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144 Dixon to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram S55 WASHINGTON, 25 March 1943, 3 p.m.

Your P.W.21 paragraph 3. [1] I saw Cordell Hull to-day and
informed him that the Australian Government had seen the draft
declaration as to Colonies which Lord Halifax had left with him
[2] and that while so far as it went, the draft accorded with the
views of the Australian Government, I had been instructed to say
that the Australian Government was prepared to go further. [3] Mr.

Hull interposed and said that he thought I ought to know the
present position of the question of a declaration as to Colonies.

Some time ago when the Indian question appeared to be acute here
he had drafted a document himself for his own Government's
consideration. Then Lord Halifax had spoken to him and later
furnished him with a British draft. He had considered it and had
put it with some suggestions of his own before the President who
at length had promised to look at it last Sunday. He, Hull, had
spoken to Eden about it and possibly the President had done so
too. But the President had not communicated with him on the matter
since Sunday and he did not know whether he had considered it. He
and the President usually looked at things in much the same way,
having the same kind of philosophy, but he did not know what view
the President might take of the proposal to make a declaration or
of the kind of declaration put forward. He did not know whether
the President would have the same slant on it. But however that
might be, he, Hull, would like very much to have the views of the
Australian Government.

I then said that the Australian Government felt that the
trusteeship of the parent country ought to be as real as possible
and that accordingly the parent country should be accountable for
its administration of the trust. It would be necessary to work out
the manner of accounting. The question of Colonies formed only a
part of the general settlement after the war and in the course of
that settlement possibly an International Council might be set up
and that might provide a means of dealing with colonial
administration, or it might be done by some regional body.

The view of the Australian Government was that Colonies inhabited
by native races should be administered in the interests of the
peoples and for the common good of all and that according to their
social condition and political development the native peoples
should so far as practicable share in the government of the

Hull said that he was very interested in these views and was very
glad to have them expressed to him. The British Government, he
knew, felt it could not submit to direct interference of any
external international authority. He felt that we must look
forward to future developments, and the Americans had always been
guided by principles of liberty notwithstanding that the de
Gaullists were now saying that the United States had abandoned
them in North Africa in favour of Fascism. He then referred to the
careful development by the United States Government of self-
government and independence in the Philippines and intervention
over forty years ago to liberate Cuba. He asked me what were
Australia's colonial interests. I said that Australia's direct
interests were in Papua and the Mandated Territory of New Guinea
but we were naturally concerned in the whole of South-East Asia
and the South-West Pacific about which we realized there was no
fixity. I briefly stated how Papua and [the] Mandated Territory
respectively came under our control and mentioned the reports to
the League of our administration in the Mandated Territory and Sir
Hubert Murray's [4] work in Papua. Hull said that he was very glad
to know the Australian Government's views and expressed his own
great personal interest in Australia.


1 Evatt's cablegram PW21 of 18 March (on file AA:A989,
43/735/1021) instructed Dixon to keep the Commonwealth Govt 'very
fully informed as to Eden's real objective in United States' and
suggested that the time appeared opportune for Dixon to discuss
colonial policy with Hull.

2 See Documents 95-6 and 113.

3 See Documents 94, 97 and 115.

4 Lt Governor of Papua 1908-40.

[AA:A989, 43/735/1021]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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