280 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 236 [1] CANBERRA, 14 September 1944


Your 1349, 1350, 1351. [2] Preliminaries of Peace with Finland.

Our understanding of the nature of the proposed agreement is that the state of war will not be terminated. We are, therefore, in agreement that it should be in governmental and not Heads of State form, and that all countries at war with Finland should be parties to it. Subject to agreement between yourselves and the Soviet Government on the text and, assuming that other British Dominions also concur, we will accordingly instruct Australian Minister in Moscow to hold himself in readiness to sign.

2. It would seem unnecessary to carry over into agreement for preliminaries of peace the formal provision for instrument of ratification embodied in the draft treaty of peace. We would hope, therefore, that you can secure adoption of suggestion for coming into force of agreement conveyed in paragraph 2 of your 1350. [3]

3. We are in general agreement with comments in your D.1350 on other articles of agreement and concur in particular with your views on the question of fixing amount of compensation at this stage.

4. As regards armistice instrument, we would remind you of our observations [4] respecting form and preamble made in the case of Rumania and Bulgaria. We would desire that the fact that the armistice is being signed on our behalf be explicitly stated in the preamble or at least that it should be stated as soon as possible after the signing that the instrument has the approval of all British Dominions.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 204.

2 Dispatched 13 September. On file AA:A989, 44/970/58. Cablegram 1351 expressed the U.K. Govt's understanding that the agreement for 'preliminaries of peace' laid down general lines of settlement which victorious powers would ultimately make with the defeated power, but that it did not put an end to hostilities. The U.K.

Govt therefore believed the agreement should not be between heads of state but between govts, so as to make clear the distinction between it and the final peace treaty.

3 Paragraph 2 read in part: 'We should prefer provision for agreement to come into force on day of signature. It would then be possible to dispense with provision for instrument of ratification.' 4 See cablegram 210 of 29 August and 223 of 5 September, on files AA:A989, E43/970/27/4 and AA:A989, 44/970/27/5 respectively. In both cases the Commonwealth Government expressed the hope that the preamble would state that the armistice was granted by all United Nations at war with Bulgaria and Romania.

[AA:A989, 44/970/58]