With reference to your memorandum ER.46/19/1/2 on the subject of
German reparation deliveries to Australia , enquiries made in
Berlin indicate that the position is now somewhat different from
that existing at the time of the resolution of the Assembly of the
Allied Reparations Agency quoted in your memorandum.
2. According to the Reparations Deliveries and Restitution
Division of the Control Commission, the principal cause of earlier
delays in the delivery of reparations allocations was the
necessity of obtaining an agreed quadripartite valuation of
plants. It is stated, however, that this has now been overcome and
that valuation is now ahead of allocations. No further delays
should therefore arise on this score.
3. The Reparations Division have stated in reply to
representations made on behalf of Australian deliveries that they
are well aware of the need for quicker delivery and recognise that
the machinery allocations, in particular, to be of any real use
should be effected now and not at some indefinite time in the
future. Representations to the same effect have been made also by
other recipient countries. The Division has therefore undertaken
to make every effort to expedite deliveries. The chief difficulty
at present is lack of competent labour for the dismantling of
plants. A large proportion of the labour used is unskilled and
over the useful age limit. Owing to the destruction of factories
much of the work has to be carried on in the open and is
consequently liable to interruption during periods of severe
weather such as has been recently experienced.
4. The actual position regarding Australian deliveries is stated
to be that one collection of items has already been despatched
, a second is now being assembled, while it is hoped that a
third will be ready by next April. The Division states however
that because of labour difficulties it may not prove possible to
keep to this target date.
5. In view of the delays which have already taken place, the
Reparations Division stress that countries such as Australia
urgently requiring certain special equipment should take advantage
of the interim arrangement proposed by the United Kingdom
Government for the immediate distribution of plant and equipment
from the British zone on a unilateral basis. Some account of this
scheme is contained in Berlin Despatch No. 10/46 of 13th December
6. In accordance with the terms of your memorandum pressure will
continue to be exerted on the authorities here with a view to
securing the earliest possible delivery of Australian allocations.
In view of the circumstances mentioned above, however, and
especially until the outcome of the new British proposal is known,
it is not considered that any useful purpose would be served at
this stage by formal representations to the Governments members of
the Allied Control Council for Germany.
7. A copy of this memorandum has been sent to Dr. E. R. Walker in
J. D. L. HOOD