363 Department of External Affairs to All Posts
Circular Cablegram CANBERRA, 1 September 1947, 2 p.m.
BRITISH COMMONWEALTH CONFERENCE
(This telegram is sent in place of usual weekly news bulletin) Conference commenced 26th August in House of Representatives.
Burmese delegate arrived 28th August.
2. Delegates-Australia (Dr. Evatt, Dedman, Pollard), Burma (Thakin Lun Baw, U Shwe Baw), Canada (Claxton and Greene), India (Rama Rau and Pararjpye), New Zealand (Fraser and Barclay), Pakistan (Rafi), South Africa (Lawrence), U.K. (Addison, McNeil, Williams).
3. Dr. Evatt was unanimously elected Chairman.
4. Agenda circulated by Australian Government with minor changes approved by Conference. (See my immediately following telegram.) Preliminary notes by Dr. Evatt on subjects covered by agenda setting out Australian policy were circulated before conference and have been used as the basis of the Conference discussion. They have received general acceptance from all delegates with a few minor exceptions.
5. General agreement exists on following:-
(a) Support for admission of Pakistan to Peace Conference.
(b) Level of representation at preliminary Peace Conference to be at Governmental level.
(c) Voting at Peace Conference to be by simple majority for procedural and drafting matters and two-thirds on substantive matters.
(d) Peace settlement should be pushed forward as rapidly as possible and initial meeting should be held not later than September.
(e) Peace Conference will have no alternative except to confirm territorial changes agreed to at Cairo, Potsdam and Yalta. Ryukyu, Bonin and Volcano Islands should pass to control of U.S.
(f) Japan should remain completely disarmed. All armament manufacture and naval shipbuilding should be forbidden.
(g) Japan should not be allowed to manufacture civil aircraft but general feeling seemed to be that she might be allowed to operate them in certain cases. Doubts were cast on feasibility of establishing an international corporation to run internal Japanese air services.
(h) Democratic principles included in Constitution should be embodied in Treaty but not Constitution itself.
(i) The constitutional principles implicit in the Potsdam Declaration, including protection of fundamental human rights should be written into Treaty.
There should be no discrimination in recruitment and promotion in Public Service, ultra-nationalistic societies, secret police and paramilitary organisations should not be established and State subsidies for Shintoism should not be given.
(k) Civil rights of aliens in Japan should be protected.
(l) Rights of Workers Associations should be assured.
(m) Process which has commenced of dissolving Zaibatsu should continue Japanese Government should undertake to do so.
(n) Subject to over-riding security controls, Japanese should be allowed to maintain a workable economy which would not make them a charge on the rest of the world.
6. Conference so far has been successful, and Australian policies and interests have obtained general support.