242 Chifley to Attlee

Cablegram 399 CANBERRA, 23 November 1946, 1 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Reference my telegram No. 347. [1]

The Australian Government has now considered the recommendations of the Evetts Mission in paragraph 2 of your telegram No. 316 [2] and the proposals in paragraphs 3 to 6.

2. Subject to provisions of paragraphs 3 to 5 hereunder, the Government agrees with (i) the recommendation of Evetts' Mission that an experimental range and a supporting development establishment should be set up in Australia.

(ii) The recommendation of mission [a]s to area to be used for range.

(iii) The proposals in paragraphs 3 and 4 of your telegram that (a) the first step should be to install the necessary facilities at range head and along the first 300 miles of range, and that remainder of range area should be reserved for future use as and when required;

(b) for the purpose of (a), Lieutenant General Evetts should be sent to Australia accompanied by a small technical staff to collaborate with Commonwealth authorities concerned in detailed planning and execution of project;

(c) pending determination as to extent of development work to be carried out in Australia, the Salisbury explosives and filling factory to continue to be held in reserve for this project.

In view however of Government's previous intention to utilise this factory for commercial industry, it would be appreciated if firm proposals could be submitted as early as possible so that extent to which whole or part of factory will be required as a development establishment can be determined.

3. Before arriving at our conclusions on proposal in paragraph 5 of your telegram for establishment in London of a special joint body representative of United Kingdom and Australian Governments, for reaching decisions on questions of policy, we would be glad if further information could be furnished on proposed functions of this body. This is necessary in order that its authority in relation to United Kingdom and Australian Governments may be clearly defined. From Australian Government's standpoint, it is considered that if Government is to accept responsibility as suggested for executive arrangements for installing and maintaining facilities to agreed requirements at range and development establishment, questions of policy including major projects to be undertaken and broad facilities including . .

.buildings, equipment and staff required, should be submitted for its approval. This is important, not only from aspect of Government's accountability for what is done in Australia, but also as regards any consequential financial commitments which may have to be met by it.

4. In regard to financial aspect referred to in paragraph 6 of your telegram, we would prefer to defer a decision on question of apportionment of expenditure until estimates of full capital and maintenance costs of project are available, and details submitted by United Kingdom Government as to amounts which will be incurred in United Kingdom and Australia. In absence of such information, the Australian Government is unable to agree with your suggestion 'that a decision should be taken in principle now that the Commonwealth and United Kingdom Governments should bear respectively that part of expenditure in connection with this project which is incurred in Australia and United Kingdom.' Furthermore, from budgetary aspect, extent of Australian commitment for this project will need to be considered in light of provision necessary for other defence responsibilities of Australian Government, and other obligations of a British Commonwealth nature which may be undertaken by it, vide paragraphs 4 and 6 of telegram No. 392 [3] in reply to your telegram No. 355.

[4]

5. In view of magnitude and importance of project and numerous considerations involved, Australian Government's approval in paragraph 2 is subject to a satisfactory agreement being arranged between United Kingdom and Australian Governments to cover all aspects including Australian participation in work, access to information both in cost and in United Kingdom, the financial basis and method of control of undertaking. Latter aspect is of importance in view of fact that work will be carried out in Commonwealth, and it may give rise to matters for which Australian Government must be answerable. It is proposed that a draft agreement be drawn up by Australian authorities, in consultation with United Kingdom representatives under Lieutenant General Evetts, for consideration by Australian Government as a basis for discussion with United Kingdom Government. Provision relating to policy and financial aspects will require to be formulated in light of decisions reached in pursuance of paragraphs 3 and 4 above.

1 Document 143.

2 Document 129.

3 Document 233.

4 Document 205.

[AA:A3317/1, 333/46]