279 Noel-Baker to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram D211, LONDON, 28 February 1948, 12.05 a.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 26th February No. 50. Germany.

1. When invitations were handed to Benelux representatives by leader of United Kingdom Delegation on behalf of United States, France and United Kingdom Delegations, the Netherlands Ambassador speaking for all three Benelux Governments asked which items of agenda the three occupying powers considered to be their concern and not open to discussion with Benelux representatives. As previously agreed between United States, French and United Kingdom Delegations, Sir W. Strang[1] said that these items were e.g. relationship of Western Germany under the occupying powers to the European Recovery Programme which would deal with mechanism of representation of Western Germany on ERP bodies, item E (reparations) which related to certain aspects of reparations question which were of immediate concern to occupying powers and those aspects of item F e.g. trizonal fusion which were of particular interest to the three occupying powers.

2. Summary of preliminary United Kingdom - United States discussions which has been telegraphed separately will have shown how United States and United Kingdom Delegations envisage course of tripartite discussions. It will further have been seen from that telegram and from information sent separately about previous exchange of views with United States Government that tripartite discussions are informal and exploratory.

3. We hope that in light of foregoing information and of our other messages some of which crossed your telegram under reply Australian Government will feel reassured that current tripartite discussions will not prejudice their right to put forward their views at appropriate time. We shall of course ourselves be glad to receive at any time any views which Australian Government may express to us confidentially.

[1] Sir William Strang, Permanent Under-Secretary, UK Foreign Office (German Section).

[AA : A1838, 29/2/3/7, II]