251 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 60 LONDON, 18 February 1947,1.30 p.m.


1. Saw Murphy on Saturday and expressed our concern at the trend of the deputies' talks on procedure and, in particular, the attitude being adopted by his Government on question of a final conference.

2.Murphy said he thought the form of the prior consultation before any such conference between interested parties was the first important step. In his opinion the Russians are endeavouring to restrict real consultation to the 12 countries which were occupied and among whom would be the satellites, thus giving them greater strength. They would confine the other Allies, including Australia, to submitting their views orally or in writing similar to present deputies' meeting. As for a final conference, he felt that Soviet would support a meeting similar to Paris and equally restricted.

3. Murphy said he regarded this as unsatisfactory but it would be premature to decide on final conference before definite decisions had been reached on form of consultation during preparatory stages leading up to it. He confirmed the opinion expressed in telegram D.156 that present trend is to divide the Allied countries into those which were occupied by the enemy and those which were not occupied but supplied armed forces.

4. You will see, therefore, that so called modification of the Soviet attitude was really a manoeuvre to divide the Allies and strengthen the position of their satellites. These tactics, if successful, would save or lessen the Russians from exposure which they underwent at Paris. On the other hand we will be further shut out, if that is possible, than we were at Paris and it may well be that if the present tendency continues the Soviet will be in a position from which they can abandon the conference or make it such a perfunctory show that no one can decently take part in it.

5. I told Murphy we were emphatic on full consultation all along the line, to which he replied that if this could be effected then the final conference would be less important. This, I gather, was the added reason for the United States going slow on declarations about the final conference. I pointed out that apart from our interest in Europe we had our minds particularly on the Japanese settlement and precedents being made now would probably affect procedure for Japan. With a view to influencing his approach to present situation I referred to United States agreement to Australia taking full part in Japanese settlement. Murphy seemed unaware of his Government's undertaking to us regarding Japan.

6. Although in the course of an exchange of views on questions of mutual interest in Germany and the Pacific Murphy gave the impression that he supported the view that justice be given in regard to Australia's claims, I am inclined to share your apprehension about United States intentions. The longer the question of our effective participation in a final conference as well as prior consultations is deferred the poorer will be our prospects.

7. On the interim agreement he took a similar line to Strang, namely that the deputies had not been briefed either to rule in or rule out the proposal at this stage.

8. It is clear that much depends on the Moscow talks next month and in my view, greatest pressure on British representative to adopt uncompromising attitude to Soviet proposals is called for on our part. Frankly, the Russians do not want you or Australia to do more in regard to the preparation of these treaties than was adopted by Foreign Ministers for the deputies' meetings now taking place in London and so, if I may suggest, when Parliament meets you should be as outspoken as you possibly can in demanding Australia's rights in these deliberations from beginning to end.

9. The Soviet have included Albania as one of occupied countries.

United States opposed on the grounds they do not recognise the Albanian Government. According to Murphy, United Kingdom, after some hesitation, supported the United States but the French supported the Russians. You can easily see, therefore, that the Russians are attempting to strengthen their position by adding on the one side and excluding on the other.

10. After 45 minutes with Murphy we parted on the note that I should call and see him again. Following this interview I called upon the Canadian High Commissioner for the purpose of obtaining his support in protesting about the trend of this procedure when we meet Addison this week. Messages shown me from Ottawa following Forde's interventions indicate that Canadian Government were also marking time on the form of final conference. [1] Robertson was emphatic that the grouping of Allied Powers was totally unacceptable and agreed to back the strongest protest on this matter. I could not take him any further although he said that Ottawa was studying the whole problem in the light of latest trend and that he expected further messages. He promised to see me again. Meeting with Addison postponed until Friday. Present crisis over coal upsetting almost everything in this country.

1 In cablegram 62 of 14 February, Evatt instructed F.M.Forde, High Commissioner in Canada, to seek Canadian support for Australian effects to have US policy changed, especially with respect to a conference of Allied belligerents. in a cabled response of the same date, L.S. St. Laurent, Canadian Minister of External Affairs, damned Soviet proposals and seemed to approve US, UK and French attitudes, but he stressed that Canadian views were still being formulated.

[AA : A1068, E47/15/5/2/11]