256 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 71 LONDON, 28 February 1947, 8.26 p.m.


Procedure for German Settlement.

1. At a meeting with Addison, Machtig [1] and Strang this afternoon after repeating our rejection of revised United Kingdom proposals regarding consultation I conveyed at length on personal level, views contained in your 56.

2. Immediate reaction was not encouraging. Addison said that while for his part, he would like closest possible association with Dominions he thought the suggestion that the unit to be represented on the Council of Foreign Ministers should be the British Commonwealth of Nations was quite unattainable.

(a) In so far as our proposals represented a substantial difference in approach to the question of procedure for German settlement, time was too short for them to be thoroughly considered before Bevin left for Moscow on Tuesday.

(b) In so far as they implied fundamental change in Commonwealth relationships they would require careful and long term consideration and acceptance by all Dominion Governments. The attitude of Canada towards any closer definition of Commonwealth relationships was already known. Acceptance by South Africa would be doubtful.

(c) British Representatives at the Moscow Meetings would do their utmost to secure effective representation of Dominions on committees and subcommittees. They would not give way on that principle. Addison thought inconceivable your suggestion that British Dominions could well be excluded altogether under a formula 'A convenient number of representatives'.

(d) The question of a 'consolidated' representation by which one Commonwealth representative on a sub-committee might express views of other non represented Commonwealth members might be further explored.

(e) United Kingdom would resist strongly any suggestion that procedure for German settlement be followed in connection with treaty with Japan.

(f) Addison intimated that our proposals might take on a different aspect should there be a complete impasse at Moscow.

3. Both Bevin at meeting on Wednesday and Strang and Robertson at Thursday's meeting expressed doubts whether there would ever be a final Peace Conference in the accepted sense and thought that much of the detailed discussion regarding procedure might be somewhat unreal. It was felt that if the controversy re procedure dragged on there might be strong pressure at Moscow to widen scope of present control arrangements for Germany so as to allow of important administrative decisions which would tend to harden into a definitive settlement. I took opportunity yesterday and this afternoon to reaffirm our views on an interim agreement and suggested that our latest proposals were not by any means inconsistent with this.

4. In spite of immediate reactions conveyed above I feel your determination to see Australia play a primary role in connection with the German settlement has strongly impressed the United Kingdom and will result in stiffening considerably their attitude at Moscow.

1 Sir Eric Machtig, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs.

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