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18 Conference of Australian and New Zealand Ministers

Proceedings of the Conference CANBERRA, 17-21 January 1944



(Pacific Conference Papers, Agenda No. 1.)


Item 1 on Draft Agenda-'Definition of Objectives of Australian - New Zealand Co-operation' 1. As a preliminary, provision for fuller exchange of information regarding both the views of each Government and the facts in the possession of either bearing on matters of common interest.

2. Assurance that, so far as possible, each Government is acquainted with the mind of the other before views are expressed elsewhere.

3. Based on the above exchange of views and information, the maximum degree of unity in the presentation of views by the two Governments at London, Washington or elsewhere.

4. A more expeditious means of correlation than the present round about procedure whereby one Government frequently learns the opinions of the other via the Dominions Office.

5. Establishment of continuous means of consultation.

6. Agreement between the two Governments to act together in matters of common concern in the South and South-West Pacific Zone, e.g., control of territories, native welfare, and communications between Australia and New Zealand.

7. So far as compatible with the existence of separate military commands, to co-ordinate defence resources for the remaining period of the war.

Item No. 3 (a) on Draft Agenda-'Armistice Arrangements' 8. Agreement between the two Governments that they have vital interest in Armistice preparations and subsequent arrangements, and their interests should be protected by representation at highest level on Armistice planning and executive bodies.

9. Agreement as to the main terms which should be contained in any Armistice, including:-

(i) terms of surrender of the enemy;

(ii) postponement of actual terms of peace until hostilities are completed with all enemies and final settlement can be made;

(iii) terms of withdrawal of the enemy from all occupied areas;

(iv) provision for the interim administration of liberated and captured enemy territories.

10. Agreement as to arrangements in the post-Armistice period, including our active participation in any Armistice Commissions set up in the Pacific area. Also agreement as to the location of machinery set up under such organizations as U.N.R.R.A., e.g., the Far Eastern Relief Committee.

11. Agreement as to the setting up in Australia and New Zealand of Armistice and Post-Hostilities Planning Committees and for a joint body or other machinery to co-ordinate their work with a view to giving effect to our views in London or Washington.

12. Agreement as to the terms of communication to London.

Item No. 3 (b) on Draft Agenda-Security'

OBJECTIVES 13. The first objective is to obtain Australian - New Zealand agreement that, subject to a general system of world security, a regional South Pacific and/or South-West Pacific Zone of security shall be established. A possible starting point is Article IV. of the Moscow Four Power Declaration. The United States Government is proposing to invite forthwith the adherence of other United Nations to this Article. The United Kingdom Government, however, holds the view that a better procedure would be for a preliminary exchange of views in elaboration of the objectives of Article IV.

between the original parties to the Declaration. Canada generally supports this view. The question of the Australian - New Zealand attitude would be an appropriate matter for discussion.

14. It would be more in consonance with Australian views to urge the acceptance of the United States proposals with a view to the earliest possible association of other powers with the Moscow Declaration. This association could be followed immediately by an exchange of views between all the Governments principally concerned for the more de-tailed elaboration of a security system.

15. The Australian Government did not entirely welcome the limitation of the declaration of security to four (or three) powers only. In the Australian Government's view, it would be a step in the wrong direction if it was now agreed to confine the preliminary exchange of views among the same four powers, a process which on previous experience would probably result in the submission to Australia and New Zealand of a more or less cut-and-dried plan in which the two Governments had had either no voice at all or only a small time permitted for adherence.

16. It is regarded by the Australian Government as a matter of cardinal importance that Australia and New Zealand should both be associated in the initial stages with the elaboration of a general inter national system.

