144 Dixon to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram S55 WASHINGTON, 25 March 1943, 3 p.m.

Your P.W.21 paragraph 3. [1] I saw Cordell Hull to-day and informed him that the Australian Government had seen the draft declaration as to Colonies which Lord Halifax had left with him [2] and that while so far as it went, the draft accorded with the views of the Australian Government, I had been instructed to say that the Australian Government was prepared to go further. [3] Mr.

Hull interposed and said that he thought I ought to know the present position of the question of a declaration as to Colonies.

Some time ago when the Indian question appeared to be acute here he had drafted a document himself for his own Government's consideration. Then Lord Halifax had spoken to him and later furnished him with a British draft. He had considered it and had put it with some suggestions of his own before the President who at length had promised to look at it last Sunday. He, Hull, had spoken to Eden about it and possibly the President had done so too. But the President had not communicated with him on the matter since Sunday and he did not know whether he had considered it. He and the President usually looked at things in much the same way, having the same kind of philosophy, but he did not know what view the President might take of the proposal to make a declaration or of the kind of declaration put forward. He did not know whether the President would have the same slant on it. But however that might be, he, Hull, would like very much to have the views of the Australian Government.

I then said that the Australian Government felt that the trusteeship of the parent country ought to be as real as possible and that accordingly the parent country should be accountable for its administration of the trust. It would be necessary to work out the manner of accounting. The question of Colonies formed only a part of the general settlement after the war and in the course of that settlement possibly an International Council might be set up and that might provide a means of dealing with colonial administration, or it might be done by some regional body.

The view of the Australian Government was that Colonies inhabited by native races should be administered in the interests of the peoples and for the common good of all and that according to their social condition and political development the native peoples should so far as practicable share in the government of the Colonies.

Hull said that he was very interested in these views and was very glad to have them expressed to him. The British Government, he knew, felt it could not submit to direct interference of any external international authority. He felt that we must look forward to future developments, and the Americans had always been guided by principles of liberty notwithstanding that the de Gaullists were now saying that the United States had abandoned them in North Africa in favour of Fascism. He then referred to the careful development by the United States Government of self- government and independence in the Philippines and intervention over forty years ago to liberate Cuba. He asked me what were Australia's colonial interests. I said that Australia's direct interests were in Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea but we were naturally concerned in the whole of South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific about which we realized there was no fixity. I briefly stated how Papua and [the] Mandated Territory respectively came under our control and mentioned the reports to the League of our administration in the Mandated Territory and Sir Hubert Murray's [4] work in Papua. Hull said that he was very glad to know the Australian Government's views and expressed his own great personal interest in Australia.


1 Evatt's cablegram PW21 of 18 March (on file AA:A989, 43/735/1021) instructed Dixon to keep the Commonwealth Govt 'very fully informed as to Eden's real objective in United States' and suggested that the time appeared opportune for Dixon to discuss colonial policy with Hull.

2 See Documents 95-6 and 113.

3 See Documents 94, 97 and 115.

4 Lt Governor of Papua 1908-40.

[AA:A989, 43/735/1021]