286 Bruce to Curtin

Cablegram 173[A] LONDON, 27 September 1943

PERSONAL SECRET

Dominions Office telegrams 664 and 665. [1]

The fact that a decision should have been taken by the United Kingdom Government approving the text of a draft Declaration in favour of Austrian independence and that this Declaration should have been communicated to the United States of America and U.S.S.R. without any further consultation or communication with the Dominions appears to me, having regard to your telegram to the Dominions Office 201 of 4th August [2] and Smuts' telegram (repeated to you 89 [3]), to constitute strong evidence of the contention contained in the latter part of paragraph 6 of your telegram to the Dominions Office 244. [4]

While it may well be that we would after further consultation have indicated our agreement, I have protested strongly against the way this matter has been handled, even describing it as 'insulting' to the Dominions. You may feel it desirable to register your protest to the United Kingdom Government although, no doubt, it would be couched in more restrained and diplomatic language than I have employed.

BRUCE

1 These cablegrams of 16 September (on file AA:A989, 44/85/2/1) advised that the U.K. Govt had conveyed to the U.S. and Soviet Govts the text of a draft joint declaration proclaiming the 1938 union of Germany and Austria null and void and favouring the re- establishment of a free and independent Austria.

2 Document 253.

3 Dispatched 24 August. On the file cited in note 1. Smuts's view was that it was 'at least doubtful whether it [i.e. Austrian resistance to Germany] justifies a present promise to Austria of State independence in future and preferential treatment compared with Germany'.

4 Document 280.

[AA:A989, 44/85/2/1]