12 Department of External Affairs to Officer

CANBERRA, 6 July 1946 Cablegram HAGUE 44


South Seas Commission.

You will be familiar with general outlines of proposed South Seas Organisation described in Australia New Zealand Agreement. At recent London talks it was agreed that Australia and New Zealand should convene conference in Canberra for purpose of establishing Advisory Commission consisting of representatives of Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, France and possibly Netherlands. Also decided that Australia should sound out United States, French and Netherlands Governments to discover whether invitation to attend such conference would be favourably received.

French Government has evidenced willingness to attend provided- (a) no mention in invitation of advice on 'political development' of native peoples as function of Commission.

(b) no strongly unfavourable reaction from United States on question of United States participation.

United States Government at present considering matter. Early reactions as far as State Department concerned are favourable. We hope to have some definite indication next week.

After some discussion here Government has decided (with approval of New Zealand) to sound out Netherlands opinion in regard to participation. It was agreed that, although Netherlands territorial interest in South Pacific is small, comprising only Dutch New Guinea, which looks rather to Netherlands East Indies for its economic, social and political development, exclusion of Dutch would look rather pointed at this time and they should be given opportunity to participate. Possibly they may wish to establish a liaison with Commission and its Secretariat in regard to research work in certain matters, for example, agriculture, but that is entirely a matter for them to decide.

Present plan is for preliminary officials' discussion in August (about the 19th) followed by full ministerial conference at later date.

We do not wish you to make any enquiries yet as to whether an invitation would be welcomed by Dutch as we are waiting definite views of United States.

London Office can supply you with paper on subject which was used at recent Prime Ministers' Conference, also any other data on Commission, including Sir Frederic Eggleston's report to Dr.

Evatt. [1]

1 Conveyed in cablegram A103, dispatched 20 May.

[AA:A1067, ER46/2/7]