263 Evatt to Deschamps

Cablegram 52 CANBERRA, 27 March 1947


Your 74.

1. I am afraid that in your reporting you may lose sight of the need for continuous activity for the purpose of personally influencing the decisions that are to be taken.

2. It seems to me to be very wrong to extend membership of the Information and Consultation Conference to States whose only relationship with Germany was a nominal declaration of war. The British inclusion of Persia is subject the same criticism.

3. Marshall's declaration in favour of a Peace Conference is satisfactory so far as it goes, but again the inclusion of all States which were at war with Germany may make the area too wide.

4. There is a real objection to a requirement of two-thirds or a simple majority at the Conference if the inviting powers do as they did at Paris, namely, agree amongst themselves in advance to oppose any proposal which was not acceptable to all of them.

Bevin's reference to Caucus decisions is entirely misconceived. In the long run there must be unanimity. I am strongly inclined to the view that views should be expressed by all delegations on each contested point without the necessity for any majority being included as part of a rigid formula.

5. I see no objection to the hearing of German representatives.

This was done in the case of Italy and the satellite States and the same principle should apply to the Germans.

6. The point I wish to emphasise is that despite the difficulties I have mentioned, Marshall has gone much further towards a democratic Conference than any of the other four nations and that we are gradually becoming convinced that it is the British Foreign Office which is frequently reducing the role of the belligerents like the Dominions to one of extreme subordination. The excuse is usually put forward that other powers will not support the claims of Australia, Canada and the other nations. Marshall's demarche shows that this excuse does not always count.

7. I, therefore, wish you to make contact with Marshall expressing general appreciation of his attitude which is far more democratic than that to which the other powers have as yet subscribed. The Australian feeling in Parliament and the country is very hostile to the complete departure by the Council of Foreign Ministers from its original charter at Potsdam. Its function was not to make the peace treaties, but to do preparatory work in connexion with the peace treaties. Yet is has arrogated to itself rights which at the first the powers never thought they were conferring upon themselves. Secretary of State Byrnes made this point clear subsequently by saying:

'At Berlin, it certainly was never intended that the three powers present or the five powers constituting the Council should take unto themselves the making of the final peace. The Berlin declaration setting up the Council begins with the statement "The Conference reached the following agreement for the establishment of a Council of Foreign Ministers to do the necessary preparatory work for the peace settlements". The Council was not to make the peace settlements but to do the necessary preparatory work for the peace settlement.' 8. At the same time you will be most busy and insistent in placing our views before the attention of the Foreign Secretary himself.

You should also press the views on the American, Russian and French authorities, remembering that you are the head of the mission for the present moment and should not be fobbed off by being required to deal with persons possessing little authority.

9. I wish the reports that you are making were more frank and personal. Paragraph 4 of your 74 is most vague. [1] From whom did you gather the British reaction? The present message to you relies upon your discretion and is sent in complete frankness. The same attitude is expected from you.

10. A great wrong will be done to the country you represent if solemn promises given to us by the British leaders like Churchill to participate in the Peace Conference are not honoured both in spirit and in letter. Accordingly you will spare no effort towards achieving the just and democratic treatment to which we are entitled.

11. Since above I have received your 75. Your paragraph 2 again shows British prefer a pretended or a parade Conference to a genuine meeting place of active belligerents. Regarding paragraph 3, you will watch Australia's interests and protect them against any sell-out in favour of Canada.

12. You are authorised to make any background statement suggesting that United States wants a real Conference and Australia greatly appreciates Marshall's support towards a democratic peace.

1 The paragraph read: 'Today British reaction to Marshall's proposals is not entirely favourable especially on voting proposals for the peace conference.'

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