241 Beasley and Hodgson to Evatt

Cablegram 29 LONDON, 20 January 1947, 9.30 p.m.


A meeting of British Commonwealth representatives was held this evening and the question of procedure for treaties was dealt with.

Dominions Office No- 41 paragraph 5 shows a big advance by the Soviet Delegate on the question of consultation and association by active belligerents but his proposed paper may modify this. [1] You will appreciate that he is contemplating post Moscow steps and not procedure relating to the present meetings.

On Thursday we will put an oral case on procedure and general opinion of Strang and meeting was that, while the Soviet Delegate would not refuse to hear us, it would be difficult now to get the Deputies to adopt the procedure and methods we are advocating for this first step.

However, we will fight hard on this and all other Dominions will subsequently support. The immediate question for your decision is- 1. Whether we, at this stage, put in a written paper on substance and discuss first procedure and then substance on Thursday.

2. Make no further written communication at this stage, and discuss procedure solely on Thursday.

3. If the Deputies adhere to their rigid interpretation or rather fail to move Gousev, refrain from putting in any written paper on substance and refrain from commenting orally on substance.

As to 3, we feel in the light of Dominions Office 41, we are going along reasonably well, and it would be a tactical mistake to refrain as other Governments will certainly put up papers and elaborate orally. South Africa will speak on both procedure and substance. In this respect, Canada has today asked the Deputies the question 'what assurances are the special Deputies prepared to give to the Government of Canada that opportunity will be given at a future date to discuss the settlement with Germany either with the special Deputies or with the Council of Foreign Ministers?'.

In the first place, Deputies cannot give such an assurance as this is a matter for C.F.M. but Dominions Office 41, paragraph 5 would appear to meet it.

The Canadian High Commissioner is under some doubt if his Government will put in a paper unless Canada is satisfied with recommended procedure after Moscow. But Strang replies they cannot at this stage indicate what their recommendations will be.

Would also be glad if you would give your views on how you visualise working out of consultation after the C.F.M. lay down any general principles or directives until the final Peace Conference or signature Interim Agreement. South Africa envisages creation after March 10th of four committees with sub-committees in the work of which- (a) presentation of oral and written views, (b) right to obtain documentation, (c) right to discuss directives.

They are working out a paper on these lines to present to the Deputies assuming Australia is not ruled out of court on procedure on Thursday.

Hearings on Austria are being held separately this week, and we are due to speak on Friday. Your decision on Germany will determine whether we put in a written paper beforehand.

Suggest you might repeat your reply to Capetown, Ottawa and New Zealand as another meeting is being held on Friday morning and they are all vitally concerned.

1 Cablegram 41 of 18 January from Addison to the Australian Government reported on discussions by the deputies for Germany On 17 January. Paragraph 5 reported the Soviet deputy (Gousev) as talking about how the Council of Foreign Ministers might consult and discuss a German peace treaty with governments of other states which had fought against Germany.

[AA : A108, E47/15/5/2/11]