392 Makin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1094, WASHINGTON, 8 October 1948, 10.38 a.m.

SECRET

My 1085. Defence Representative.

State Department note today makes following comments 'based on careful consideration by the Department of Defense and the Department of State of the proposed appointment'.

Begins. 'At the present time, no defence representatives are accredited to the Secretary of Defense. It will be appreciated that if United States Government were to acced to the proposed appointment of an Australian Defence representative it would probably be obliged to accept similar representation from other countries. The disadvantages which would follow the establishment of such a precedent will, it is believed, outweigh any advantages which would be gained from the appointment. It is regretted that in the circumstances the United States Government must decline to concur in the appoint of an Australian Defence Representative. It is believed, however, that existing channels of communication will be adequate for the transaction of such matters as may arise.' Ends.

2. After full discussion with Australian Service Representatives, I believe that there is little likelihood that we can persuade the present administration to concur in the appointment, although I believe there was some support for our proposal in Forrestal's office.

3. It is possible, however, that an approach early next year might have greater prospects of success, particularly if a Republican President and Congress are elected in November. Present indications are that Dewey[1] who has criticised the Administration's policy in China would place greater emphasis on the Far East, and might be favourably disposed towards a regional Defence arrangement in the Pacific for reasons similar to those which have led to his active interest in Western Europe unity.

4. I suggest, therefore that we postpone any further approach for the time being and that meantime, as a matter of domestic arrangement, the Senior Service Representative in Washington be authorized to communicate on joint service matters with the Secretary, Department of Defence. Consideration might also be given t[o] the desirability of establishing a joint service mission for which there is precedent.

[1] Thomas E. Dewey, Governor of New York state and Republican candidate for Presidential election.

[AA : A1068, DL47/5/2A]