360 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 337 [1] LONDON, 24 November 1944, 9.25 p.m.

SECRET

Reference Canberra Telegram No. 301 [2], Wellington Telegram No.

298. [3]

SOUTH SEAS REGIONAL COMMISSION In principle we are in agreement with your proposals for the establishment of a South Seas Regional Commission which in general are in conformity with the policy adumbrated by the Colonial Secretary in July of last year. [4] This is indeed one of the areas which we had always had in contemplation for the setting up of such a Commission.

But we feel that these proposals, 'must be viewed in relation to the wider question of International Co-operation in Colonial Policy. We have telegraphed to you separately (my immediately preceding telegram [5]) regarding your proposals for creating a Central International Body with powers of supervision and inspection. In our view, if the policy of Regional Commissions is to be successful these Commissions must be based on the principle of mutual collaboration in the solution of common problems. The introduction of any principle of supervision whether by creation of a Central International Body as suggested by your Governments or in some other manner would in our opinion gravely prejudice the successful working of Regional Commissions generally. Moreover, before progress can be made in this matter it will be necessary to approach the United States Government. In our view, it would be desirable that in approaching them we should be in a position to explain fully our general scheme for international Cooperation in Colonial Policy and indeed it is unlikely that they would agree to participate in a Regional Scheme in advance of such general policy adumbrated by the consultation. As shown in our immediately preceding telegram we hope shortly to tell to you details of our plans and thereafter to consider with you the next step.

In the circumstances it seems inevitable that these further consultations should take place before progress can be made with the establishment of South Seas Regional Commission.

1 Addressed to the N.Z. Govt as no. 275.

2 Document 346.

3 Dispatched 15 November and addressed to Canberra as no. 203. In AA:A3195, 1944, 1.40740/44/42.

4 See Document 359, note 9. 5 Document 359.

[AA:A1838, 342/1]