APPLICATION OF ARTICLE V. OF FOUR-POWER DECLARATION 17. Article V. of the Four-Power Declaration contemplates the association of other than the four Powers in the regional policing arrangements necessary before the institution of the security system envisaged in Article IV. It is submitted that it would be very unwise to await the implied invitation in Article V. and that it would be desirable for the two Governments to agree to establish forthwith their interest in the arrangements contemplated in Article V. and also to specify, so far as possible, the territories in which they would be prepared either (a) to assume full responsibility for policing, or (b) to share in policing. Under (a) a starting point for Australia might be New Guinea, Portuguese Timor, British Solomons; under (b) Dutch New Guinea, Dutch Timor, southern fringe of East Indies up to and including Java and the New Hebrides.

18. On Article V. itself it is suggested that a communication might be sent to London presenting the case for the assumption of initial responsibility by Australia and New Zealand for policing arrangements in the South and South-West Pacific Zone.

REGIONAL ARRANGEMENTS 19. Australian official statements have envisaged a security zone centred on Australia and stretching from the Netherlands East Indies through the arc of islands to Fiji and New Zealand. The institution of this zone could be secured by the agreement of all the Governments concerned, i.e., Netherlands, Portugal, France, United Kingdom, United States, Australia and New Zealand. It is suggested that a general conclusion might be reached under this heading in regard to (a) what territories or points should be the full defence responsibility of Australia or New Zealand, (b) in what areas responsibility should be shared with another Government and (c) in what areas (if any) responsibility should be assumed exclusively by other Governments.

20. The views of the Australian Defence Committee have been sought under the following terms of reference:-

(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 (1), including consideration of cost, man-power, industrial potential, &C.;

(4) Mutual defence problems and interests of Australia and New Zealand;

(5) Desirable forms of mutual assistance as contribution by Australia and New Zealand towards maintenance of peace and security (e.g., munitions, aircraft, staff co-operation, supply);

(6) Defence problems connected with civil air transport in South West and South Pacific Areas;

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

21. The assumptions on which the Defence Committee based its opinions and the substance of its views are contained in Annex A.


DISPOSAL OF WAR-TIME INSTALLATIONS 22. The question of the disposal of war-time installations touches the post-war use and possession of military, air and naval installations constructed wholly or partly with United States resources. It seems to be under consideration by the United Kingdom Government on the service level. It is obvious that the war-time construction of installations by the United States does not afford the slightest juridical basis for territorial claims by the United States. The only consideration suggested in the Mutual Aid Agreement was the consideration that countries receiving the benefit of lend-lease would enter into negotiations to explore the possibilities of improved economic conditions in the post war period. The subsequent establishment, by agreement, of the re ciprocal lend-lease principle further negates the argument that pooling of resources during the war has relation either juridically or as a matter of equity and fair dealing to the future possession by either country of installations or fixtures erected solely for the purpose of achieving early victory in the war.

Item No. 3 (c) of Draft Agenda-Aviation' 23. The question of post-war aviation was recently referred by the Australian Cabinet to an interdepartmental committee. The report of this Committee has now been handed to the Minister for Civil Aviation and will be submitted to Cabinet at an early meeting. [3]

24. The recommendations of the committee regarding the external aspects of civil aviation follow the general lines already laid down by the Australian Government in its various communications to the United Kingdom Government on the subject and in its instructions to its representatives at the non-committal talks on civil aviation held between the United Kingdom and Dominion representatives in London last October.

25. That policy may be summarized as follows:-

(i) (a) Civil Aviation should, so far as possible, be subject to the general principle of international collaboration.

(b) The general inclusion of all air transport services within the terms of a convention which would supersede and take over the powers of the International Convention on Aerial Navigation, with powers revised and extended not only to regulate such matters as safe flying, navigation, &c., but also to control all international air transport including air routes, air services, &c.

(c) The actual operation of certain services (i.e., main inter national routes) by an International Air Transport Authority, the system being framed to allow the devolution by the International Authority to national authorities of the management of routes either within particular regions or on particular services.

(d) The conclusion of an international agreement to create the International Air Transport Authority that is envisaged.

(ii) This statement of principle has been amplified by the declaration of certain national needs which Australia would wish to have recognized within the framework of an I international agreement. These are- (a) The right to conduct all services within her own territory or jurisdiction, subject only to agreed international requirements regarding safety and commitments in respect of the proposed international Air Authority in regard to facilities, landing and transit rights for international services, ex change of mails, &c.

