246 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 58 LONDON, 11 February 1947, 6.45 p.m.


Your 48. Peace Treaty with Germany.

Owing to prolonged Cabinet meeting it was impossible to see Addison this morning, but Mighell [1] and Bridgland had meeting with Strang and heads of Dominions Office during which the Australian Government's dissatisfaction with the proposals outlined in D.117 and 118 was expressed. The importance attached by Australia to the principle that the final decisions should be made by full conference of active belligerents rather than by Council of Foreign Ministers was stressed.

2. Strang speaking personally said this principle was basic and would not be agreed to by either Russians or French it was still uncertain what attitude the United States would adopt on the matter. United Kingdom authorities, he said, felt it was useless to propose something which would almost certainly be rejected, the effect might only be to have other points put forward by United Kingdom rejected at the same time. (see D.117). On being pressed further Strang said he could not himself make so fundamental a change in the United Kingdom proposals but would refer the question to responsible ministers and, in order to do this would probably postpone the presentation of the United Kingdom paper until tomorrow afternoon. He added, however, that the presentation should not be deferred beyond that time.

3. Strang said no mention had been made of interim agreement because instructions to deputies limited them making recommendations concerning the preparation of the peace treaty and it would be for the Foreign Ministers themselves to decide whether or not an interim statute or agreement was necessary. The United Kingdom proposals, he said, were not intended to exclude the possibility of an interim agreement.

4. When asked what was meant by countries having a direct interest in certain matters, Strang said that this point was still under discussion by the deputies and he appeared unwilling to be more specific at this stage.

5. On being asked what was meant by 'comment either orally or in writing' (see D.118, paragraph 3(1), Strang said that in putting forward the United Kingdom proposals he would elaborate on this point by saying it was intended that if representatives wished they might ask questions with a view to obtaining amplification or elucidation on any points made in other representatives' submissions. He gave it as his personal view that deputies or Foreign Ministers would join in discussion and answer questions at meetings which they attend.

6. Before this morning's meeting we learned that the Canadian High Commissioner had received a telegram from Ottawa, as a result of which he was unlikely to make any representations. In view of likely postponement of sub-commission to deputies of United Kingdom proposals, I am keeping in touch with Robertson and will endeavour to speak by telephone this afternoon with Addison to stress in particular importance we attach to principle of making final decisions at plenary conference.

1 N.R. Mighell, Deputy High Commissioner, London.

[AA : A1068, E47/15/5/2/11]