156 Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister, to Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom

Cablegram 7614 [A] [1] CANBERRA, 3 December 1941

IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

In the event of a state of war coming into existence with Finland, Rumania or Hungary, at the instance of His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia will adopt the following procedure to declare and proclaim a state of war in the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories.

1. On the advice of His Majesty's Ministers in Australia, an instrument will be issued by His Majesty to the Governor-General [2] of the Commonwealth authorizing him to issue the proclamation set out in 2. Such instrument will be countersigned by some person acting for and on behalf of the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the person suggested is yourself 2. A proclamation will be issued by the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia on the advice of the Executive Council here, declaring and proclaiming that a state of war with (name of country or names of countries) is in existence, or has come into existence, in the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories as from a time which will synchronize with the time fixed in respect of the United Kingdom by His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom.

3. The Governor-General in Council will in Australia execute an authority to you, or some other person, authorizing a countersignature to the Royal instrument on behalf of the Prime Minister.

This procedure will be in accord with the now recognized status of the Commonwealth of Australia in its international relationships as evidenced by the Balfour Declaration and other authoritative declarations. The view of the Commonwealth Attorney-General [3] is that, although 1 and 3 above may not be strictly necessary, nevertheless it is desirable to express with clarity the unbroken chain of prerogative authority from His Majesty to his representative here, making it also clear at the same time that in relation to the Commonwealth and its Territories, His Majesty is acting exclusively on the advice of his Ministers in the Commonwealth [of] Australia.

Please make preliminary appropriate arrangements for carrying above procedure into effect including arrangements to procure execution of instrument by His Majesty in accordance with that procedure.

We are exploring the possibility of transmitting the draft instrument, countersigned by the Prime Minister of Australia, to England by picturegram, with a view to its completion by His Majesty. In that event, it would not be necessary to authorize you to sign on behalf of the Prime Minister. In any case, so as to provide for the possibility of distortion of the picturegram, the exact text of the instrument would be telegraphed independently.

In order that further consideration may be given to the question of adoption of course of transmission by picturegram, perhaps you could ascertain at once whether any difficulty would be raised to execution of such a document by His Majesty.

The form of authority proposed is as follows:-

GEORGE VI, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, an& the British Dominions beyond the Seas, King. Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India, etc.

To all and singular to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting! WHEREAS it is provided by section two of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution that a Governor-General appointed by the Queen shall be Her Majesty's Representative in the Commonwealth, and shall have and may exercise in the Commonwealth during the Queen's pleasure, but subject to that Constitution, such powers and functions of the Queen as Her Majesty may be pleased to assign to him:

AND WHEREAS it is provided by section sixty-one of the Constitution that the executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen's Representative:

AND WHEREAS the provisions referring to the Queen extend to Her Majesty's heirs and successors in the Sovereignty of the United Kingdom:

NOW, THEREFORE, We, acting by and with the advice of our Federal Executive Council of our Commonwealth of Australia, and in the exercise of all powers Us thereunto enabling, hereby assign to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, the power to declare and proclaim that, as from a date and hour to be specified by the said Governor-General, a state of war exists in the Commonwealth of Australia and its Territories with the Republic of Finland, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Kingdom of Rumania.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF We have caused Our Great Seal to be affixed to these Presents, which We have signed with Our Royal Hand.

GIVEN at Our Court of Saint James, the fifth day of December, in the Year of Our Lord, One thousand nine hundred and forty-one and in the fifth year of Our reign.

By His Majesty's Command, A Member of His Majesty's Privy Council, acting for and on behalf of, and at the request of, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia.

[CURTIN]

1 Material in square brackets has been inserted from Bruce's copy on file AA : M100, December 1941.

2 Lord Gowrie.

3 Dr H. V. Evatt.

[AA : A1608, 0.41/1/2]