190 Department of External Affairs to Ball

Cablegram 5 CANBERRA, 15 April 1946


Allied Council. Your 156. [1]

1. Your action in referring for instruction is proper procedure.

The matters raised may be of fundamental significance and we consider that they should not be discussed until we have the opportunity of consulting the other British Commonwealth Governments concerned. (See telegram which will be repeated to you. [2]) Pending their views you should refrain from making your proposed statement. In order to hold the position you should if it appears necessary announce in Council that you are referring the matter for instructions.

2. Please cable text of memorandum when available or summary if text is lengthy. [3]

3. While we agree generally with views you expressed to Marquat (Your 146 [4]) we think it was inexpedient to raise them with MacArthur's Deputy even unofficially or privately at this early and delicate stage in the imposition of F.E.C. authority. [5]

4. We are filing your 156 (BCOM1) as ACJ2 but in view of reference to conversation with Marquat we are not repeating it to United Kingdom, New Zealand or India. [6]

1 Document 187.

2 Document 188 was repeated to Ball as cablegram 2. On 16 April the External Affairs Dept advised him that confirmation or revision of the instructions proposed therein was unlikely to reach him before the Council meeting on 17 April.

3 Ball summarised MacArthur's memorandum in cablegram DEP6 of 16 April. in addition to the statement reported in Document 187, the memorandum argued, inter alia, that it would be impracticable to supply all documentation requested by Derevyanko, though specific data would be supplied if available and directives on matters of substance would be given to the Council 48 hours before issue (see Document 171).

4 Document 173.

5 Ball replied on .6 April that he had raised the matter with Marquat because he believed MacArthur's inaugural speech gave a misleading account of the Council's powers, in which his silence might have implied concurrence, and that he had hoped an unofficial stand might encourage MacArthur to amend his statement without a public clash. He had also believed it to be the most tactful method of obeying the 'instruction' in Document 136. The text of an elaboration of this reply on 18 April is repeated in Document 203.

6 On 10 April Ball had informed the External Affairs Dept that he proposed to send three categories of cablegram: those prefixed 'BCOM', addressed to the Minister for External Affairs and intended for repetition to the U.K., Indian and N.Z. Govts; those prefixed 'DEP, for the information of the External Affairs Dept;

and those prefixed 'Secret and Personal-for the Minister'. On 12 April, without reference to this advice, the Department requested Ball to initiate a series prefixed 'ACJ', for cablegrams dealing with formal business and enquiries suitable for repetition to other Commonwealth governments concerned, noting that Document IT would be treated as ACJ1, though its first two paragraphs and Document 173 would remain outside the series. It also suggested that Ball investigate the practicability of his advisers transmitting 'ACJ' cables direct to their governments.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.7489]