266 Addison to Evatt

Letter LONDON, 22 May 1946

SECRET

Thank you for your letter of the 20th May [1] setting out a suggested procedure for making progress with the proposals for a South Seas Commission, which were accepted in principle at the 11th P.M.M. meeting.

I have now been able to consult with the Foreign Secretary and the Colonial Secretary, and we are all agreed that the procedure which you propose for a conference at Canberra later this year is quite acceptable. So far as can be seen at the present, some time in August would be a suitable date, if that is convenient to all the others concerned.

Although at the meeting on the 3rd May, some preference was expressed from our side that the organisation should in the first instance be limited to the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, other Governments being invited to join later, we agree on reconsideration that the balance of advantage lies in associating in the discussions from the outset the other countries having territories in the area, provided of course that they are sufficiently interested to wish to participate. We entirely agree too that, in proceeding on this basis, it would be most desirable to give the Netherlands, as well as the United States and France, the opportunity to participate. You and Mr Nash will no doubt arrange for any preliminary sounding of the United States, French and Dutch Governments which may be necessary under (d) of your suggestions.

There are certain outstanding questions on which, while most of them cannot be decided until the proposed Conference has met, it might be useful for us to know how each other's minds are working.

Some of the matters which occur to us are:-

(1) the nature of the representation contemplated at the conference, e.g. whether it should be Ministerial or official;

(2) the exact area which would be regarded as falling within the scope of the South Seas Commission;

(3) the most suitable site for the Headquarters;

(4) the general nature of the secretarial arrangements.

There will of course be time for us to discuss points such as these before the conference opens, but if there were an opportunity, while you and Mr Nash are still in London, for some quite preliminary exchange of views on these points, I am sure it would be helpful.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Mr Nash.

ADDISON

1 See the text conveyed in Document 258.

[AA:A1838/2, 342/2]