357 Stirling to Evatt

Cablegram S51 LONDON, 22 November 1944, 12.50 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET PERSONAL FOR THE MINISTER

Your telegram 222. [1]

Following from Lord Cranborne:-

'Personal for Doctor Evatt.

Many thanks for your personal telegram to me. I am grateful for your frank views. Our telegram 325 [2] was, in fact, submitted by me to the War Cabinet and its terms were approved by them, but I have again studied it in the light of what you say. During the time that I have been at the Dominions Office we have often received very frank telegrams from the Australian Government, and I have always appreciated these, as to my mind, frankness is the necessary basis of close and cordial collaboration. Similarly, in the present case, we felt it was essential to let you know the difficulties in which, having regard to our own world-wide colonial responsibilities, we had been placed by the statement on colonial policy [3] published on the conclusion of the Wellington Conference. There is, of course, no question as to the right of any Governments of the Commonwealth concerned to publish their views. But it is, I suggest, important that, in particular with regard to questions affecting them all, there should, where possible, be prior consultation with a view to resolving any difference of view. For, if without such prior consultation, all the members of the British Commonwealth were to adopt the practice of making unilateral declarations on matters of common interest to the whole Commonwealth, especially in the international sphere, I cannot but think our joint influence for good would inevitably be weakened. In this particular case, in our opinion, such prior consultation would surely have avoided a great deal of embarrassment now and in the future. Our views were already known to you and we feel that before you published an opposing view it would have been helpful if you had given us a further opportunity of trying to reconcile our differences. Not to have explained this frankly would, I think, have been fair neither to you nor to us.

Actually I think the exchange of telegrams has clone good and cleared the air. It now appears that the difference between us may be less wide than your published statement seemed to us to imply.

We shall be telegraphing to you about this officially.

CRANBORNE

FROM SECDOMIN AND BRUCE, 1.41498]

1 Document 353.

2 Document 347.

3 See Document 344 and note 1 thereto.

[AA:A3195, 1944, FOLDER, INWARDS MOST SECRET MASTER SHEETS, EXCEPT