(b) The right to conduct local services between Australia and neighbouring countries such as New Zealand, New Caledonia, New Hebrides, the Solomons, New Guinea and Timor under bilateral or multi-lateral agreements, subject to supervision by the international authority.

(c) The Australian production of aircraft and all raw materials used in the construction of aircraft to an extent adequate to her requirements, and the expansion of the Australian aviation industry and allied industries. It is recognized that these requirements will vary according to whether or not it is found possible, as part of the general agreement for the international control of aviation, to enter into arrangements ensuring a sufficient supply of up-to-date and suitable transport aircraft to all operating countries on reasonable terms and without discrimination on the part of the large aircraft manufacturing countries; and according to the methods of obtaining international security. The geographical situation of Australia, and the part she must play in maintaining the security of the South-West Pacific have also been stressed.

(d) The use of a fair proportion of Australian personnel, agencies and materials in operating and maintaining overseas services, especially those leading to and from Australia.

(iii) In laying down these principles, the Commonwealth Government has shown its preference for a genuine attempt to obtain international collaboration rather than to concentrate upon a plan confined to British countries.

26. The Committee elaborates this policy by setting out various considerations which, in its view, should be covered in an International Convention on Air Navigation. It also expressly proposes that any international air authority should be intimately associated with the United Nations organization for security.

27. It is submitted that, so far as civil aviation is concerned, the conference might seek the following:-

(i) An agreement on the general principles to govern post-war civil aviation (along the lines set out in paragraph 25 above).

(ii) A preliminary exchange of views between the Governments in regard to- (a) the proposals for an international conference;

(b) the proposals emanating from the British Commonwealth talks on civil aviation held in London last October;

(c) the existing position of the two Governments in regard to B.O.A.C., Qantas, Tasman Empire Airways and the war time activities of American trans-Pacific ferry services;

(d) the availability of commercial transport aircraft for services to and from the two Dominions and for their internal airlines, including the possibilities of post-war manufacture within the Australia - New Zealand region.

(iii) A reaffirmation of the understanding [4] between the two Do minions to exchange information and to consult on any civil aviation matters affecting both countries.

28. The purpose of the exchange of views proposed in paragraph 27 (ii) above would be to inform each Government of the interests and existing commitments of the other, as a basis for common policy.

Item No. 3 (d) of Draft Agenda [5] (i) 'Dependencies' WAR-TIME CHANGES IN THE PACIFIC ISLANDS 29. Exchange of information and views by representatives of Australian and New Zealand Governments on recent developments in regard to the following:-

(a) Development of bases, airfields, &C., in Pacific Islands.

(b) War-time administration in Pacific Islands.

(c) United Kingdom arrangements and plans for war-time and post war control and development of Pacific Islands.

(d) American activities in Pacific Islands.

(e) War-time collaboration in Pacific Islands between Australia, New Zealand and other Powers and the local administrations.

Effects of war on native labour, social life, standards of living, &c.

(ii) Administration between the time of recapture and the Armistice (a) Nauru 30. The Australian Government's action in regard to preparations for resumption of administration in Nauru was along the following lines:-The United States Government was informed that Australia was ready to resume administration in Nauru and the United States Government was asked to instruct the Commander-in-Chief South Pacific Area to co-operate in meeting the Australian Government's desires. [6] Attention was drawn to the importance of the earliest possible resumption of the extraction of phosphates.

