295 Evatt to Curtin

Letter CANBERRA, 11 October 1943

I have received a note from the American Legation at Canberra informing me that preparations have been made for the signing on 9th November of the Relief and Rehabilitation Agreement, and for the calling of the Council which the agreement brings into being.

[1]

You have stated publicly that the Australian Government welcomes the proposal and will do its share to assist in supplying relief I have examined the draft agreement and consider that it offers a workable basis for inaugurating a relief and rehabilitation administration and that acceptance will not prejudice any Australian interests. [2]

By signature we will be committed to 'contribute to the support of the Administration', but the amount and character of our contributions will be determined from time to time by our own appropriate constitutional bodies. We will also incur a responsibility for meeting our share of the administrative expenses of the Administration.

We will be represented on the Central Council, which is the policymaking body, and there is opportunity, if we desire, to be represented on various committees.

I therefore propose to inform the United States Government that we will sign the agreement and will be represented at the first meeting of the Council opening on 10th November at Atlantic City.

While accepting the text of the agreement, it is important that we should closely watch our interests at the first meeting of the Council which will deal with many matters of detail. This meeting will last about a month, and will draft the rules and regulations under which the Administration will work, as well as consider various questions of policy, finance and supplies.

I propose that the Australian Minister at Washington should sign the agreement on our behalf and also represent us on the Council.

It will be necessary for him to be assisted at the first meeting of the Council by three or four technical officers to serve on the committees, and I am now discussing the formation of the delegation with the Minister for Post-War Reconstruction, Mr.

Chifley, and with Sir Owen Dixon.

I should be glad to have your concurrence in my proposal to authorise the signing of the agreement and to send a delegation to the Council. [3] I am writing in similar terms to the Minister for Post-War Reconstruction.

H. V. EVATT

1 Not found.

2 See the copy of the revised draft agreement (dated 20 September) on file AA:A1608, C23/3/2, i.

3 Curtin gave his approval on 12 October. See annotation on the copy of the letter here cited.

[AA:A1608, C23/3/2, i]