558 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 1193 CANBERRA, 10 October 1947


South Pacific Commission.

Your 1342- [1]

1. Please inform United States authorities that all other governments have indicated willingness to attend meeting in Sydney. [2] United Kingdom Government specifically mentions desirability of making progress this year with plans for getting the Commission to work as soon as possible.

2.United States attitude is particularly disappointing in view of their earlier note of 15th August. [3] It should be pointed out, furthermore, that in the case of the Caribbean Commission, the successor to the Anglo-American Caribbean Commission, the former being more extensive in scope and membership and designed to facilitate progress in peace-time social and economic development in the Caribbean, the United States Government participated in its activities long before ratification. Such maters as appointment of Secretary-General, establishment of Secretariat, drawing up of the Budget, were all considered and decided upon by the Commissioners of each member government in the pre-ratification stage. Moreover, in the case of the South Pacific Commission Agreement we understood substantial progress had been made in Congress and that there was no suggestion of Congressional unwillingness to sanction participation in the Commission's activities.

3. We shall be replying formally through the United States Embassy here but in meantime desire you urgently to make our attitude known to the United States authorities stressing our hope that they will find it possible to make representatives available for the Sydney meeting. We should appreciate an early indication of their attitude in view of the shortness of time remaining before the Conference meets. Kerr is being asked to consult with you with a view to making representations on the same lines to appropriate United States representatives at the Assembly.

4. You might advise the United States authorities informally that we feel that the meeting in Sydney should consist of Commissioners Designate if possible or other suitably qualified representatives for the purpose of reaching conclusions and recommendations to member governments on such matters as appointment of Secretary- General, planning of Secretariat and Research Council structure, draft Rules of Procedure for the Commission, Budget for 1948, methods of investigation of agreed possible sites and plans for first formal meeting of Commission. It might be agreed also that certain recommendations required decisions by member governments prior to the first formal meeting of the Commission.

5. (For New York only.) Please discuss with Washington Embassy with a view to action indicated in para. 3.

1 Dispatched 3 October. It reported State Department advice that UN General Assembly work and the risk of embarrassment in anticipating a congressional decision would prevent US participation in the November meeting. It also reported informal advice that it might have been possible to consider participation if all other governments had ratified the agreement.

2 Cables from the Legations in The Hague and Paris, dispatched 29 September and 2 October respectively, advised that the Netherlands and French Governments wished to participate and would ratify the agreement. The delays were explained by the 'extremely complicated procedure' necessary in the Netherlands, and inability to establish a final French text before the French Parliament adjourned.

3 Explaining the failure of Congress to ratify the agreement before adjournment and promising, in the event that all other governments accepted it, to study means whereby the United States might participate in the Commission in the meantime.

[AA : A1838,344/5/1]