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270 Commonwealth Government to Cranborne

Cablegram 224 [1] CANBERRA, 5 September 1944


(My immediately preceding telegram. [2]) Following are our
tentative views on World Organisation:

(1) We accept the principle that under present conditions, world
security must be maintained in the ultimate issue by force.

(2) We recognise that Britain, Russia and United States have
preponderant military strength and it is essential that World
Organisation should have their united backing. We do not, however,
accept the idea implicit in United Kingdom memorandum B [3] that
settlement of disputes should be left entirely to ad hoc decision
of World Council. We think that an attempt should be made to seek
a declaration from all member nations of the principles they are
prepared to uphold and an undertaking in regard to their duties as
members of the proposed international organisation. Without such
pledges or undertakings from the stronger military powers, the
smaller nations will in effect be asked to leave their security
entirely to whatever arrangements the Council may determine.

(3) We can see considerable value in an international air force as
proposed by the Soviet Union for meeting special emergencies but
recognise that military measures for averting or quelling
aggression must depend ultimately on co-operation of national
forces. Without going into details we consider that United Kingdom
memorandum C dealing with security offers a sound basis for

(4) We think that more attention should be given to economic and
other sanctions as a means of preventing aggression. In this
connection we would draw attention to views we expressed during
preliminary discussion of international petroleum agreement (our
telegram 1110 of 28th July [4]), and consider that this is an
appropriate time for again stressing the importance of control of
this and other strategic materials. The precision of Section VIII
of the Soviet memorandum (telegram D.1163 [5]) on the means of
averting and quelling aggression rather appeals to us and we think
that the undertakings referred to in paragraph (2) above might be
related to the acceptance of some such procedure.

(5) We are doubtful regarding regional organisation of security
along the lines proposed for Europe in paragraph 18 of United
Kingdom memorandum A. [6] Our views of regional organisation of
security are given in Clause 13 of Australian - New Zealand
Agreement. [7]

(6) We recognise that any pledges or guarantees by the Powers
should not be so rigid as to deny the possibility of orderly
change and we think the objective should be to ensure peaceful
adjustment in accordance with declared principles rather than
obtaining guarantees to maintain the status quo at all times. On
the other hand we are of the opinion that the peace settlements
must be maintained with firmness and authority. In our view this
can be done by guarantees to uphold such principles as sovereign
equality of states, the political independence of states, the
discharge of treaty obligations and the strict adherence to the
terms of treaties until amended by agreed legal processes. As a
corollary we think that the machinery of world co-operation should
include, preferably through the Assembly, provision for orderly
processes of change.

(7) In general we are of the opinion that the Assembly should be
given functions which will enable it to be in practice the central
body of the World Organisation with the World Council as the
executive agency but not the controlling body.

(8) Representation on the Council should allow places for at least
eight powers beside the Big Four. A two-year term for elected
members appears reasonable. Election should be arranged to ensure
that at any one time each region should have one elected member.

(9) We also feel that more attention should be given to the
welfare side of World Organisation. Our primary objective at
present, however, is to ensure that the importance of economic and
social factors in helping to bring about the conditions of world
peace is fully recognised rather than to force a decision on the
manner in which social and economic institutions should be
coordinated with the machinery for security. In general we see
considerable merit in the United States proposals for a separate
Economic and Social Council but would stress that this should be
responsible to the Assembly and not to the proposed World Council.

As we have stressed previously, it is our view that other
international bodies set up for oil, rubber, civil aviation,
cultural relations etc. should also be linked with the World

(10) Regarding general procedure we would press most strongly the
desirability of the small nations to be consulted at every stage
and adequately represented on all organisations. This has been
well put by both Canada and New Zealand and with their general
approach we are in accord.

1 Repeated to the Legation in Washington as no. 1350 and to the
N.Z. Prime Minister as no. 190.

2 Document 269.

3 See Document 148 for the list of memoranda A to E.

4 Document 239. Presumably this reference was intended for

5. Dispatched 18 August. On file AA:A816, 146/301/1. Section VIII
of the Soviet memorandum envisaged a graduating scale of action
against an aggressor including: an appeal by the Council to
disputants for peaceful settlement, severence of diplomatic
relations with the aggressor, economic sanctions, sea and land
blockade, naval and air demonstrations, air attacks on specific
military objectives in the aggressor state and full-scale military
action against the aggressor.

6 Paragraph 18 read in part: 'Just as there are special functional
organisations, so there may be regional associations for various
purposes when there is obvious advantage to be obtained by
limitation of the sphere of action'.

7 Document 26.

[AA:A989, 44/630/5/1/11/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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