409 Makin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 764 WASHINGTON, 12 June 1947, 7 p.m.


Received 13 June 1947

F.E.C. 149.

Basic Policy.

Reference your 672.

1. We have conferred informally on the text of your proposed amendment with other representatives, particularly the United States, United Kingdom, U.S.S.R. and China. The general opinion is that amendment correctly states the position but is unnecessary.

The Soviet member states quite frankly that he would not receive instructions to approve it, at least for many weeks. He personally sees no objection except that the statement might seem to detract from the force of the rest of the paper.

2. We had great difficulty in securing further postponement of vote in F.E.C. today (we did not of course propose the amendment).

Many countries feel that passage of this paper should be secured while Soviet agreement exists. They wish to have as soon as possible F.E.C. adoption of many provisions, such as prohibition of Japanese civil aviation, which United States might otherwise feel able to change unilaterally during [the occupation if no Commission policy on these subjects exists. I am convinced that any amendment proposed by us could not gain acceptance next week, and that, rather than incur further delay, majority of Commission would be prepared to pass paper over Australian protest. Indeed,] [1] if Australia is responsible for further delay, considerable ill will against us may be generated which might prejudice our position in future negotiations. Up to date in discussion of the paper we have been protected by the United Kingdom member's willingness to use his veto as a last resort in order to support our claim for a hearing, but it does not seem likely that he could continue to do this.

3. I therefore suggest for your consideration that you should not propose any amendment to this paper but allow it to be adopted unanimously at the next meeting of the Commission on 19th June. At that stage I could state the second Para of your amendment as Australian understanding in adoption of this paper. United Kingdom member would be prepared to associate himself with this statement and possibly others would also associate themselves. Soviet member, while probably not being able to make any formal statement, has assured us that he would raise no objections if this course is followed. In this way, it would appear that our positions would be preserved as far as the Peace is concerned and that no further delay and attendant ill will would be caused. [2]

1 A note here in parentheses reads 'Portion omitted. Repetition being obtained'. The words in square brackets are taken from the Washington Embassy copy.

2 FEC adopted the Basic Policy Paper on 19 June. At this meeting Plimsoll made clear that Australia adopted the paper on the understanding given in paragraph 1 (2) of Document 408 and had this statement recorded in the minutes.

[AA : A1838, 481/23]