253 Australian Government to Addison

Cablegram 58 (extract) CANBERRA, 24 February 1947, 3.15 p.m.


Your telegram D.175. Procedure for German settlement.

1. As you are aware, Australian views on appropriate procedure have already been communicated in detail to Deputies of the Council of Foreign Ministers. These envisage fullest participation at all stages of the German settlement of active belligerents against Germany, including a conference of active belligerents which can take final decisions on the terms of the settlement.

2. Having regard to this overriding principle of justice, the proposals you mention seem very inadequate. Indeed it is very difficult to obtain from the summary given any clear general picture of the numerous and varying proposals put forward by the Deputies. The following important points arise:-

(a) There is no assurance that a Conference of active belligerents will be held even on the restricted Paris model;

(b) There appears to be no certainty as to- (i) the composition and functions of the proposed Consultation and Information Committee; or (ii) the composition of and procedure to be adopted in respect of Standing Committees and Sub-Committees;

(c) There are proposals that some belligerents, merely on geographical or similar grounds, should be allowed to play a more extensive part than others in the preparation of the German settlement. We learn of such proposals with surprise because, if adopted, they will inevitably cause indignation in view of the relatively small contributions to victory of some such countries as compared with British Dominions.

3. The attitude of the United Kingdom, United States and French delegates appears to be at variance with their attitude as reported at earlier stages by our representatives in London.

[matter omitted]

In general, we are forced towards the conclusion that the Deputies are agreed that, while the fullest participation of active belligerents was required in time of war, such participation is inappropriate or undesirable in drafting the peace settlements. We cannot believe that the Prime Minister and Members of the Cabinet approve such an attitude by the Deputies, which is opposed to repeated assurances given by British and other allied leaders during the war.

4. It is therefore impossible for us to agree that the procedure described in your D.175 is satisfactory. If the views of the Deputies are accepted in their present form without modification and addition, it will have a very unfortunate public effect.

5. We therefore request the support on the highest level of the United Kingdom Government to ensure that the procedure for the German settlement will be based on democratic principles, and in particular we request that the British nations, without whose support from the outset the war against Germany could hardly have been won, are given a really effective and not merely a formal, part in the peace settlements. [1]

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