267 Evatt to Beasley

Cablegram 133 CANBERRA, 20 April 1947


German Settlement.

A further message has today been sent to the Dominions Office contained in my telegram No. Secdo 102 which has been repeated to you No. 132.

2. The situation is getting more and more difficult as time goes on and the usual surrender and compromise continue. Although I have not referred to it in my message to the Dominions Office I am still seriously considering my recent suggestion that, as a last resort, the British Commonwealth, or those members that desire it, should act as a unit which would in substance become the British unit at Council of Foreign Ministers level. I realise that this has disadvantages but I am seized with the fact that such a procedure would strengthen the hands of British countries and alter the situation under which countries like Australia cannot effectively influence United Kingdom policy in the Council of Foreign Ministers, nor yet be given effective power to influence final decisions on the basis of separate representation.

3. Something must be done to break this log-jam. The South African and Canadian intimations regarding a separate treaty for Austria show the logical but disquieting conclusion of the present system.

We have the same feeling for this course would be bad for the interests of the British Commonwealth and would weaken its influence as a group.

4. I rely on you to point out the seriousness with which we regard the situation and dangers to the British Commonwealth should the Dominions find it necessary to consider separate treaties. It is these circumstances which have given rise to my suggestion for British Commonwealth representation. You should not hesitate to bring this suggestion forward at a suitable time.

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