332 Record of Conference in Secretary's Room, Department of External Affairs

Extracts CANBERRA, 8 July 1947


Present: Dr. Evatt Sir Frederic Eggleston Dr. Burton Professor Bailey Mr. Forsyth Major Plimsoll Mr. Critchley Mr. Dexter DR.EVATT: I shall return from Japan on 15th August [1] and there had better be two meetings of the Advisory Committee for the Japanese Settlement before the British Commonwealth Conference on August 26th. The Premiers' Conference will take place about a week before the British Commonwealth Conference and as I will be in Canberra I will talk to the Advisory Committee soon after coming back from Japan. I hope your Advisory Committee is an anti-Jap Committee and not an appeasing committee.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: I think firmness in execution is more important than any declaration of toughness.

DR. EVATT: When will the Peace Conference be? MAJOR PLIMSOLL: In January, 1948, at the earliest.

DR. EVATT: Who will feed our documents to the Advisory Committee? MR. FORSYTH: Dexter. Should the Committee have PCPS D/14. [2]

Dr. Evatt: Oh yes, only don't call it D/14. Begin a new series of numbering so that the Advisory Committee won't want all the previous documents. I am not happy about the territorial provisions-not because I don't agree with it.

MR. FORSYTH: Perhaps some ideas might come out of Advisory Committee discussions.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: The suggestions in D/14 are only P.C.P.S.

suggestions. We will of course, later, have to make compromises when we get to the Treaty.

DR. EVATT: We must decide what things are vital to Australian security and also valuable from the material and economic viewpoint of Australia. There is also the question of Japan being built up as a bulwark against Russia.

[matter omitted]

DR. EVATT: Do you think the U.S. in sending invitations to the Peace Conference will lay down procedure? A telegram should go to Mr. Makin telling him to freeze up sending of invitations from U.S. to other states asking for their views on procedure. Mr.

Forsyth should watch. We must fight very desperately against the veto.

MR. FORSYTH: Does the U.S. still think F.E.C. should not be used to negotiate Japanese Peace Settlement? MAJOR PLIMSOLL: That is still their view, mainly because they think McCoy is all right at holding things up but not good at getting policies through. Also, F.E.C. cannot deal with territorial adjustments.

DR. EVATT: Why should Canada for instance be in the Peace Settlement? They will, I think, follow the U.S. in a crisis or will sit on the fence. They will sign anything. They were a miserable crowd at San Francisco.

MR. FORSYTH: They were cautious but acted in their own interests.

DR. EVATT: South Africa should not be in the Peace Settlement though I am glad to have them at the Canberra Conference.

MR. FORSYTH: Shouldn't the criterion be active participation in the war against Japan? DR. EVATT: Then we should cut out France and the Netherlands.

MR. FORSYTH: That would limit it to the Big Five.

DR. EVATT: I don't mind the Big Five if Australia is one of them.

MR. FORSYTH: What about New Zealand? DR. EVATT: The same thing applies. Mr. Curtin was horrified when New Zealand did not give a division in the Pacific war. [I] would like to take to Japan a paper on the Australian war effort.

MR. CRITCHLEY: There are figures on the Australian war effort.

DR. EVATT: I would like to go around with these figures. You, Plimsoll, say there is a struggle between the War and State Departments? MAJOR PLIMSOLL: The War Department think in terms of a war against Russia. The State Department sincerely try to get along with other nations.

DR. EVATT: Who is the War Department? MAJOR PLIMSOLL: Patterson is nominally in charge but the dangerous man is Peterson. [3]

Ever since Stimson [4] the War Department has been becoming more dangerous. An increasing number of military men from the War Department have been going to the State Department including Marshall.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: It is obvious that Truman is more interested in soldiers.

DR. EVATT: That's because he was in the last war.

It is unreal and illogical not to have unanimity at the Peace Settlement. We opposed the two-thirds majority in Paris simply to keep questions alive but Russia exercised a little veto because she could marshal one-third of the votes. The U.K. was the worst of all at Paris and the enormity of their methods never understood.

DR. BURTON: We should make sure that the United Kingdom and other British Commonwealth countries don't go back on voting arrangements made at the Canberra Conference.

DR. EVATT: U.K. policy is to give concessions in the Pacific for similar ones in Europe.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: What is your idea for the Canberra Conference? DR. EVATT: As at London and San Francisco to see what are the view[s] of other British Commonwealth countries on procedure and substance.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: U.S. object to blocs.

DR. EVATT: Be damned! They do it themselves. You had better work out what other basic questions to be decided at the Japanese Settlement.


