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148 Curtin to Forde

Cablegram 18 LONDON, 16 May 1944, 2.20 p.m.


Addressed to the Acting Prime Minister, Mr. Forde.

Post-war world settlement.

1. The United Kingdom Government circulated just prior to the meeting, a series of lengthy memoranda [1] prepared by the Foreign Office on the following subjects:-

A. Scope and nature of an international organisation.

B. Guarantees and the pacific settlement of disputes.

C. Security.

D. Co-ordination of economic and political international machinery.

E. Method and procedure for establishing a world organisation.

This procedure evoked some degree of protest by the Prime Ministers.

2. It was explained by the Foreign Secretary that the United States Government desire that informal discussions of an exploratory and noncommittal character on the official level should take place in Washington next month between representatives of the United Kingdom, the United States and Russia. He added that latest information from he United Kingdom Ambassador in Washington and from Mr. Stettinius during his recent visit to London was that Mr. Hull now felt that if agreement could be reached on general ideas about post-war organisation and if, in the course of late autumn, an announcement of a provisional character could in consequence be made, there was little chance of the Republicans going back on any such declaration and that there would be a better chance of getting United States opinion behind it.

3. In the documents submitted to the Conference, the following passage on procedure occurs:-Before memoranda 'A' to 'E' are given to the United States and Soviet Governments we should like to feel sure that other British Commonwealth Governments agree that these papers are on right lines as a basis for preliminary and informal discussions, which, it is hoped, will take place at Washington at the end of May or early in June. It is suggested in memorandum 'E' that the aim of Washington talks should be to reach a measure of agreement which could find expression in a draft declaration to be referred to Governments and subsequently published. it is contemplated that the progress made in Washington talks would be the subject of further consultation between British Commonwealth Governments before any such declaration were published.

4. The objective referred to in paragraph 2 is a very important consideration in view of previous failure to secure the adhesion of the United States to the League of Nations. Without their support, a world organisation would be impotent and we should go to extreme lengths to secure it. I therefore stated that I was agreeable to the discussions proceeding on the basis outlined by the Foreign Secretary and the use of the documents in accordance with the conditions mentioned by him.

5. I drew attention to the question of procedure for consultations with the Dominions on this matter as dealt with in our cablegram No. 66 of 14th March [2] and other communications.

6. I said that it was intended to transmit the Foreign Office memoranda to the Australian Government for its consideration and remarks.

It was hoped that these would be available before the discussions in Washington. It was desired that the results of the Washington talks be communicated to the Australian Government for their consideration in order that the High Commissioner may be suitably instructed in regard to the further consultations between members of the British Commonwealth.

7. My own further remarks were broadly confined to the views expressed in my speech of 14th December, 1943. [3]

8. Canada adopted a similar attitude and submitted some comments on the Foreign Office memoranda which you will find interesting.

9. The Foreign Office memoranda are being forwarded by the High Commissioner by airmail and he will arrange for a summary to be cabled if you so desire.


1 On file AA:A816, 146/301/1, i.

2 Document 77.

3 See Document 57, note 2.

[AA:A5954, BOX 662]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History