237 Evatt to Beasley and Hodgson

Cablegram 10 CANBERRA, 11 January 1947


Your telegram 6.

The following is the suggested line to be taken by you at the meetings of deputies on questions of procedure at these meetings.

You will note that this telegram is concerned only with the question of a satisfactory procedure for these forth-coming meetings. We shall give you early instructions (before the meetings begin) on questions of substance.


The invitation from the Secretary-General of the Council of Foreign Ministers, which was dated 31st December, 1946, reached the Australian Embassy, Washington, on 4th January, 1947, only ten days before the meetings of deputies were due to begin. Such short notice of so important a meeting is inadequate. The terms of the invitation itself are vague and uncertain. We assume that this does not indicate that the Council of Foreign Ministers contemplated that nations like Australia and others who contributed with substantial military forces to the defeat of Germany should have no real part in the determination of the German settlement because if it did, it would be resented by all such nations. It is merely the barest justice to countries which, like Australia, have made great sacrifices of men and materials that they should participate effectually in the peace-making.

Despite its vagueness and possible misgivings about the invitation, Australia deems it a duty to accept the invitation and to urge that the tasks of the meeting should be clarified to make possible real cooperation from the start between all countries entitled to join in peace-making for Germany and Austria.

Defects of the Paris Conference. It is only a few months since the Paris Conference. At Paris, in the case of Italy and the former satellites, Australia objected strongly to the refusal of the members of the Council of Foreign Ministers to afford other belligerents proper opportunities of participation in peace- making. Not only was there no provision for the views of other belligerents to be considered at an earlier stage, but at the Conference itself the fact was that no amendment of the draft treaties was regarded as open to consideration by the members of the Council unless they all agreed to its adoption. This pre- arrangement by the Council meant that the Paris Conference did not in fact consider proposals on their merits. The efforts of Australia and other countries which tried to make positive contributions towards solving the problems under discussion were gravely hampered from the start by the rigid control imposed by the Council.


The Australian Government believes that the meetings of the deputies can provide a useful basis for developing a settlement with Germany and with Austria under certain conditions. A democratic procedure must be agreed upon from the start. We believe that these meetings can provide a most useful exchange of views and thus prepare the way for a general conference. For these objects to be achieved it will be necessary- (a) that representatives for countries which shall have the opportunity to participate should be present throughout all the meetings;

(b) that all matters should be fully and freely discussed;

(c) that the deputies of the Council of Foreign Ministers should make available to the countries participating their existing documentation covering proposals for the settlement with Germany and Austria; and (d) that the deputies participate, like the other representatives, in the general discussion.

On this basis all countries which have made a substantial contribution to the defeat of Germany could take part in negotiations from the outset and there could be real cooperation between them. This meeting should be able, after discussing the views of all participants- (a) to reach conclusions as to the future procedure; and (b) to establish substantial agreement among them as to the general lines of the settlement with Germany and Austria.

A real opportunity is provided to avoid the pitfalls which unfortunately interfered with the deliberations at Paris and, in the opinion of Australia, the opportunity should be taken immediately adopting the Australian proposals.

The Australian Government requests that these proposals be considered immediately. If members of the Council of Foreign Ministers immediately agree to these proposals they will not only ensure just recognition of the achievements of other nations in war but in the long run will make possible a just and durable settlement.


You will be able to amplify the points made in this summary by reference to your experiences at Paris.

[AA : A1068, E47/15/5/2/6]