68 Department of External Affairs to Legation in Paris

Cablegram P155 CANBERRA, 14 August 1946

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Defence Committee has expressed the view that such draft Treaties as they have seen are generally consistent with Australian defence policy. [1] The Committee adds, however- Begins-

Although it is not expressly referred to in the Italian draft Treaty the Defence Committee noted from Dominions Office Cablegram No.D.725 of 22nd July, that the Council of Foreign Ministers has agreed that the final disposal of Italian territorial possessions in Africa shall be determined jointly by the Governments of the U.S.S.R., U.S.A., United Kingdom and France, within one year of coming into force of the present Treaty, in the manner laid down in the joint declaration of 12th July, 1946, issued by the said Governments. The Defence Committee considered that in order that British Naval and Air communications in the Mediterranean are adequately safeguarded, it is most desirable that the United Kingdom Government should obtain the trusteeship of Cyrenaica and Tripolitania. In this connection the Committee affirmed the following views communicated to you in my memorandum of 3rd May, 1944:-

1. That no territories south of the Suez Canal should be left in Italian hands.

2. That the disposition of Italian Overseas Possessions in the Mediterranean Area should be such that British Naval and Air communications in the Mediterranean are adequately safeguarded.

In recording the above opinions at this stage, the Committee has requested that when the question of trusteeship of Italian colonies arises the matter be referred for examination from the Defence aspect.

1 The External Affairs Dept had submitted to the Defence Dept, in a memorandum of 9 July, copies of draft peace treaties with Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Finland which were to be considered at the Paris Peace Conference.

[AA:A1067, E46/38/7]