242 Evatt to Beasley and Hodgson

Cablegram 23 CANBERRA, 22 January 1947, 5.35 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE

Your 24 and 29.

No further written communication is necessary at this stage. At Thursday's meeting you should concentrate on procedure which is basic to the whole question. Telegram 14, though it deals with procedure for the whole settlement, is not merely procedural but has much wider significance.

2. It is particularly important that you should press our proposal for an Interim Agreement. We still consider that this should be prepared at the next meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers, subject to full participation by all belligerents in such preparation. We realise that this would involve modification of the agenda of the March meeting, but do not regard this as an obstacle. The Council of Foreign Ministers appears quite vague as to its next steps, and while its members vacillate the position in Germany may well deteriorate further.

3. Your 24. The views expressed in our 15 are necessarily provisional. [1] We would not be prepared to expand them at this stage. In our view we can only usefully do so in the course of a free exchange of views with representatives of all other belligerents, with access to all facts and proper arrangements for full and free discussions.

4. On questions of substance you should therefore exercise caution and reserve, all the time seeking the opportunity to express our views more fully at a later date.

1 In a long cablegram 15 of 13 January, Evatt advanced Australian political and economic policy regarding a German peace treaty. Two major planks were that a treaty should not be so harsh as to encourage a revival of Nazism and that it should not be considered in isolation but as part of a 'just and durable overall peace structure'. Hodgson's cablegram 24 of 17 January sought more detail on how Evatt envisaged the interim government of Germany.

[AA : A1068, E47/15/5/2/6]