537 Hankinson to Burton

Letter CANBERRA, 9 September 1947


You will remember that when the Minister of State [1] was in Canberra he discussed with Dr. Evatt the best manner in which we could secure the association of the Australian Government with the proceedings of the forthcoming talks on Korea.

We now learn that in the reply sent by the United Kingdom Government to the United States Ambassador in London a passage has been included on the following lines:-

The United Kingdom Government will be pleased to designate the United Kingdom Ambassador in Washington or his authorised deputy to participate in the proposed Four Power conversations in Washington beginning on the 8th September. The United States Ambassador is asked to remind the United States Government in this connection of the special interest of the Australian Government in the future of Korea. His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have undertaken to nominate Australia in their place as the Fourth Power on the trusteeship body envisaged in the Moscow statement on Korea (an intention which we communicated to Mr.

Byrnes and Mr. Molotov at the Conference). In the view of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, it is therefore most desirable that the Government of Australia should be kept fully informed of all developments regarding the future of Korea and be associated closely with the proposed discussions from the outset.

His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom would accordingly propose that the United Kingdom Ambassador should be accompanied, at the discussions in Washington now suggested, by the Australian Ambassador, or other Australian representative, and they trust that this arrangement will be acceptable. Meantime the United Kingdom Government are conveying to the Australian Government the substance of the detailed United States proposals regarding Korea which form the enclosure in Mr. Marshall's letter to Mr. Molotov.

You will remember further that it was agreed between Mr. McNeil and Dr. Evatt that it should be understood that the Australian Ambassador would not intervene in the discussions except by consent, which we hoped would be forthcoming without difficulty.

While, however, Dr. Evatt agreed that Australia would have no automatic rights of intervention in this conference, he expressed the hope that this would not be formally stated to the United States Government in our reply. You will see from the above text that this line has been adopted. It is, however, contemplated that an explanation on the lines discussed with Dr. Evatt would be given orally should the United States authorities enquire about the status, under our proposals, of the Australian Ambassador in the discussions.

No information is yet available as to the attitude of the U.S.S.R.

and China towards the United States invitation.

1 Hector McNeil was in Canberra as a member of the UK delegation to the British Commonwealth Conference on the Japanese Peace Settlement 26 August - 2 September.

[AA : A1838, 3127/10/1, i]