186 Shedden to Evetts

Letter(extract) CANBERRA, 11 April 1946

TOP SECRET

[matter omitted]

3. As stated by the Prime Minister at the discussion on 10th April [1], he welcomes the idea of setting up a range in Australia, subject to the conclusion of an agreement later which would be mutually satisfactory to the United Kingdom and Australian Governments in respect of the matters referred to in sub-paragraph 1(iii) [2] above and other aspects which may have to be provided for.

4. The Prime Minister is agreeable to your Mission proceeding in conjunction with the Australian authorities, to:-

(a) Select the actual site of the range; and (b) Make a general survey of the technical and industrial facilities which exist to enable full scale firing trials to be carried out.

5. The various aspects raised in your letter [3], relative to the machinery for the control of the programme of range work, attachment of Australian Service and technical officers to United Kingdom establishments, research and development work in Australia as part of the main scheme, the administration of the range, manufacture and modification of components and production of fuels, manufacture of guided missiles in Australia, finance, and the allocation of personnel for training for this work, are matters which the Prime Minister considers will be covered by the agreement referred to in (iii). It is understood that your report will be submitted to the Minister of Supply when the matter will again be taken up in London on the Inter-Governmental level. The Prime Minister is agreeable that, later in the year, a fully representative Technical Mission should be sent from the United Kingdom to Australia to draw up a detailed agreement as contemplated.

6. Subject to the foregoing being read in conjunction with your letter as an expression of the views of the Prime Minister, it is agreed they jointly represent a record of your discussion with the Prime Minister, except that the Prime Minister expressed his view on the question of manufacture in Australia somewhat more positively than suggested on page 2 of your letter. Mr. Chifley pointed out that, if the Australian Government were to embark on expenditure in connection with this

scheme, it wished to do so with the knowledge and assurance that it would have access to all information necessary to enable manufacture to be carried out in Australia should it be desired to go into production at some future date. Otherwise, it would be wasteful expenditure to embark on an enterprise associated with defence, the results of which might be denied to the Commonwealth when circumstances might prevent supplies being obtained from overseas, an occurrence of which Australia had experience in the recent war. There is also the related wider strategical aspect of Australia being a potential source of supply for British Commonwealth needs in the Pacific theatre.

7. The Prime Minister instructs me to say that you have his full approval to go ahead with the objects of your Mission as outlined by you. I am to assure you of every co-operation which you will find to be readily forthcoming and to wish you success in an undertaking of such importance to the security of the British Empire.

F.G.SHEDDEN

1 See Document 183.

2 These included Australian participation in the work and access to information and the financial basis and method of control of the project.

3 Document 183.

[AA:A5954, BOX 1797]