(b) New Guinea and Papua 31. The constitution and functions of Australian New Guinea Administration Unit (A.N.G.A.U.) are described in Pacific Conference Paper No. 3. [7]

(c) Combined Civil Affairs Committee 32. This Committee was set up in Washington in September, 1943, as an agency of Combined Chiefs of Staff. it consists of representatives of British and American armed forces and diplomatic services. Its function is to advise Combined Chiefs of Staff on policies relating to the war-time administration of territories recovered from the enemy. On inquiry the Accredited Representative in London has informed us that this Committee's status and functions are being reconsidered. [8] Its location may be moved to London, and it may cease to be an agency of the Combined Chiefs of Staff. it is suggested that Conference might agree that joint representations be made by the two Governments to the United Kingdom and, if necessary, the United States to the effect that Australia and New Zealand would insist on direct representation on the Committee if its jurisdiction is extended to the South Pacific or South-West Pacific.

(d) Japanese Mandated Islands 33. The interim administration and post-war disposal of the Japanese Mandated islands is of the greatest importance to Australia and New Zealand. Australia was not consulted in regard to the Cairo Declaration [9], although it vitally affected the distribution of power in the Pacific. Neither Australia nor New Zealand was consulted in any way as to the Cairo discussions.

Positions of great importance were given away for no consideration and without any special regard for the interests of unrepresented countries like Australia and New Zealand. For example, in the decision to return Formosa to China, a valuable bargaining point was yielded. There have been indications of a desire on the part of the United States to claim some positions in the Pacific. In view of the danger of piecemeal arrangements, such as those made at Cairo, the Australian Government believes it to be of the utmost importance that Australia and New Zealand should not agree to any such post-war commitments except as part of a general agreement.

(e) United Kingdom Pacific Dependencies 34. It is submitted that conference might agree that an inquiry be addressed to London as to what arrangements the United Kingdom Government proposes for the interim administration of its Pacific Island territories.

35. It is submitted further that the two Governments inform the United Kingdom Government that Australia and New Zealand are prepared to make available a number of experienced officers and are prepared to institute immediately an emergency course of training for suitable qualified men.

(iii) Future of Pacific Territories (a) Welfare of Native Peoples 36. The Atlantic Charter is presumably to be applied and therefore the doctrine of 'trusteeship' already expressed in the case of the mandated territories seems applicable in broad principle to all colonial territories in the Pacific and elsewhere. The question then arises: What is the purpose of the trust? The answer seems to be: The welfare of the native people and their social, economic and political development. The advantage of this is that a Charter can be drawn for the native peoples, along such lines, for example as those set forth in Professor Elkin's [10] pamphlet, Wanted-A Charter for the Native People of the South West Pacific. (The Fourteen Points of the Charter are contained in Annex B.) [11]

(b) Territories of Western Pacific High Commission 37. It is submitted that agreement might be reached as follows:-

(1) that Australia should offer to undertake responsibility for the administration of the British Solomon Islands;

(2) that Australia should offer either (i) to undertake the British share of responsibility under the Condominium in the New Hebrides, either jointly with New Zealand or alone, or (ii) that Australia and New Zealand take up with the United Kingdom Government the question of obtaining complete control of the New Hebrides either by purchase or exchange of territory;

(3) that Australia and New Zealand inform the United Kingdom that they are prepared to agree to the institution of a United States - United Kingdom condominium in and over the islands known as the Line islands;

(4) that Australia and New Zealand will under no circumstances agree to the establishment of a condominium with United States as a party in any of the following-New Ireland, New Britain, the Solomons, New Caledonia and New Hebrides;

(5) that if the question of a condominium in any other group in the South or South-West Pacific be raised at any time Australia and New Zealand insist that they be consulted before any negotiations be entered into and that their full concurrence be obtained before any agreement is concluded.

(iv) Collaboration in Economic and Social Development 38 Studies of the economic, social and political development of the Pacific islands suggest that the future of the various colonies and the welfare of their inhabitants cannot be successfully promoted without a greater measure of collaboration between the numerous authorities concerned. Collaboration is particularly desirable in regard to health services and communications, but also desirable in matters of native education, anthropological investigation, assistance in native production and in material development generally. The satisfactory correlation of administration has an important relation to defence both positively in strengthening the material development, communications, &c., of the Islands, and negatively, in assisting to remove or reduce causes of international friction. The island administration, however, cannot make any substantial contribution to the security of the area as a whole and proposals for the co- ordination of island administration are, therefore, based on the assumption that the security of the area as a whole will be otherwise maintained.

