306 Fraser to Australian Government

Cablegram 83 WELLINGTON, 16 April 1947, 6 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegram 108, our comments on your draft are as follow:-

(i) We are not happy about the wording of the second sentence and would suggest the following alternative 'we have already made this suggestion to the New Zealand Government who have agreed that it would be useful to have a Commonwealth meeting in order to secure some agreement upon procedure and perhaps the general line of the settlement before the question is raised formally with the United States Government'.

As we explained in our telegram No.77, we are as yet unprepared for a conference on matters of substance and may not therefore be able to contribute substantially to any such discussions.

Moreover our message could not be interpreted as containing agreement to the conclusion of British Commonwealth talks prior to discussions in F.E.C. As you are aware out representative in Washington has already had informal discussions with British Commonwealth members on question of raising procedural discussions in F.E.C. but we are willing not to proceed with our earlier proposal if British Commonwealth talks are to be held. We should not, however, be quoted as having bound ourselves to take no part in any talks in F.E.C. This might be implied from the present wording of your draft.

Your paragraph(2)we do not share your interpretation of D.376 (367) [1] but we are of course unacquainted with the discussions which apparently took place between Mr. Bevin and your Charge d'Affaires.

Your paragraph 3. If British Commonwealth discussions to be on a Ministerial plane we see little prospect of taking part in London and would for that reason find a meeting in Canberra much more convenient. [2]

1 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

2 An amended cablegram was sent to Addison on 17 April. Paragraph 1 of the draft was altered in accordance with the suggestion in (1), and Paragraph 2 was omitted. To the invitation in Paragraph 3 the phrase 'for informal meetings' was added, and the last sentence of that paragraph was stiffened to read; 'We think that there are very great and tangible advantages in Pacific meeting place. New Zealand we understand would certainly support this view and we hope U.K. and other members of British Commonwealth would also.'

[AA : A1838, 481/1]