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346 Hodgson to Shedden

Memorandum CANBERRA, 9 December 1943

The proposed Conference with New Zealand has now been postponed until January as it has proved impossible to arrange mutually convenient dates in December. [1]

2. It is appreciated that there are difficulties in formulating precise views on defence matters in advance of political decisions regarding the international security structure in the Pacific. On the other hand the political decisions, involving as they must commitments in regard to the defence of particular points and areas, cannot safely be made without prior advice on defence matters, especially (a) the essential requirements of Australian security and (b) the degree to which Australia is capable of providing for these requirements.

3. The draft Agenda for the proposed Conference with New Zealand (copy enclosed with my memorandum of 23rd November [2]) indicates the general nature of the defence questions with which the Conference would be concerned.

4. The following topics are proposed, in accordance with the suggestion in paragraph (6) of your memorandum of 6th December [3], for consideration by your Department. Memoranda covering the following would be appreciated:-

1. Bases in the South-West Pacific Area which must be controlled by Australia.

2. Bases in the South and South-West Pacific Areas which must be controlled by a friendly power.

3. Extent to which Australia could maintain bases mentioned under (2) including consideration of cost, manpower, industrial potential, etc.

4. Mutual defence problems and interests of Australia and New Zealand.

Desirable forms of mutual assistance as contribution towards maintenance of peace and security between Australia and New Zealand (e.g. Munitions; Aircraft; Staff co-operation; Supply).

6. Defence problems connected with civil air transport in SouthWest and South Pacific Areas.

7. General view of a desirable international security system in the Western Pacific.

5. It is suggested, as a practical means of collaboration in the preparatory work for the Conference, that an officer of your Department might be assigned to confer at an early date with officers of the Department of External Affairs.


1 See Evatt's Note to Berendsen of 1 December. The N.Z. Govt had proposed that the conference be held from 13 to 18 December, but Evatt pointed out that this would conflict with the Australian Labor Party Conference in Sydney. On 9 December J. D. L. Hood of the External Affairs Dept prepared a letter to W. J. Garnett of the U.K. High Commission in Canberra advising him of plans for the conference, but on Evatt's instructions that 'no communication to the U.K. need be made at this stage' this letter was not dispatched. Evatt issued a public statement about the conference on 28 December and mentioned that he hoped that' . . . after it is held it will be possible to hold, also in Australia, a wider conference consisting of accredited representatives of all powers with territorial interests in the South-West Pacific'. All documents cited in this note are on file AA:A989, 43/735/168.

2 The draft agenda is published as an Attachment to this Document.

Hodgson's memorandum to Shedden of 23 November (including a copy of the draft agenda) is on file Defence: MP1217, Australian-New Zealand Conference, January 1944.

3 On the file cited in note 2. Paragraph (6) requested more definite particulars of subjects proposed for discussion.


Draft Agenda sent to New Zealand High Commissioner, 18.11.43

1. Definition of objectives of Australia-New Zealand co-operation.

-During and immediately after the war, -In relation to discussions by either Government in London or Washington.

2. Agreement on scope of co-operation.

-Armistice preparations and arrangements.

-Post-war matters (security; aviation, migration etc.). - Dependencies.

-Relations with other Pacific powers.

3. Detailed discussion of certain matters with a view to correlation of policy.

(a) Armistice arrangements-requirements of each Government and their presentation in London and Washington.

(b) Security.

(i) objectives;

(ii) application of Article 5 of Four-Power Declaration [1];

(iii) regional arrangements;

(iv) bases-types, location, responsibilities (maintenance, manning, arming and supply);

(v) disposal of wartime installations.

(c) Dependencies.

(i) wartime changes in Pacific Islands;

(ii) interim administration;

(iii) future of territories including Mandates and Western Pacific High Commission;

(iv) collaboration in economic and social development.

(d) Relations with other Pacific Powers.

(i) U.S.A. and France;

(ii) procedure for international agreement (including inter alia Netherlands and Portugal) for South-West Pacific and Southern Pacific Zones of Security.

4. Machinery required for collaboration, including exchange of information.

Statement of conclusions.

[AA:A989, 43/735/168]

1 This Article is set out in paragraph 3 of Document 287.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History