303 Evatt to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 751 WASHINGTON, 11 June 1946

Regarding D.O. telegram D.566 [1], following are comments on message:

1. There is overwhelming cause for consulting actual belligerents at conference rather than remitting discussions to United Nations majority of whom had nothing to do with winning war and some of whom were unfriendly neutrals.

2. It is interesting to note United States in thinking of Peace Conference intended to invite all United Nations. They changed policy not because Soviet insisted, but because Australia and other belligerents insisted on right to share in peace-making after sharing in fighting.

3. There might be more justification for reference to United Nations of situation caused by unsettled peace terms after conference of belligerents has met. As it is, there is nothing to stop situation from being brought before Security Council by any member of United Nations, and until it is disposed of the Assembly will have no Jurisdiction.

4. Most disturbing aspect of both telegrams is fact that decision as to course to be taken is assumed to be decision for two or three countries only. Even if matter is to be dealt with by United Nations through Council or Assembly, active belligerents should be invited to confer to determine steps to be taken. in other words, decision as to course should not be decision for two or three belligerent powers but all belligerents who desire to participate in such decision. This point is of crucial importance because fact is that, belligerents not included in Council of Foreign Ministers have not been given rights accorded them by Moscow decision of 4th December last [2] and they, as a very minimum, should at least be conferred with to determine next practical step which should be taken in accordance with their undoubted right to share in peace- making.

5. Therefore, if it is impossible for conference of belligerents to go ahead with peace-making, conference should be summoned to examine situation caused by failure of Council of Foreign Ministers to agree, and such a preliminary conference of belligerents should be summoned at earliest possible moment if it appears Council of Foreign Ministers will not reach agreement.

6. Message contained herein should go immediately to London, Wellington, Ottawa and Pretoria, and Dominions should be asked to communicate suggestions. Substance of suggestions should also be communicated to Washington, Paris and Nanking.

1 Dispatched 3 June, it reported on an exchange of telegrams between Bevin and Byrnes concerning the deadlock over summoning a peace conference. Byrnes had suggested in a broadcast that, if the Soviet Union remained obdurate, recourse might be had to the U.N.

General Assembly. Bevin had suggested three alternatives: the United Kingdom, United States, France, and perhaps China, might proceed without the Soviet Union; governments might make separate, bilateral peace treaties with enemy states; governments might make ad hoc arrangements with enemy states. Byrnes had rejected these alternatives, repeating his preference for recourse to the United Nations.

2 The proposal that all belligerents might attend a peace conference had been submitted, in fact, by the United States at the Moscow meeting on 18 December 1945, and accepted by the Soviet Union several days later.

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