361 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 338 [1] LONDON, 24 November 1944, 9.38 p.m.

IMPORTANT SECRET

Reference Commonwealth telegram No. 300, New Zealand No. 299. [2]

Employment Conference.

1. We think there has been some misapprehension on this question.

It was in no way our intention to express doubt on the desirability of the conclusion of an employment agreement on the lines agreed on at the meeting of officials in March, 1944. [3] Our telegram was directed to the practical question of how the conclusion of an employment agreement can best be secured having regard to the need for carrying the United States and other Governments with us. We are still of the opinion that quick progress is most likely if this question is treated as part of the Article VII discussions but that need not preclude a separate conference.

2. Since the Australian and New Zealand Governments, who have taken a leading part in this matter, attach the highest importance to the idea of a conference on this question being called as soon as possible, we will gladly give them our full support. It will evidently be necessary in view of the international Labour Organisation resolution [4] passed at Philadelphia to associate the governing body of the International Labour Organisation with the proposed, conference, the governing body at their meeting in London in January will, in any case, be considering the action to be taken on the various resolutions adopted at the Philadelphia conference and this matter will certainly come up then.

3. Would the Australian and New Zealand Governments desire us, in the first instance, to sound the United States Government unofficially? If so, we are ready to take an early opportunity to do this. We suggest that, before any document is sent to the Americans, there should be a further exchange of views between us as to the possible scope, objective and agenda of any such conference. We are looking forward to receiving the draft document to which you refer and hope shortly to send you some suggestions which have occurred to us on our side.

4. There remains, of course, the question of consultation with other Commonwealth and Empire Governments. While the subject was carried to a certain stage in the talks between Commonwealth officials in London in March last, it would, in our view be desirable if possible that a further similar meeting on the official level should take place before the International conference is arranged in order to clarify more precisely the scope and objectives of the conference. This need not, of course, delay the preliminary soundings of the United States Government suggested in paragraph 3 above. We should be glad to have your views as to this. In the meantime, we are deferring communicating with Canada and South Africa.

1 Addressed to the N.Z. Govt as no. 276.

2 Document 345.

3 Document 87.

4 See Document 117, note 3, and Document 145.

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