327 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 293 [1] LONDON, 23 October 1944, 7 p.m.


Your telegram No. 240 repeated Wellington No. 206. [2] Conference on employment.

Careful consideration has been given to your suggestion that a joint approach should now be made to the United States Government with a view to following up the resolution of the I.L.O.

Conference at Philadelphia by the early holding, either of an International Employment Conference in association with the governing body of I.L.O., or of a purely Governmental Conference with substantially the same objectives.

2. We fully share the view that the domestic employment aspect should be kept prominently in the forefront in the minds both of the Governments and the general public in connection with post-war economic plans. It is clear, however, that the matter demands a careful approach if we are to carry the other Governments with us, and if we favour a different procedure from that suggested in your telegram, it is with this consideration in mind and not because we attach less importance to the objective than you do.

3. The more we reflect on possibilities the stronger becomes our conviction that the subject properly belongs to the general field of Article VII of the Mutual Aid Agreement, and would best be dealt with in that context. In the report of the talks between British Commonwealth officials earlier in the year, when the proposals of your representatives on this subject aroused keen interest, the recommendation was made that an international Employment Agreement should be regarded as an 'Essential and central part of the arrangements for implementing Article VII of the Mutual Aid Agreement and the Atlantic Charter'. [3] We feel sure that we should be well advised to adhere to this method of approach.

4. There are special difficulties attaching to either of the alternatives mentioned in your telegram. As regards the possibility of following up the I.L.O. resolution with a view to the convening of a Conference in association with the governing body of the I.L.O., two main considerations present themselves.

(1) The unlikelihood that it would be practicable to hold such a Conference, having regard to the terms of the Philadelphia resolution, without representation of the employers and workers groups of the I.L.O.

(2) The position of Russia since it is by no means clear that Russia would be willing to attend a Conference such as that proposed in the I.L.O. resolution. On the other hand it may be doubted whether it would be practicable for the Governments in face of the terms of the I.L.O. resolution to proceed with holding of a special Employment Conference limited to Governmental representatives alone. Added to these considerations is the fact that all available evidence in our possession indicates that approach to the United States Government at the present time would lead to no useful result since, if we have judged the attitude of the United States Administration correctly, it is clear that they would be most unlikely to wish to pursue this subject until the Presidential election is over.

5. In these circumstances we are satisfied that progress is more likely to be made if instead of aiming at the holding of a special Conference the subject is approached as part of the arrangements for implementing Article VII and we feel sure that the Governments are more likely to respond if the proposal for International Agreement is considered along with other proposals for International arrangements within the framework of Article VII as they take shape. We suggest accordingly that it would be wise to defer approach to the Americans for the time being but that special point should be made of raising the matter with them as soon as opportunity arises for discussions under Article VII to be resumed. Future procedure could then be considered in the light of their reactions.

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Govt as no. 239.

2 Document 283.

3 See Documents 85 and 93, note 4.

[AA:A989, 44/735/58/7]