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359 Cranborne to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram 336 [1] LONDON, 24 November 1944, 9 p.m.


Your telegrams-Canberra No. 310 [3], Wellington No. 303. [4]

Statement on Colonial Policy.

1. We feel that there has been some misunderstanding as to the
main purpose of our telegram No. 325. [5] It was never in our mind
to question the right of the Australian and New Zealand
Governments to make any declaration which they think proper on
Colonial as on other aspects of Public Policy. But we were
seriously perturbed as to the practical results which were likely
to flow from the procedure that has been adopted.

2. We are glad to have this full statement of the position of the
Australian and New Zealand Governments in regard to the question
of Colonial Policy. In particular we are glad to note that you had
not contemplated an international Body which would interfere with
the Sovereignty and control by the Parent States in relation to
Colonial Territories. This was not clear from the published
statement [6] issued after the Wellington Conference.

3. Our proposals for the general scheme of international co-
operation in Colonial Policy applicable to all dependent
Territories are not yet complete. We will, however, telegraph
particulars as soon as they have been fully considered here and
approved and think you will find that they have much in common
with the views of the Commonwealth and New Zealand Governments.

Difficulty which we saw over the announcement made after the
recent Wellington Conference was that it might be interpreted
generally, as indeed we ourselves had interpreted it, as requiring
a form of International control which in our view would conflict
with the authority of the Parent States. We are glad to learn that
this is not, in fact, in contemplation.

4. In paragraph 4 of Australia's telegram No. 310 reference is
made to the discussions at the end of 1942 and the beginning of
1943 regarding the possibility of a joint declaration on Colonial
Policy. We regret that there should have been any misunderstanding
about this. We thought that this had been made clear in the
statement by the Colonial Secretary at the Prime Ministers'
Meetings last May. [7] The position was that after explaining our
attitude to the United States Authorities, as indicated in our
telegram D.No. 69 of the 9th February 1943 [8], the matter was not
pursued further in any definite form by the United States
Authorities, as preliminary and informal talk did not disclose any
basis for agreement on any form of declaration. In the
circumstances, although the position was explained orally to the
Dominion representatives in London, we did not think that the
point had been reached when a further communication to the
Dominion Governments on the subject could usefully be made.

5. Declaration of the 13th July 1943 [9] to which reference is
made was confined to the question of Regional Councils as to which
we had understood that there was general agreement on the part of
the Dominion Governments.

6. We agree with the description of the purpose of the principle
of Trusteeship as set out at the beginning of paragraph 8 of
Australia's telegram, but we are not clear that these ends are
necessarily served by the interposition of an International Body
with special powers of investigation and supervision. As indicated
above, however, we hope to develop our views on this aspect more
fully in the further communication promised, and shall welcome
your comments.

7. We are telegraphing separately regarding the proposal for the
setting up of a South Seas Regional Commission.

8. As regards reference in paragraph 1 of Australia's telegram to
consultation with the United Kingdom High Commissioner,
Wellington, we understand that he urged the exclusion from the
published statement of details of the recommendation on this
point, but that the Australian and New Zealand representatives did
not feel able to do more than make an amendment of the wording.

1 Addressed to the N.Z. Govt as no. 274.

2 Corrected from AA:A3642, vol. 20, 1.41943/938/941.

3 Document 352.

4 See Fraser's cablegram 206 of 16 November to Curtin. On file
AA:A989, 44/630/5/1/11/22.

5 Document 347.

6 See Document 337 and Document 344, note 1.

7 Document 149.

8 On file AA:A989, 43/735/1021.

9 In cablegram D425 of 13 July 1943 (on the file cited in note 8),
the U.K. Govt advised of the text of a statement on international
co-operation in colonial policy to be given that day by Stanley in
the House of Commons.

[AA:A989, 44/630/5/l/11/22]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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