Skip to main content

Historical documents

473 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 178 LONDON, 21 April 1942, 8.22 p.m.


For the Prime Minister. Russia.

Question of position of Dominions in the event of negotiations
between United Kingdom and Russia for treaty being successfully
concluded has been receiving some consideration.

Position as I see it is as follows:

It would be acceptable to Russia that Dominions should be parties
as well as United Kingdom, but most improbable that Canada or
South Africa would be willing.

It would be admirable if agreement acceptable to all Dominions
could be arrived at and embodied in a treaty to which they were
parties. It would, however, be undesirable that some Dominions
should be parties, as this would be interpreted as indicating a
divergence of the attitude towards Russia in the British Empire.

As unanimity almost certainly unobtainable wisest course would
seem for treaty to be solely between United Kingdom and U.S.S.R.

In such case unless declaration made by any Dominion to the
contrary, which unlikely, general assumption would be that
Dominions were in accord with what had been done.

I shall be obliged if you will let me have your views. [1]


1 On 26 April the External Affairs Dept replied that since the
treaty affected European reconstruction and frontiers it was
primarily a matter for the U.K. Govt and that the arguments
advanced by Bruce against formal participation by the Dominions
were accepted. See cablegram 153 on file AA:A2680, 39/1942.

[AA:A2680, 39/1942]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top