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246 Commonwealth Government to Bruce

Cablegram 103 [1] CANBERRA, 3 August 1944


Reference Dominions Office telegram 151. [2] Before receipt of this telegram we had had for some time under consideration the general question of Civil Affairs arrangements for Pacific theatres and had been in consultation with the New Zealand Government.

2. We have concluded that it is desirable that a Committee on the analogy of the London C.C.A.C. [3] should be set up in Australia as an agency of Washington C.C.A.C. to consider Civil Affairs policies and their application in territories within the areas of South East Asia and South West Pacific Commands.

3. A consideration of first importance is that decisions on the administration of enemy and enemy-occupied Pacific territories immediately after Allied occupation, will have far-reaching consequences, affecting the future of the region in which we have a most vital interest, and it is therefore important that we should be aware at first hand of developments in these territories and should participate in decisions.

4. Present organisation does not provide for participation of other interested Governments. Formative period of restoration of administration in N.E.I. is very important to Netherlands Government and only less so to us.

5. In general the proposed Committee would be a means of co- ordinating the control of territories in this region during the interim period between recovery and armistice and would help to avoid developments which might prejudice the final settlement.

6. It is laid down in Charter [4] of C.C.A.C. that administration should be delegated to civilian agencies as military situation permits, and that Combined Chiefs of Staff will determine time and extent of delegation on recommendation of area commander. For advice on such recommendations in regard to European theatres Combined Chiefs have in London C.C.A.C. a body in close contact with Civil Affairs problems in the field, but there is no comparable body for Pacific theatres. Position is of course the same in regard to all other practical Civil Affairs problems.

7. In the absence of a Pacific agency of C.C.A.C. we would anticipate serious delays and confusion due to lack of both co- ordination and local knowledge.

8. Relief arrangements will require correlation with administration from moment of recovery in every district.

Satisfactory organisation of civil affairs in the field is a prerequisite for successful administration of relief in first stages, and this field work involves co-ordination on regional basis. Regional co-ordination of U.N.R.R.A. activities in Western Pacific is being worked out and it is important that co-ordination of civil affairs for this region should be arrived at as soon as possible.

9. As Australia is the principal base for operations for recovery of southern territories occupied by Japan and for the work of rehabilitation and as it will be in touch with both South West Pacific and South East Asia Commands, we would wish the Committee to be located in Australia.

10. We suggest that the Committee should consist of two representatives (one Military and one Diplomatic) of the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, New Zealand, and the Netherlands in the first instance and that French and Portuguese representatives might be admitted as occasion arose.

11. Its functions would be- (i) To formulate in consultation with Governments responsible for territories recovered from Japan, directives as to the policies to be followed in civil affairs matters;

(ii) To forward these to Washington C.C.A.C. for the Combined Chiefs of Staff;

(iii) To consider and report to the Combined Chiefs of Staff through Washington C.C.A.C. on such questions arising out of the practical implementation of these directives in the field as were referred to the Combined Chiefs of Staff by the Theatre Commanders;

(iv) To co-operate with the Theatre Commanders and Governments in regard to practical arrangements for administration and supplies;

(v) It would be necessary for the C.C.A.C. to maintain liaison with Theatre Commanders, Governments, and such bodies as U.N.R.R.A. and the Allied shipping authorities.

12. This framework would facilitate the execution of such arrangements for civil affairs supplies as those outlined in Dominions Office telegram 151 and would afford means for the Governments chiefly interested to deal effectively with specific interests such as those indicated in paragraph 3 [5] of the same telegram.

13. From the general sense of Dominions Office telegram 151 and such information as is available here, it seems likely that the United Kingdom authorities will be receptive of proposals on the above lines, and we would wish of course to be assured of United Kingdom support before matter is taken up with Washington. It is desired therefore that you represent fully to the London authorities, at the appropriate level, the views set forth in paras. 2 to 12 above. Developments here compel us to treat the matter as one of urgency and you should explain that we would be grateful for their earliest possible concurrence.

14. Please see also our telegram No. 180 [6] to Dominions Office.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. External Affairs Dept as no. 153.

2 Dispatched 4 July. On file AA:A989, 44/655/19.

3 Combined Civil Affairs Committee.

4 See the Attachment to Forde's letter to Evatt of 9 November 1943. On file AA:MP729/6, 2/401/196.

5 Paragraph 3 dealt with arrangements for determining Civil Affairs supplies to British territories in the event of all Civil Affairs supplies in S.W.P.A. becoming an exclusively U.S.


6 Dispatched 3 August. on the file cited in note 2.

[AA:A989, 44/655/19]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013

Category: International relations

Topic: History