306 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram 758 NEW YORK, 12 June 1946, 5.28 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Regarding use of bases I have had conversation with Byrnes but this was purely of provisional and exploratory character. I told him position we had consistently maintained, and that if bases were to be maintained and used by United States as well as by ourselves, we could only justify this if United States assumed defence obligations in the area which would have to be defined, either broadly or with particularity.

By way of example I referred to the existing mutual defence board machinery as between Canada and United States. Byrnes' attitude was sympathetic, but non-committal, and he told me he did not quite appreciate our stand before, largely because in hurry and bustle of Paris, neither he nor Bevin had time to examine position carefully. He told me it would be difficult to justify to Congress assumption of any defence obligation in new area. I told him it would be more difficult to justify concession by us unless there was a clear quid pro quo, especially as even Portugal and Iceland had refused any concessions in regard to bases to the United States.

Upshot was Byrnes' suggestion that Chiefs of Staff and an Officer of State Department should explore the position with me and he should have a further discussion with me. This will probably take place next week after which I will report to you. I hear Nash will be coming over shortly in same connection.

1 Document 301.

[AA:A6494 T1, SPTS/1/5]