375 Department of External Affairs to Legation of China

Note CANBERRA, 25 November 1947

The Department of External Affairs presents its compliments to the Legation of China and has the honour to state that the Australian Government understands that the Government of China has recently addressed identical Notes to the Governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and the U.S.S.R. containing proposals for the calling of a Preliminary Peace Conference on Japan.

The Australian Government understands that the proposals in question envisage (a) a Preliminary Conference composed of all States members of the Far Eastern Commission, to be convened at an early date to be agreed upon by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China, to draft the Japanese Peace Treaty and to make decisions regarding the calling of the final Peace Conference;

(b) all decisions of the Preliminary Conference to be taken by a majority of the States represented, including the concurring votes of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and China.

The Australian Government takes occasion to make clear to the Government of China its view that the system of voting employed in the Far Eastern Commission is inappropriate to the proposed Preliminary Conference, since it does not take account of the status of Australia as one of the principal belligerents in the war in the Pacific. Because of its major contribution towards the achievement of victory in the Pacific, Australia is clearly entitled to be regarded as a party principal in all matters relating to the Peace Settlement with Japan.

In seeking representation at the Japanese Peace Conference on a basis of full equality with any other State represented, the Australian Government is guided not only by its rights to full and equal representation but also by its desire to offer the fullest co-operation in reaching a settlement acceptable to all parties and to contribute to the economic recovery of China and other war devastated countries in eastern and south-eastern Asia. The Government of China will be aware that the Australian Government, as an earnest of this desire, has recently made an offer to return the major portion of its share of reparations from Japan to a pool for distribution among other claimant countries.

[AA : A1068, P47/10/61, v]