360 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram 1626 CANBERRA, 2 November 1945

IMMEDIATE SECRET

1. Your E.11. [1] On the 13th October Dominions Office reported U.S. proposal and text of proposed reply asking for our early comments (D.1914, D.1915 [2]).

2. On 31st October Defence replied that they agreed with proposed reply and that in the event of a division of ships between the Allies 'a claim should be made for full British Empire share, but we consider that units of the Japanese fleet would be of no value to Australia'. [3]

3. Have spoken to Acting Minister, who was not consulted regarding reply, which was apparently handled by Defence with merely naval technical advice. Acting Minister asked me to convey message to you that he strongly supports your attitude on this and considers that as active participants we should be given full opportunity to share.

4. I understand that nature of reply may be closely associated with attitude of Defence on our post-war naval plans and in particular their desire limit on naval personnel to be retained.

Telegram was sent with approval of Prime Minister. Am suggesting to Makin he discusses matter with Beasley immediately. Makin will also put it to Beasley that External Affairs must be far more closely associated with all post-war defence plans especially when matter so closely connected with principles of reparations. No doubt he will also raise matter from point of view Minister of Navy. Will keep you informed.

1 Document 359.

2 Dispatched 13 October. On file AA : A1066, H45/1015/12. The U.K.

Govt preferred that all units of the Japanese fleet be scuttled after technical examination for naval intelligence purposes, but recognised the likelihood of pressure from other Allies for division.

3 Cablegram 378 to the Dominions Office, on the file cited in note 2.

[AA : A1066, H45/1015/12]