208 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram E71 CANBERRA, 17 October 1947, 12.05 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Pacific Bases. Ref. C.R.O.122 of 17th June, 1947.

1. United Kingdom Government is pressing for urgent comment on detailed proposals made by them last June regarding reply to be made to United States authorities on questions affecting rights to bases in the Pacific (chiefly Christmas and Canton Islands).

2. New Zealand's views agree in general with United Kingdom proposals that United States authorities should be given exclusive base rights on Christmas and Canton subject to full protection British Commonwealth civil aviation rights and adequate guarantee availability under all circumstances for military use by British Commonwealth countries, United States being obliged to maintain bases in question; also stipulation to be obtained regarding use of base facilities in American Samoa and access to air staging facilities in Philippines: declaration to be made that security in area is matter of concern to United States.

3. New Zealand authorities now propose to inform United Kingdom if no further comment received from us immediately that they agree with the answer suggested by United Kingdom. They appreciate proposals are a step backward from agreement reached at Prime Ministers' conference last year regarding regional security arrangements but feel that United Kingdom approach is sound in light of all circumstances, in particular apparent United States lack of interest in any regional arrangement.

4. Would be glad to have urgent expression of your views. Will inform New Zealand and United Kingdom representatives that Australian comment may be expected early next week. In making our reply we could suggest that Berendsen and yourself be associated with any approach to the United States Government on the points raised with the United Kingdom in the cable under reference.

[AA : A6494 T1, 1/6]