25 Department of Information to Bailey

Cablegram 66 [1] CANBERRA, 20 January 1944

Background to Australian - New Zealand Conference for use at your discretion if required to counter suggestion of anti-American bias it can be stated authoritatively that Australian New Zealand Conference discussions and decisions were not in the slightest degree anti-American as suggested some quarters here. In fact consultations with United States will follow in the hope and expectation of greatest possible degree of co-operation.

Suggestions followed publication 18.1.44 Keith Murdoch's article [2] wherein stated first broad line Australian policy must be the encouragement in every way of British and American interest in all these parts. The first course he suggested should be to seek definitions of British and American policy. In Canberra the first consideration should be to build in American interests through the South Pacific to the full extent of which Americans are prepared to accept the responsibilities and the opportunities of co- operation.

Canberra view is that no American territory is involved and the first discussions should be among those powers with sovereignty.

This is merely a preliminary to the discussions which must follow in Washington and London. Object of present conference is to secure the desirable result that Australia and New Zealand will be able to speak with a strong and united voice upon subjects of mutual concern. It is recognised there may be difficulty in reaching general agreement of all powers involved upon the machinery necessary to assure an adequate security system, therefore it has been advantageous to secure agreement between the two countries, Australia and New Zealand, which are most intimately and closely affected.

It is stated that conference was only anti-Axis and anti-Tokio.

1 Sent through the Trade Commissioner in New York; numbered to Bailey as X161.

2 Published in the Herald (Melbourne); republished in the Advertiser (Adelaide), 20 January. Murdoch was managing director of the Herald but he was also Victorian president of the Australian-American Association.

[AA:A3196, 1944, 0.1745]