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153 Draft Memorandum by Forsyth

[CANBERRA], 7 April 1943



1. The principle of United Nations supervision of administration
in some non-selfgoverning territories (Part II of Hull Draft)
should be extended to cover all such territories.

2. It should be made clear where responsibility for present
Mandated Territories is to lie and what their status is to be. Are
further mandates to be allotted? And what is the future of the
Mandate System generally?
3. The Draft unduly stresses self-government. The attainment of
autonomy is a practical question as yet in only a few colonial
territories. To make autonomy the principal concern and at the
same time to include all colonies within the purview of the
Declaration is unreal, it might well be the grounds of a charge of
lack of intellectual and even of moral integrity.

4. Further to (3), if matters of primary concern other than self-
government are involved (e.g. security bases, international air
transport, application of Article VII) this should be made

5. Further to (3) and (4), if self-government is the main
objective with which the Declaration is to deal, then its steps
should be restricted to colonial areas which are within reasonable
distance of that goal. Other colonies could then be dealt with
separately. But this seems undesirable on several grounds, and so
the Declaration should be more comprehensive in scope and more
precise as to its application to colonies according to their real
characteristics and their different stages of development. (There
is precedent in Article 22 of the League Covenant, in which three
classes of Mandate were distinguished.)
6. Elucidation of Part II [2] is necessary. What territories are
in mind?
7. Economic provisions should be clarified and strengthened.

Especially it is noted that point (e) of paragraph (1) Section I
[3] covers only the development of colonial territories and not
the access of other countries to their markets, which would be
expanding pari passu with development.


1. Australia's first concern is the winning of the war. Maximum
resistance to Japan depends on a bold statement of United Nations
aims, calculated to stimulate conquered peoples to resistance,
active where and when possible, passive at the least. The
statement must also satisfy public opinion in China, India, the
United States and elsewhere in regard to 'Imperialism' and the
future of colonies. At present our political warfare in the
Pacific is stunted and frustrated by the lack of a definite and
positive general directive. A Declaration on Colonial Policy
should go far towards filling this need.

2. Australia's second concern is future security. Stability in the
Pacific Area is essential to this. Our interests are incompatible
with reversion to a colonial system which would be on the one hand
a standing challenge to non-colonial powers such as Germany and
Japan, and on the other an affront to the colonial peoples, or the
growing number of them who inevitably imbibe modern ideas and
education. Further, our special position in the Pacific dictates a
long-term interest in the cultivation of political, economic and
social strength and maturity among the native communities of
South-East Asia and Indonesia. Events have proven the weakness of
an order in this part of the world which was only the projection
of separate western powers and interests and was dependent on
European rather than Local and Pacific considerations. There must
be built up in the course of time a self-subsisting Western
Pacific system, and the Sooner a start is made the better from
Australia's point of view. Western guidance must necessarily
remain for a considerable time, but it is vital that
administration and development be subject to external supervision,
and Australia must insist on this and on full participation in it.

3. Linked with security (and of more immediate significance for
Pacific stability than the social and political development of the
colonial peoples) is the economic question. Australia is
interested in future economic opportunities in Pacific countries,
especially in Indonesia and South-East Asia, and it is important,
therefore, that there should not be discrimination against us. But
our interest far transcends this: we wish this area to cease to be
a zone of international political conflict. This means
dissociating political control from economic advantages, i.e. the
abandonment of discriminatory policies all round. Markets as well
as raw materials must be open to all nations on equal terms, and
investments subject to conditions determined by the interests of
the territories and not those of particular extraneous powers and
groups. Competing interests, in short, must be confined to the
economic plane. But the strength of some of the firms and
corporations interested in the region and their influence with
their home governments are such that individual governments within
the region will need the constant support and surveillance of
properly-constituted development and financial agencies
responsible to the United Nations.

4. There is a positive counterpart to this negative policy of
removing inequalities of opportunity. For stability in the Pacific
it is necessary not only to remove discriminatory barriers, but
also to expand opportunities. Australia stands to gain in two ways
from a definite policy of fostering productivity and standards of
living in the Western Pacific. In the first place our own export
trade would benefit. But again our larger interest is more
fundamental than this commercial one: there cannot be stability in
the Pacific and consequently there cannot be any long-lived
security for Australia unless the explosive energies of Japan find
accommodation. Japan must export either goods or people. The
condition on which industrial countries with a growing population
can maintain their standard of living and pursue a non-aggressive
external policy is that they have outlets for the product of their
energies. Future stability in our region will therefore depend
largely on the expansion of opportunities for trade and
investment. This principle cannot be limited to the Pacific area
since the trade of Japan or any other country is affected by
conditions in all parts of the world; but South-East Asia is an
obvious and appropriate field for international action to foster
development, productivity, rising standards and expanding trade.

The development and financial agencies suggested in paragraph (3)
should be charged with this work.

