264 Australian Government to Addison

Cablegram 80 CANBERRA, 30 March 1947, 4.40 p.m.



1. We are deeply concerned at reports that the United Kingdom are not prepared to support full participation in negotiations by the Dominions and other substantial belligerents to the extent which, in view of their contribution to victory, they are justified in expecting.

2.We are surprised to learn from our Charge d'Affaires, Moscow, that the Foreign Secretary has expressed himself in favour of the principle that the Four Powers should act practically en bloc during the negotiations. He is reported to have compared the Council of Foreign Ministers to a party caucus and to have added that he would not dream of going back in Parliament on a policy agreed on in caucus. The comparison is both revealing and unconvincing. He is also reported to have said he personally was quite satisfied with the procedure adopted at Paris.

3. We can only conclude that the objections aroused at the Paris Conference by the prior undertaking of the Four Powers not to accept any amendment to proposals on which the Council of Foreign Ministers had reached previous agreement are not fully appreciated by the Foreign Office. As we have repeatedly submitted, this undertaking meant that many constructive proposals were not even considered on their merits. It now appears that this undemocratic principle is favoured by United Kingdom even during the preparatory stages of the German settlement in, for example, the information and Consultation Committee.

4. On the other hand, we are appreciative of the United States' firm. support for the holding of a peace conference at which all invited nations would have equal rights. It now appears that the Secretary of State has gone much further towards a democratic conference than any other members of the Council of Foreign Ministers. Indeed, it has been reported to us that members of the United Kingdom delegation in Moscow are not prepared to back him to the full and hope that the functions of the conference will be largely formal.

5. We had been advised that it was only the difficulty of carrying the United States and France with the United Kingdom Government that prevented them from supporting our objective of full participation. We are being forced to the conclusion, as a result of reports from Moscow, that in fact the United Kingdom is not helping the Dominions to obtain the rights to which they are entitled and that this is so despite misleading broadcast propaganda suggesting the contrary.

6. It is necessary, therefore, to emphasise once again that our requests for full participation are based on rights earned by our contribution in the war and not on any privilege conferred by the four powers. We strongly urge that the United Kingdom delegation in Moscow be instructed to make a genuine stand for a fully democratic procedure. It was never intended that the Council of Foreign Ministers should make the peace. Mr. Byrnes, in a broadcast of 5th October, 1945, said:

'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 settlement but to do the necessary preparatory work for the peace settlement'.

7. It was because of the unsatisfactory meeting in London that Australia suggested as a last resort even a single British Commonwealth delegation to the Council of Foreign Ministers. This expedient has disadvantages but it would at any rate safeguard us more than present Moscow procedures.

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