353 Department of External Affairs to Beasley

Cablegram 1886, CANBERRA, 30 May 1948

ITALIAN COLONIES My immediately preceding telegram. Your reply to Secretary-General of Deputies should include the following:-

'The Australian Government has already, in its letter of 28th October, 1947, notified its willingness to accept an invitation from the Conference of Deputies, to state its views on the disposal of the former Italian Colonies. However, as stated on that occasion, the Government does not wish to present its views until it has received and studied the reports of the Commission of Investigation.

The position of the Australian Government in this matter has been made clear from the outset of the meetings of Deputies. Its interest in the future of the former Italian Colonies derives both from its desire for a just settlement and from the vital contribution of its armed forces to the success of the military campaigns in North Africa. The obligation of the Four Powers to take into consideration the views of interested governments is clearly stated in Annex XI of the Peace Treaty with Italy. The Australian Government cannot perceive how the present decision of the Deputies to hear the views of interested governments before they have studied the reports of the Commission of Investigation is either in accord with the Treaty or likely to be of benefit to the Deputies themselves.

It is readily understandable that the Deputies would wish to hear at an early stage those governments who have territorial claims. The Australian Government has no territorial claims. Its sole desire is to contribute to a constructive and democratic solution of the problem before the Four Powers. The presentation of any constructive solution is impossible without access to full information, particularly the reports of the Commission of Investigation.

The Australian Government can see no purpose in making a statement at this stage. The Australian Government reserves its right to state its views either to the Deputies or the Council of Foreign Ministers, should it so desire, at the appropriate time, when the reports of the Commission of Investigation have been received and studied.'

[AA : A1838, 85/4/3]