Cablegram 731 CANBERRA, 24 December 1946, 2.10 p.m.
Australian Antarctic Territory.
Details of inter-department committee meeting to discuss further
exploration and exploitation of resources and submission to
Cabinet  are being forwarded to you by air mail for
2. Decisions taken by Cabinet 19th December on the recommendations
(a) To approve in principle a short reconnaissance voyage this
summer by a Naval ship equipped with aircraft to find a suitable
ice-free base. Estimates to be prepared and submitted to Treasurer
for consideration. (b) That Departments concerned should proceed
immediately to develop concrete plans for exploration and
observation in the Antarctic in the respective spheres. Plans to
be brought back for Cabinet consideration.
(c) That the C.S.I.R. should be the coordinating authority in
connection with development of plans under (b).
(d) That the Department of External Affairs should be kept
informed of prospects and follow up certain international aspects
and in particular the extent to which New Zealand and the United
Kingdom would join in the proposals.
3. Please inform United Kingdom authorities of these decisions.
4. It is doubtful whether from our slender resources a Naval ship
can be made available with suitable equipment for. a trip this
summer (Recommendation A).
5. In future work we hope to have the co-operation of the United
Kingdom and New Zealand. Would you enquire:
(i) If a suitable United Kingdom ship or ships might be available
to Australia for future expeditions. If a station is established
in the Antarctic ships will probably need to visit it at least
twice a year and we must explore all possibilities including use
of whaling or naval vessels. 'Wyatt Earp' is being surveyed.
(ii) The extent to which the United Kingdom authorities would
participate by attaching experts or otherwise in an Australian
expedition next summer and
(iii) Whether they have any particular enquiries on the subject.
6. With reference to cable D.1169 from the Secretary of State for
Dominion Affairs , could you inform the British Government that
Dr. Evatt on 11th November spoke to the United States Ambassador
here and expressed the hope that if United States Antarctic
Expedition wished to enter Australian Antarctic Territory, early
request would be made to Australian Government for permission in
order that matter could be dealt with promptly. United States
Ambassador said that so far as he knew there was no intention to
enter the Australian territory.
7. We understand that the United States Ambassador reported this
conversation in some detail to his Government. We are considering
the desirability of further representations to the United States
Government but our inclination is to think that no purpose would
be served by duplicating these representations in Washington. We
are in touch with New Zealand regarding telegram D.1169.