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173 Evatt to Chifley

Letter CANBERRA, 30 May 1944

I wish to bring before War Cabinet as early as possible a proposal
regarding the setting up of an organisation for post-hostilities
planning in international affairs, in accordance with our
undertaking in the Australian - New Zealand Agreement. [1] Such an
organisation has become urgently necessary to ensure that War
Cabinet may have complete information and expert advice on the
various matters affecting the armistices and peace settlements
which will come before it in the near future.

I think you will agree that it is most important that Australia
should take an adequate part in the shaping of the peace and in
establishing post-war conditions which will give a reasonable hope
of world stability and prosperity and the peaceful development of
our country. After paying a heavy price for victory we must be
certain we do not lose the peace.

As you know, a great number of the issues of the international
postwar settlement are already crowding in on us-for example, the
investigation of war crimes, relief and rehabilitation in
devastated countries, repatriation or transference of refugees,
the post-armistice arrangements with Italy, prospective armistices
with other enemy countries, civil administration after the
conclusion of armistices, the whole field of post-war economic
collaboration (including the proposals for monetary, commodity and
employment agreements), civil aviation, a petroleum agreement, the
future of France and her colonies, the future of Italy, Germany
and Japan, questions of colonial trusteeship, a security system
and the shaping of the future world organisation. Many of these
subjects have already received close attention, with consultation
between the Department of External Affairs and other interested
Departments, and it is partly to facilitate such consultation that
I have drawn up the plan for a Post-Hostilities Planning Division.

I also hope to be able to ensure that all phases of post-
hostilities planning in international affairs are given adequate
attention and that the results of preliminary and expert
examination are brought before War Cabinet at the appropriate time
and in the appropriate form.

The details of my proposals are contained in a draft agendum, a
copy of which is attached [2], and, before bringing the matter
before War Cabinet, I should be glad to know whether I may have
your concurrence as Treasurer to the proposed extra expenditure
that is involved.

The estimated annual cost is 10,000. Having regard to the scope
of the work to be undertaken and the necessity for appointing a
highly qualified staff, including two special advisers, this seems
to me to be a very moderate commitment, in comparison with current
war expenditure, for making our preparations for the peace. I am
informed that most other countries have already made provision for
post-hostilities planning organisations in one form or another and
in most cases they are on a more elaborate and costly scale than
the organisation now proposed for Australia.

I should be glad to have your views as early as possible so that
no time may be lost in setting up the new Division and making the
necessary appointments.


1 Document 26.

2 Not published.

[AA:A571, [45/244]]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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