397 Chifley to Dedman

Cablegram H12, CANBERRA, 12 January 1948


Reference your W26. While a compromise along the lines suggested in your telegram would make a useful advance on the hitherto negative attitude of the United States, I would hope for a rather more positive contribution to the alleviation of the political embarrassment I envisage from the existing text. Careful reading of your telegram, particularly the reference to American sensitivity to demands from other countries, together with my own assessment of Clayton's bargaining position, leads me to think that a fairly stiff attitude might produce something better.

I would not wish, however, to carry firmness to the point where we lost even what is suggested in your compromise. I must therefore leave it to you to pursue the negotiations along these general lines, using your own discretion as to how far Clayton can be pushed. I would, however, like to be kept informed as promptly as possible of Clayton's reactions to your tactics.

If a compromise is finally agreed upon I should very much prefer it to take the form of an amendment to the actual text of the Charter rather than an official interpretation. The latter would not be nearly as effective politically as words actually included in the text of the Charter.

With reference to the summary of your statement during the debate[1] I think it would be very undesirable from a political point of view to give the matter any publicity at this stage. I have accordingly asked Brown to withhold the matter from the press for the time being.

With regard to Article 21(2)(B), although this is not open to the same political embarrassment, I feel it is important to clarify the present draft along the lines proposed in our telegram H.1. In accepting any necessary compromise on Article 24(2) you should endeavour, if your negotiating position permits, to obtain in return support for a satisfactory amendment to Article 21(2)(B).

[1] See Document 395.

[AA : A1068, ER47/1/34]