113 Attlee to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 21 LONDON, 1 February 1943, 11.30 p.m.


Many thanks for your telegram No. 14 of 11th January concerning Colonial Policy. [1]

We have noted your views as to return to status quo as in paragraph 2(a) of your telegram. As regards paragraph 2(b), we have again carefully considered the question of accountability to some international body, but it seems to us that any attempt to follow too closely the analogy of the Permanent Mandates Commission would lead to weakness by introducing an element of irresponsibility and that commissions would be more likely to develop practical influence for general benefit if they did not contain such an element. For the protection of general interests, we consider that we should rely on the collaboration of the various authorities having direct and important interests in the area concerned though we should certainly hope that U.S.A. would be associated with each regional organisation.

In the light of your observations and those of the other Dominion Governments, we are now instructing Lord Halifax to approach Mr.

Hull on the basis of the revised draft statement contained in my immediately following telegram D.54. [2] Lord Halifax is being asked to leave the draft with Mr. Hull after his talk but only as a basis for discussion. We feel that it is essential to confine the discussions to Lord Halifax and Mr. Hull at this stage, but we will keep you informed of developments either direct or through your Minister at Washington with a view to your Government being associated at an appropriate moment if they so desire with any negotiations that may develop.

1 Document 97.

2 Dispatched 2 February. On file AA:A989, 43/735/1021. The first, second and fifth paragraphs of the revised text were essentially similar to the first, second and fourth paragraphs of the draft set opt in Document 96, but the third paragraph of the latter was replaced by two new paragraphs reading:

'3. This duty of guidance must be discharged in the general interest of all nations as well as in the particular interest of the peoples of the territories concerned. In pursuance of this policy the natural resources of colonial territories should be organized and marketed, not for the promotion of mere commercial ends, but rather for service of the people concerned and of the world as a whole.

4. The Atlantic Charter looks to the establishment in the future of a wider and permanent system of general security. It will be the special responsibility of the "parent" (or "trustee") states to ensure the safety of colonial peoples within this general framework.'

[AA:A989, 43/735/1021]