388 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 542 CANBERRA, 7 May 1947, 5.20 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your 583 and 588. [1]

1. If matter brought to a vote, you should abstain.

2. You will appreciate that this action is a part of a series of actions which should have as their effect the hastening of a peace settlement.

3. We have been pressing for a preliminary British Commonwealth Conference at Canberra following on Minister's statement concerning an early peace conference. United Kingdom Government is reluctant to agree to conference at Canberra at the moment and negotiations are continuing. While this is for your own personal information, it will help to explain why, in the case of reparations and on any other matter related to the Peace Settlement, we wish to take the opportunity of pressing our views.

[2]

1 Dispatched 5 and 6 May respectively, they reported that the Australian view on reparations was clearly a minority of one to ten in the FEC, and detailed possible arguments against the Australian position that reparations were outside the jurisdiction of the FEC.

2 On 8 May the FEC, by ten votes to none, adopted a policy on the division of reparations shares, and decided to release the text of its resolution together with a statement that Australia abstained on the ground that the question should be decided by the peace conference.

[AA : A1838,479/10, iii]