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PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
Thank you for your letters of 17th and 24th October on the United
Kingdom Government's White Paper on the 'Central Organisation for
Defence', and for the copy of the report of the debate in the
House of Lords.
2. You will recall, when I let you see our papers in London, that
I mentioned the differences between the United Kingdom and
Australian proposals. The former were limited to an exchange of
Military Missions, but the latter provided for reciprocal
representation at the appropriate levels on the machinery of each
party. I quote from the report of the proceedings of the
'He (Mr. Chifley) wished to call attention to three principles set
out therein (in the Australian proposal). First, the Governments
concerned must have an effective voice at an early stage in the
formulation of defence policy and in the higher control of
planning. Secondly, responsibility for the development of the
defence aspect of matters relating to regional security in the
Pacific should be assigned to the Australian Government machinery.
Thirdly, there should be Dominion representation in the United
Kingdom machinery corresponding to any United Kingdom
representation in the Australian machinery."
3. In the Prime Minister's instructions to the Defence Committee
on his return to Australia for the drawing up of a plan to give
effect to his views the Prime Minister said:-
'(b) In the case of the Australian Higher Defence Machinery,
provision should be made for co-opting the High Commissioners of
the United Kingdom and New Zealand (and others as necessary) to
the Council of Defence when matters affecting those parts of the
Empire are under consideration.
(c) Similarly, provision should be made for co-opting the Head of
the Accredited United Kingdom and New Zealand Service Staffs to
the Defence Committee (Australian).
(d) Corresponding provision would also be necessary for Australian
representation on the parallel machinery on the Governmental and
official levels in the United Kingdom (and New Zealand if
4. When the Prime Minister made his review to Parliament , he
summarised his proposals as follows:-
'(i) It is fundamental to future arrangements for co-operation in
Defence that appropriate machinery should be created to provide
for an effective voice by the Governments concerned in policy and
in the higher control of planning on the official level.
(ii) There should be assigned to the Australian Government
machinery responsibility for the development of the defence aspect
of matters relating to Regional Security in the Pacific, in which
the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are concerned, and
provision should be made for the representation of the United
Kingdom and New Zealand at the appropriate levels on such
(iii) Corresponding provision would also be necessary for Dominion
representation on any parallel machinery in the United Kingdom. On
the official level, the Australian Government contemplates the
strengthening of its Joint Service Staff in London, as a
counterpart to the Defence Committee in Australia, and to provide
an agency for advice to the Resident Minister in London on Defence
(iv) Consideration is also being given to the Australian Joint
Service Staff requirements in Washington and at the seat of the
United Nations. Development in this direction would depend on any
arrangement reached with the United States and machinery which may
be created for the purposes of implementing any agreement.'
5. You will recall from my letter of 20th June forwarding a copy
of the Prime Minister's review, that I said:-
'I hope you will be able to publish an article on this early and
give some encouragement to the Australian viewpoint. As you will
understand, some other parts of the Empire are more reserved in
their approach to this matter.'
6. I do not think that there is any need for the Australian
Government to re-iterate by cablegram its view that it desires
representation on the United Kingdom Defence Committee. it said so
at the Conference last April and the United Kingdom Government is
well aware of it. The detailed Australian plan will adhere to the
proposals submitted to the Conference, but its completion has been
delayed by pressure of work on the Joint Planning Committee
relating to Post-War Defence Policy. Mr. Alexander is reported in
the press to have said in the House of Commons on 1st November:-
'If proposals outlined in the White Paper are accepted by the
Dominions, it would be the aim of the Government to make them
Presumably the United Kingdom is reluctant to mention the
Australian proposals because of the susceptibilities of some of
the other Dominions on this subject. It is the same story as in
international conferences. Progress is dependent on the point to
which the least willing member is prepared to go. Still, that
should not prevent credit being given to those who are willing to
go further and submit specific proposals accordingly.
1 See Volume IX, Document 210.
2 i.e. his report on the Prime Ministers' Conference, presented on
Category: International relations