386 Burton to Watt

Cablegram 11 CANBERRA, 16 January 1948


Minister has been giving consideration to taking initiative in securing Japanese Settlement in the light of complete United States-United Kingdom failure to achieve results. Minister has considered approaching Soviet on basis of assurance that territorial arrangements made during the war by Big Three will not be upset, which was the agreed opinion of the British Commonwealth Conference at Canberra. [1] It would seem to us that this would make voting procedures relatively unimportant, if there were no other major issues over which Russia might fear being out-voted.

There is no great urgency in taking action, but if opportunity arises with Vyshinsky or elsewhere, you might ascertain whether there are any other issues outside territorial arrangements in which voting procedures might become important. It should be emphasised always that ultimate agreement of all nations concerned is necessary, as all have to sign the peace treaty. It might be possible to obtain support for an eleven or twelve power conference with the understanding that territorial decisions already taken would not be challenged and that final voting procedure would require the concurrence of all eleven countries.

1 On opinions agreed at the Canberra Conference, see Volume 12, Document 363.

[AA:A1838/283, 69/1/3, i]