277 Beasley to Chifley

Cablegram 147 LONDON, 1 May 1947, 6 p.m.


Reference my letter 18th March for-warding one from Dominions Secretary expressing hope that Australia would give fullest consideration to the possibility of signing and accepting constitution of International Refugee Organisation. Have today received further letter from Dominions Office as follows:


Much anxiety is felt by us that constitution of I.R.O. may not, through the default of the necessary number of signatures, enter into force before the end of June when U.N.R.R.A. is closing clown its activities. Situation has now become very precarious as, although 12 or possibly 13 Governments have signed the Constitution we are still short of the necessary number of signatures and of the small further contribution to operational funds which is required in order that the constitution may be brought into force and if it cannot be brought into force within next two or three weeks, it looks as though the whole scheme for an International solution of refugee problem on which we have been working so hard for past eighteen months, might have to be abandoned with most disastrous consequences, not only from social and economical, but even from the political point of view. Indeed, if no solution of refugee problem is found, these unhappy people will constitute a disturbing element which may well prejudice and delay economic, social and political recovery of Europe and constitute a further element of potential friction in a situation which is already quite dangerous enough.


Lord Addison would be very glad to hear as soon as possible any views that the Commonwealth Government may have on the memo enclosed with my letter to you of 18th March.

Since that letter was received, it has been learned that New Zealand is arranging to sign the constitution without reservation.


1 Cabinet decided on 12 May to join the I.R.O. Hodgson signed the constitution the following day.

[AA : A1068, ER47/3/9]