1. It is apparent from Bruce's telegram 60A of 26th April  that
questions of major importance which did not appear on agenda for
conference will be decided in the course of discussions on agenda
topics. Agreement for instance on any of the suggestions for
disposal of the Italian colonial empire set out in telegram must
entail conclusions on post-war colonial policy in general.
Telegram D.335  conveying the suggested agenda gave no warning
that this would be raised. It appears furthermore from the general
tenor of the memorandum that you will now be expected to express
Australia's views on all principal questions connected with the
peace settlement. It was the understanding before you left
Australia that the conference was to be a personal one and that
final conclusions would not be reached. In consequence the
documentation prepared for your delegation was strictly factual
and contained no discussion on policy.
2. We find great difficulty in commenting on an isolated subject
until we have a broad picture of the proposals in mind for post-
war security and new international order. On the particular
question raised we are in doubt on certain fundamentals, e.g.,
whether the view is that (a) Italy should be severely punished, or
(b) again built up to enable it to play a decisive role in
European affairs, or (c) established in an intermediary position,
freed from Fascism and with its energies directed to the social
progress of its own people. Proposals set out are for most part
unobjectionable, although we consider that it is unrealistic to
deprive Italy forcibly of its colonies and then expect it to take
part honestly and contentedly in their supervision by an
international agency (Paragraph 9 (3) and final paragraph of Part
C), while no change is made in regard to colonies of other Powers.
3. As two major questions of colonial policy and post-war security
have not yet been considered it is unwise to comment on those
aspects of items which enter into this issue. We feel that these
should not be decided piece-meal in relation to particular topics.
4. With regard to colonial policy, for instance, the present
Australian Government has consistently held the view that there
should be general agreement to bring all colonial territories
under the supervision of an international agency. This body should
discuss and review the administration of colonies, and its powers
should be comparable to those of the Permanent Mandates Commission
but extending to all colonial territories. The proposed Advisory
Regional Commissions would be concerned with arrangements for
practical collaboration in their particular regions, and their
activities, like those of the individual colonial administrations
would be subject to supervision by the General Commission, to
which they would report.
5. The United Kingdom Government has been willing hitherto to
accept only the principle of regional consultative committees.
Telegram 60A, however, seems to suggest (paragraph 10 (3) and Part
B (1) and the final paragraph of Part C) that it is now thinking
in terms of overall international supervision in the case of ex-
6. It also appears (Part A, paragraph 2) that if British
Somaliland is merged with Italian Somaliland this principle of
international supervision might be extended even to what is now a
British colony. It is possible that the United Kingdom has now
reconsidered its attitude in this matter and we would like
urgently to have further information on this.
7. These questions are so vital that I suggest for your
consideration that we should make every effort to avoid committing
ourselves now and endeavour instead to obtain agreement for their
consideration by a further conference in three months' time, when
we have had opportunity to study them adequately.
8. Meanwhile, I would like to see all memoranda on agenda items at
earliest opportunity to enable me to comment as necessary, and
also have reports as to the nature and course of discussions.
9. You have no supporting Ministers but even now so long as
documents are forwarded to me immediately I shall be placed in a
position where I can be of assistance to you.