331 Gordon Walker to Australian Government

Cablegram H115, LONDON, 12 April 1948, 9.30 p.m.

IMPORTANT SECRET

Our telegrams of 9th March dealt with United Kingdom attitude towards the then forthcoming meeting of C.E.E.C. to discuss the setting up of a Continuing Organisation and stated that it was our firm intention that there should be full consultation at every stage with other Commonwealth Governments on these important matters. At a meeting which Foreign Secretary held at that time with Dominion High Commissioners in London[1], we reaffirmed this and said that it was our policy to keep in the closest contact with Commonwealth Governments on all E.R.P. and related questions.

2. We have continued, and shall continue, to give effect to this policy through the channel of inter-Governmental communications. In addition we have been considering how we can best supplement such inter-Governmental communications by the creation of machinery which will enable us to keep Commonwealth Governments in close day to day touch with developments in the E.R.P. field in greater detail than is possible or appropriate at the higher level.

3. We have in mind the establishment in London of a special Committee for this purpose with representatives of all Commonwealth Governments. This Committee would provide a channel for supplying expeditiously full and detailed information on E.R.P. and Continuing Organisation matters, so as to ensure that oversea representatives would be in a position to keep their Governments currently informed of the existing position on detailed matters.

4. The Committee would be at the official level and would comprise representatives of the Foreign Office, Treasury, Board of Trade and Commonwealth Relations Office, with a member of the United Kingdom delegation to the Continuing Organisation present whenever appropriate. We should hope that Commonwealth countries represented on it would be Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Eire, India, Pakistan, Ceylon and Southern Rhodesia. Meetings might take place fortnightly in the first place.

5. We hope that the Commonwealth Governments will agree to nominate a representative on the Committee who could of course be one of their staff already in London if desired. As the European Recovery Act has now been passed, and the Continuing Organisation is about to be set up, we should like to establish the Committee as soon as possible. An early reply would therefore be appreciated.

[1] See Document 329.

[AA : A3318, L48/3/18]