It is submitted that the conference might agree that the Australian and New Zealand Governments should take the initiative in establishing a regional organization which might be known as the South Seas Regional Commission. This organization might comprise the following:-Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, United States, and it is suggested that its function would be- (a) Arrangements for material development, including production, finance, communications and marketing.

(b) Arrangements for co-ordination of health and medical services.

(c) Arrangements for maintenance of recognized standards of native welfare in regard to labour conditions, participation of natives in administration and social services, education, nutrition.

(d) Arrangements for collaboration in research-economic, social, anthropological.

(e) Presentation of a periodical report to an appropriate international body (e.g., the I.L.O. in labour questions).

(f) Co-ordination of such arrangements in regard to local defence as may be necessary in relation to the general security system in the Pacific area.

It is suggested that the form, purposes, functions and organization of a Regional Commission along the lines indicated in the previous paragraph might be examined by a committee and a scheme submitted at the earliest possible date.

Item No. 3 (e) of the Draft Agenda-'Migration' 39. It is possible that the policy pursued in both Dominions in regard to Asiatic immigration will be challenged after the war by Asiatic Governments. There is also reason to believe that there are elements in public opinion in Britain and the United States disposed to support the desire of Asiatic peoples for freer entry into the Pacific Dominions. The question of refugees may also present Australia and New Zealand with common problems. The countries may also need to reach under standing on their mutual interest in obtaining suitable types of European migrants.

40. It is submitted that Australian and New Zealand Governments might agree that in the peace settlement or other negotiations the two Governments will accord one another mutual support in obtaining unequivocal recognition of the principle that each Government has the right to control immigration and emigration in regard to all territories under their jurisdiction.

41. It is submitted that migration should be considered not merely from the negative but the positive aspect and that it is not too early to discuss plans for migration to Australia and New Zealand from Great Britain and other European countries.

42. Agreement might be sought that the two Governments will concert on questions relating to migration and that they will exchange full information and render one another assistance in matters concerning migration from the British Isles.

Item No. 3 (f) of the Draft Agenda-'Relations with Other Pacific Powers' [12]

Procedure for international agreement for South-West Pacific and Southern Pacific zones of security 43. The Australian Government proposes that there should be a frank exchange of views on the problems of security, post-war developments and native welfare, between properly accredited representatives of the Governments interested in the South and South-West Pacific Region, comprising Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, Netherlands, France and Portugal and that the Australian Government should take the necessary steps to summon a conference of the Governments concerned.

Item No. 4 of the Draft Agenda-'Machinery for Collaboration, including Exchange of Information' 44. It is submitted that, as the final act of the discussions at the conference, arrangements should be made for improved collaboration between the two Governments.

45. To this end it is proposed that an agreement, designed to serve the following objectives, be entered into by the two Governments- (a) joint defence, secured through continuous consultation on all defence matters; by staff collaboration, uniform training and standard equipment; and by an agreed peace-time plan under which responsibilities for munitions and supply would be shared between the two countries;

(b) collaboration in external policy on all matters affecting the peace, welfare and good government of the Pacific; this collaboration to be secured through exchange of information and frequent ministerial consultation;

(c) the development of commerce between the two countries and their industrial development, such objectives to be pursued by consultation and, in agreed cases, by joint planning;

(d) co-operation in achieving full employment in both countries and the highest standards of social security both within their borders and throughout the Pacific Islands and other territories for which they may be wholly or partly responsible. In regard to the islands and territories of the Pacific, co-operation in encouraging missionary work directed towards the improvement of the welfare of the native peoples.

46. It is suggested that any such agreement should be of such a form as to make it possible for other countries of the Pacific to adhere to it.