5. A security system in the Pacific will stand or fall ultimately
according as the economic settlement gives real prospects of a
decent living for all Pacific peoples. But it is essential also
that the short-cut to wealth by conquest be excluded and that
national ambitions and cults of power be denied any chance of
successful aggression. Stability cannot be assured by a security
system alone, although it cannot be achieved without such a
system. Australia needs and will co-operate in an international
police force in the Pacific. But our share in it must be such that
we will be in a position-geographically in regard to bases falling
to our care, industrially in regard to armament production,
militarily in regard to trained and equipped forces of all arms-
such that in the event of the system becoming weakened by
political, economic or demographic changes, we should be ready to
defend ourselves. If an international police system succeeds and
endures, so much the better, but we have to consider the not
impossible contingency of its disintegration. It is therefore
desirable that we should be given direct responsibility for the
police system in the area adjacent to our shores, and whether
under mandate or some other arrangement obtain the right to
maintain, arm, and man bases in Timor, Dutch New Guinea, New
Britain, the Solomons, New Hebrides and Noumea, and that we should
share in the security arrangements covering Malaya, Netherlands
East Indies, Japanese Mandated Islands and British Western Pacific
possessions, as well as more generally in the Pacific security
system as a whole.

6. A danger we have to avoid in regard to a Pacific security
system is that we might exchange isolation for domination; our
chief difficulty may well be to keep a balance between external
security and internal autonomy. This difficulty would be increased
if the colonial settlement were such that Britain and the
Netherlands lost interest or influence in the Western Pacific. We
may in future have use for a European counterweight to American or
Chinese influence in this region. For this reason alone it is not
to our interest to advocate international administration (as
distinct from supervision) of colonies or to press for a colonial
settlement unduly onerous for colonial powers.


Following are some comments on Hull's Draft Declaration on
Colonial Policy:-

The Hull Draft lacks clarity and balance. It is not clear whether
any revision of the Mandates System is contemplated, what
territories would be administered under the International
Trusteeship Administration, on what principles these have been
distinguished from present colonies, what, if any, would be the
relationship between the I.T.A. and the Regional Councils for
ordinary colonies. As to balance there is some (perhaps at this
stage undue) precision as to the status of the territories
regulated by Part II, while the status of present mandates is
ignored and of present colonies dealt with only in the most
general terms. Again, the obligations in the Atlantic Charter are
cited, but self-determination is emphasised almost to the
exclusion of the provisions relating to welfare. It is very
undesirable that the terms of a Declaration should be so open to
doubt and dispute. A Declaration at this stage should deal with
broad principles applicable to all non-selfgoverning peoples. If
it descends from this plane in regard to one type of colonial
territory, it should be equally precise in regard to all. But no
essential purpose would be served by precision at this stage,
while the door would be opened to undesirable public disputation
on matters which would be better reserved for private official
discussion prior to and at the peace conference. If the Hull Draft
is taken as the basis of a Declaration we would suggest:-

(i) The preamble should be shortened and its balance corrected by
making it clear that economic and social objectives are as
important as self-determination.

(ii) Part 11 should be dropped and no distinction be made between
principles applicable to present colonies, present mandates and
territories which might in future fall within the scope of the

(iii) Part I paragraph (1) [4] should be corrected on the same
lines as the Preamble.

(iv) The principles in sub-sections (a) to (e) of paragraph (1)
should be of equal rank with the principle of independence; the
social and economic principles should be regarded as ends in
themselves and not as means to a political end.

(v) The principle of international supervision should extend to
all colonies and regional commissions.

(vi) The Declaration should recognise the interest of all
countries in colonial markets, an interest at least as important
as that in colonial [sic] markets.

The United Kingdom Draft [5] is a more satisfactory document in
style and construction for the purpose in view, but it would need
the following amendments:-

(1) The addition of a preamble similar in purport to Hull's,
though less wordy and without the exaggerated emphasis on self-

(2) The inclusion of the principle of international supervision
accepted by Hull but not restricted as in Hull's Draft to one type
of colonies.

(3) Recognition of the desirability of associating native peoples
as closely as possible with the work of government in their
territories; and
(4) Recognition of general right of access to colonial markets.



1 See Document 149, note 2.

2 Part II recalled that after the First World War 'peoples in
several areas still unprepared for full independence were released
from political ties with nations formerly responsible for them'
and suggested that such territories should be placed under the
control of 'an International Trusteeship Administration composed
of representatives of the United Nations and of all other nations
which now, or which may hereafter, co-operate in carrying forward
and applying the provisions of the Atlantic Charter.

3 Point (e) read 'To pursue policies under which the natural
resources of colonial territories shall be developed, organized
and marketed in the interest of the peoples concerned and of the
world as a whole'.

4 Paragraph 1 of Part I stressed the obligation of nations having
responsibility for colonial areas to work for their political,
social, economic and educational advancement and to guide them
towards self-government and independence.

5 See Document 96 and Document 113, note 2.

6 On 8 April the Secretary of the External Affairs Dept dispatched
to Evatt (then in Washington) a summary of the main points made in
this memorandum. See cablegram PW33 on file AA:A989, 43/735/1021.

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