358 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 470 CANBERRA, 31 August 1949, 4.15 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL

United States Embassy has informed us that it is proposed to direct the Supreme Commander to release to Thailand and France $80m (eighty million dollars) in gold which Japan had earmarked for those countries as a result of trade transactions between 1941-1943. Please obtain copy of procedure United States Government proposes which involves bringing the matter to the attention of FEC for information.

We are examining the matter and have informally reminded the Embassy that Thailand was an enemy country of Australia though not an enemy of U.S.A. Moreover there is as a result of the Peace Treaty concluded with Thailand an outstanding claim in the vicinity of two million pounds in respect to damage to Australian property and other compensation claims. We would expect an ally to respect our claim that we have a prior call on the gold assets earmarked for Thailand and now in the control of the occupying forces. You should do your best to see that the matter does not come to FEC before we have had the opportunity of sending a considered reply and of sending you necessary instructions.

[AA:A1838/2, 479/10/11]