308 Department of External Affairs to Forsyth [1]

Cablegram 892 CANBERRA, 13 June 1946

South Seas Commission.

Telegram just received from Australian High Commissioner, Wellington advises that he discussed with Laking [2] on 12th June agenda for conference. [3] While New Zealand would be happy to accept Australian draft they would prefer to keep the agenda as general as possible and leave it to the Conference to work out details as to composition, functions, relationships with other bodies and so forth. They suggest the following alternative:

(1) Composition of the Commission including nature of Governmental representation.

(2) Territorial scheme.

(3) Functions and powers of the Commission.

(4) Administrative and budgeting arrangements:-

(a) location of the commission and secretariat (b) organisation of the secretariat (c) finance New Zealand feel that if the South Seas Conference were not properly controlled and suitably led, it would cause their Government some concern. They requested therefore that we should not proceed further with the agenda until either Laking or Craw [4] arrives in Canberra next week when we would be informed fully on the New Zealand approach.

It is desired that you discuss this with the Minister.

In the meantime it is important that we know urgently which Governments in addition to the United Kingdom and New Zealand are to be invited and in particular whether the U.S.A. will come.

There is also an urgent need to ascertain the level of representation and approximate size of delegations. Lack of information on these points is delaying planning of accommodation and preparation of appropriate conference documentation.

Position of the Dutch is still very uncertain and might be reviewed when range of other participating Governments is definitely established.

Reply from French Government should be received this week.

URGENT information on the United States position would be very helpful.

1 During the previous week, Forsyth had discussed conference preparations with New Zealand officials in Auckland while oil his way to New York.

2 G. R. Laking, N.Z. External Affairs Dept, 3 See Document 285.

4 Charles Craw, N.Z. External Affairs Dept.

[AA:A1067, ER46/2/7]