adequate recognition.

1 State War Navy Coordinating Committee.

2 Australian Commonwealth Naval Board.

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