47. As indicated, the method to be used for achieving the objectives of the agreement will be consultation, exchange of information and in some cases, joint planning. This method could be applied in the form of- (a) conferences of Ministers of State to be held in Canberra and Wellington;

(b) conferences of departmental officers and technical experts;

(c) standing inter-governmental committees on such subjects as defence, migration, civil aviation;

(d) recognition of the special status of the two High Commissioners;

(e) procedure for regular exchange of information;

(f) exchange of officials; and (g) the development of common institutions (e.g., military staff schools, cultural and research institutions).

48. As a first step towards the achievement of 47 (g) above, the establishment of a School or Institute of Pacific Studies at Canberra has been suggested.

49. To ensure continuous collaboration along the lines of paragraph 47 and to attend to the secretarial duties involved, it is suggested that a permanent Secretariat should be established.

It is suggested that the main functions of this Secretariat would be- (a) to make arrangements, as the occasion arose, for the holding of the conference or meetings referred to above;

(b) to carry out the directions of such conferences in regard to further consultation, exchange of information or the examination of particular questions;

(c) to co-ordinate all forms of collaboration between Australia and New Zealand.

50. It is submitted that, for convenience the Secretariat should be established alternately, for a two years' period each in the respective Departments of External Affairs at Canberra and at Wellington, and that officers of the other Government should be attached to it in turn. It is considered that such an arrangement would prove more efficient than to attempt to establish a joint secretariat with a separate staff not directly responsible to any executive authority. The Secretariat would work in closest consultation with the High Commissioner resident in the capital where it was established.

51. Arrangements might be made at the conference for the holding of further talks. It is suggested that a good purpose could be served if representatives of Australia and New Zealand could meet in Wellington to discuss certain phases of the post-war economic interests of the two countries. Such a conference might cover- (a) the position of Australia and New Zealand in relation to current international discussions of economic issues;

(b) the post-war development of Australian and New Zealand trade and industry, including the future of war industries in both countries, and the possibility of joint action with regard to the development of whaling;

(c) domestic planning for the re-settlement of soldiers and munition workers, housing projects and social welfare works generally.

52. In addition to the suggestions made above, it is probable that the decisions of the conference may lead immediately to further opportunities for collaboration. For example, it may be considered desirable after a discussion of Armistice preparations and arrangements under Item 3A of the Agenda to set up something in the nature of a Post-Hostilities Planning Committee, through which the views of the two Governments regarding Armistice terms and provisional administration in co-occupied territories post Armistice period could be correlated. On Item A 'Security', it may be found desirable to provide for the joint examination of certain proposals or for the drawing up of joint plans. It is submitted that, if such ad hoc action is taken, it will strengthen the case in favour of the early creation of the permanent Secretariat proposed in paragraph 5 above as an essential part of an Australian New Zealand Agreement for Collaboration.

1 Except for the addition of items on aviation and migration, the agenda was as published in Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 346.

2 A fuller version of annexe A is published as an Enclosure to Document 6.

3 The report, dated 23 December 1943, (on file AA:A2671, 381/1943) was submitted on 21 January to War Cabinet, whence it was referred to a subcommittee of Full Cabinet, but appears thereafter to have lapsed. See also War Cabinet minute 3284, and notes of 28 March, 2 and 21 June and 24 August, on the file cited above.

4 Presumably a reference to resolutions (ii) and (iv) of the Imperial Conference 1937, E(37)34, in AA:A4640, 41.

5 i.e. item 3(c) in the draft agenda referred to in note 1.

6 See cablegram 1528 to the Legation in Washington, dispatched 23 December 1943. On file AA:A816, 14/301/257.

7 On file AA:A989, 44/735/168/3.

8 See cablegram 173 to Bruce of 27 November 1943 and Bruce's reply in cablegram 229[A] of2 December 1943. On file AA:A5954, box 603.

9 Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. VI, Document 341.

10 Professor of Anthropology, University of Sydney.

11 On file AA:A989, 43/735/168.

12 i.e. item 3(d) in the draft agenda referred to in note i.

[AA:A989, 43/735/168]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History