Your D.909.  Japanese Fleet.
1. We cannot agree with the procedure which is being adopted
regarding the disposal of the Japanese fleet and hope that even at
this stage it will not be too late to alter it.
2. Our view is that the disposal of the fleet is one question
amongst those which must be discussed at a peace conference and
that such a conference will not be organised in the same way as
the Peace Conference at Paris where it was practically impossible
to vary Four Power decisions taken without Australian
3. When this matter was first brought to our attention in October,
1945, the general purpose was to destroy the Japanese fleet but
failing that endeavour to reach agreement on a division. No
indication was given as to any further negotiations and it is a
revelation to us that two months later at Moscow there were
negotiations to the point of agreement between the Four Powers on
this matter. You will recall that in relation to the Moscow
Conference we expressed our view that Moscow discussions should,
particularly on Pacific matters, be purely preliminary and that on
any matter affecting the future of the Pacific Australia should
participate directly with other nations concerned. See our
telegram 455  of 19th December, 1945.
4. We have always stressed that Australia must be a party
principal in peace arrangements with Japan. See our telegram No.
205 of 27th July, 1945 , in relation to Potsdam meeting. We
are, therefore, greatly concerned to find that at Moscow and
since, there have been negotiations and even agreements on a
matter related to the negotiation of the peace treaty with Japan
without our knowledge and without our direct participation.
5. Australia may not claim a share in the Japanese fleet although
this question will have to be submitted in due course to the
incoming Cabinet. We are vitally interested in the disposal of the
fleet. You will recall that in regard to the disposal of the
Italian fleet at the Paris Conference, Australia put forward
amendments which clearly indicated that we would prefer complete
destruction, but if that were not acceptable an allocation should
be made only after a plan for a system of regulation of armaments
had been submitted by the Security Council to the United Nations
in accordance with Article 26 of the Charter.
6. We are particularly disturbed at the suggestion that a
proportion of the United Kingdom share of the Japanese fleet might
be given to the Dutch. While it appears to us that no such
suggestion could be made until the peace conference determines
allocation we should be glad to have the opportunity to put our
views before any approach is made to the Dutch.