DR. EVATT: Some are not as vital as others. What are the vital questions? Control, I suppose? SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: Control, disarmament, and economic adjustment. Japan will eventually get to the top position in East Asia. Therefore Critchley says we should take reparations from current production.

MR. CRITCHLEY: If we take reparations not from current production a large dangerous pool of unemployed labour will be created.

Therefore we must endeavour to employ everybody and take reparations from current production. Asiatic countries are always ready to take reparations.

DR. EVATT: The U.S. idea is to build up Japan.

MR. FORSYTH: We should attack that idea.

DR. EVATT: I'm not supporting it.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: Some of our military people too, say Japan should be built up against Russia.

DR. EVATT: Montgomery doesn't think so. [He thinks that] [5] in Europe Germany is as dangerous as Russia. Brooke [6] used to think otherwise.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: If Japan is built up, a reading of her history shows she may go with Russia.

MR. FORSYTH: Therefore there should be complete disarmament.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: And a prolonged control is necessary.

MAJOR PLIMSOLL: There are many objections to reparations coming from current production. There would be none till 1950; there would be internal political difficulties in the eleven countries, and there would not be much in any case.

MR. CRITCHLEY: But we could build up Asiatic countries with reparations from current production and thus make them better markets for Australia.

DR. BURTON: The real danger in Japan [is that] [7] instead of textile workers producing textiles for consumption more and more would be put on to improving the efficiency of machinery.

Consequently the standard of living would drop. There would be no way of detecting this because you would not know anything about it.

DR. EVATT: You mean that instead of a factory producing sardines they would produce machine tools? I am sure that Sir Frederic's Committee will throw light on this subject. By the time of the Canberra Conference I would like Departmental views on this subject.

[matter omitted]

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: For the Canberra Conference what about sending out papers? DR. BURTON: Agenda notes are prepared.

DR. EVATT: Do not give them papers too early. When they arrive at Singapore or Darwin should be time enough. For the full Cabinet on 15th August I want a general statement on the general line to be taken at the Canberra Conference. Have you copies of the original documents such as Cairo, Yalta, Potsdam? Try and get material on the protocol of agreements.

MR. FORSYTH: There may be some more secret agreements produced out of the same old hat.

DR. EVATT: Professor Bailey should see D/14. I am worried about the United Kingdom claim for reparations. What contribution to victory in the Pacific did each country make? There has been no analysis in F.E.C. but just bidding. I want a good historical analysis on the subject. MacArthur's statements about Australian forces should be included. UK. list of 25% [for themselves] [8] and 8 1/2% for Australia is an insult. Knock it to smithereens! The U.S. and Australia were the main Pacific belligerents but the U.S. did better out of Lend-Lease than we did. Something should be done not for the sake of reparations claim but for the sake of Australia.

DR. BURTON: Aren't we going to get to a complete lack of agreement. We don't want any reparations.

DR. EVATT: But I want a statement for prestige.

DR. BURTON: Why not give up asking and just assume we are the second power in the Pacific. Let's take the initiative and re- distribute reparations say to Indonesia and the Philippines.

DR. EVATT: Do not forget civil damage to our nationals and whaling equipment.

DR. BURTON: Let's give away the proportion allotted to us. Let's ensure that we can obtain physically what we want out of current production, e.g. silk.

MR. FORSYTH: The proportion must be established if a number of countries are to share.

SIR FREDERIC EGGLESTON: I agree with Burton. Asiatic countries should get the maximum benefit.

MR. FORSYTH: That would avoid the question of prestige.

MAJOR PLIMSOLL: U.S. and Australia should make a joint statement giving away reparations.

DR. EVATT: Reparations is one of the great questions. U.S. will make any bargain which will redound to their credit. I would like further information on this.

1 Evatt visited Japan from 11 July to 12 August.

2 PCPS D/14, entitled 'Draft Proposals on the Peace Settlement with Japan', was a comprehensive document which consolidated the work of the Preparatory Committee for the Peace Settlement up to July. It detailed a series of policy proposals that were to be incorporated in a peace treaty with Japan. Copies or extracts of PCPS D/14 were sent to all interested departments and overseas posts and their comments invited. Eggleston described PCPS D/14 as 'an early and full submission of the peace terms which we suggest for the Minister's consideration'.

3 Robert P. Patterson, US Secretary of War; Howard C. Peterson, US Assistant Secretary of War.

4 Henry L. Stimson, US Secretary of War, 1940-45.

5 Words in square brackets were added by hand.

6 Viscount Alanbrooke, formerly Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff 1941-46.

7 This sentence was amended by hand.

8 Words in square brackets were added by hand.

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