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Historical documents

211 Melville to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram Financial 5 [1] BRETTON WOODS, 1 July 1944, 1.43 a.m.


1. At the conclusion of the Bretton Woods Conference
representatives probably will be asked to sign a final act, the
form and nature of which will depend upon the extent of agreement
reached. It will probably record the holding of the Conference,
the nature of discussions and will include resolutions agreed to
by representatives. It is desired that one of the resolutions will
be recommendation to the Governments [2] that they accept a draft
agreement for the establishment of a monetary fund (and possibly
an investment bank).

2. The signing by representatives of the document will not in any
way formally commit the respective Governments. Signature will
merely signify the assent of representatives to the accuracy of
the record of the discussions and the resolutions passed and we
shall be able to make any reservations which you may consider
necessary in the light of the course of discussions.

3. From the technical point of view the Government will have
retained complete freedom to accept or reject the proposed
agreement in the light of its consideration at the time of
presentation to it. However, there is always the possibility that
the signature of a document of this nature would be publicly
misinterpreted to indicate commitment on the part of the
Australian representatives.

4. On the other hand refusal to sign might also result in a
misinterpretation of our attitude both officially and publicly.

The press is to be strongly represented at Bretton Woods.

5. The position is necessarily still obscure and it is possible
that it will not be clarified until the closing stages of the
discussions. However the foregoing is forwarded in view of the
Cabinet direction [3] that there is to be no commitment even at
official level. We shall of course keep you fully advised.

1 The United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference was held at
Bretton Woods from 1-22 July. The Australian Delegation, led by
Melville, also included Brigden, Tange
(temporarily attached to External Affairs Dept) and Wheeler.

The prefix 'Financial' was used by Melville for the cables he
dispatched from Bretton Woods to the Commonwealth Govt. With the
exception of this cable the series was addressed to Evatt and

2 A sign here indicated 'mutilated'.

3 Document 194.

[AA:A989, 44/735/56/10, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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