377 Evatt to Eggleston

Cablegram 2077 CANBERRA, 19 December 1944

IMMEDIATE SECRET

1. As one means of furthering Australia - New Zealand objective of participation in Pacific Armistice planning and controls and in the direction of Pacific Affairs as a whole [1], use could be made of Pacific War Council. When we obtained establishment of Pacific War Council in 1942 the urgent matters were Pacific strategy and our own pressing need of supply. Since the main lines of the war against Japan were determined the Council has seldom met and owing mainly to inactivity on the part of its members at Washington has ceased to provide a means of discussion on the highest level.

2. Pacific situation is now raising a new set of problems of great complexity, solution of which will necessitate continuous consultation between all Governments with interests in the region.

Pacific War Council might become a valuable forum for this purpose.

3. We should endeavour now to obtain regular meetings of the council for general purposes of consultation and advice to Governments concerned in regard to all Pacific war matters including Armistice and post-hostilities matters.

4. For your personal information I would envisage as a possible outcome of this consultation agreed surrender instruments for Japan and Thailand, and the setting up of executive machinery for control in Japan and Thailand. Other questions might include inter-governmental machinery for political supervision of the execution of armistices and for co-ordination of activities connected with rehabilitation of reoccupied territories. Council might later advise on international interests in such matters as future of Thailand, interim government of Korea, place of Indo- China in a security system and regional organisation in Southeast Asia. On these lines it could well be developed into a useful organ for preliminary inter-governmental consideration of all Pacific settlement problems.

5. I would like you therefore to consult with Berendsen and convey either jointly or separately to the President the desire of our Governments that meetings of the Council shall be resumed as soon as possible.

6. The Council is still a body in being. Partly through its agency I obtained in 1942 and 1943 valuable supplies for Australia especially of aircraft. For that I am most grateful to the President.

7. I notice press report here suggesting that you intimated that you had no instructions on the matter of Pacific Council. I cannot believe that you would speak on such a matter, particularly in view of hostile attitude to this Government of certain Australian Press controllers who are represented at Washington.

8. Great tact and care are required, but a courteous and formal request to the President for regular meetings of the Council would quite possibly be successful. Please take necessary action.

EVATT

1 See Document 337.

[AA:A989, 44/655/36]