103 Chifley to Beasley

Cablegram 30 CANBERRA, 21 February 1946

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

Your No. 1144. [1]

1. in regard to the future status and use of bases, we adhere to our previously expressed view that this matter can only be considered as part of an overall plan in which their role would be defined, and in which the right to joint use and reciprocity would be provided for. Further, that no discussion in Washington should precede consideration preferably by the Prime Ministers' Conference of a common British Commonwealth course of action.

2. On the question of the claim to the sovereignty of various islands, we adhere to the opinion that if there is a claim, it should be made openly before the permanent court, and resisted openly.

3. We regret that, though the matter was referred to us for observations, both United Kingdom and New Zealand felt that they had committed themselves to the United States to hold a Conference. In your No. 946 [2], you state that Fraser and Addison both considered it would create misunderstanding if they withdrew the proposal which the United States had accepted. We suggest, in view of the American expectations which will have been aroused by the wide scope of the terms of reference referred to in your No.

546 [3], that the limited objectives which are to govern the United Kingdom attitude, as stated by Addison in your No. 1144, are also likely to create misunderstanding and disappointment in the minds of the Americans.

4. In our opinion the only sound and realistic approach is to decide what is the bedrock viewpoint of the British Commonwealth on the question of bases, and then to seek the agreement of the United States to an arrangement in accordance with the provisions and procedure of the Charter. This is the only basis on which the Commonwealth Government is prepared to participate in discussions.

CHIFLEY

1 Dispatched 19 February, it reported exchange of Documents 83 and 85, and Beasley's intention to reiterate Australian views as given in Document 96.

2 Document 81.

3 Document 52.

[AA:A6494 TI, SPTS/1/4]