382 Bruce to Evatt

Cablegram [289A] [1] LONDON, 23 December 1944, 3.30 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE MOST SECRET

For Dr. Evatt. Your telegram 204 of the 22nd December. [2]

I had a long talk to Eden yesterday in which I brought out all the points contained in your telegram 202 of the 16th December. [3] As I had not then received your telegram telling me to convey your views to Cranborne personally, (such I have now done) I did not show Eden a copy.

In the conversation I stressed very strongly the dangers we were heading towards if the United Kingdom continue to take important decisions without consultation or to give the impression that consultation has taken place when, in fact, it has not; e.g. the Prime Minister's reply in the House of Commons as to consultation with the Dominions in regard to the policy pursued in Greece. [4]

I told him that the Australian Government were so concerned with the present position that they were seriously considering the necessity of pressing their claims for a Seat on the European Advisory Commission and/or revisal of the idea of a European Consultative Council of which Australia would be a member. I stressed that, in addition to any steps of this character, you felt it was imperative that there should be closer and earlier Empire consultation in respect to all issues of major policy. The idea of Australia raising the issues of the European Advisory Council and European Consultative Commission shook Eden considerably. I did not weaken, however, on the point, notwithstanding the fact that personally I am convinced that the Americans and Russians would strenuously oppose both. I did this deliberately as I feel that their apprehension on these points will make them more ready to meet us in the matter of fuller and earlier information and consultation, before the United Kingdom Government is committed in respect to major policy.

Even on this question I am not very optimistic of any really satisfactory system of full Empire consultation being evolved. I have some hopes, however, that out of the present brush we may be able to achieve something that will improve the situation so far as we, Australia, are concerned. [5]

BRUCE

1 Material in square brackets has been corrected from Bruce's copy on file AA : M100, December 1944. The copy circulated in Canberra was incorrectly numbered 179A.

2 SFU : Evatt Papers, Cables-London-1943-46.

3 Document 376.

4 See Document 376, note 3, 5 Evatt replied on 25 December: 'I think you have stated the position with great clarity and as you know we can get nowhere in these matters unless the question is approached more from the general aspect than the particular problem of Greece'. See cablegram 205 in AA:A3196, 1944, Folder, Outwards Most Secret Master Sheets, 0.35355.

[AA:A1066, E45/16/1]