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382 Bruce to Evatt

Cablegram [289A] [1] LONDON, 23 December 1944, 3.30 p.m.


For Dr. Evatt. Your telegram 204 of the 22nd December. [2]

I had a long talk to Eden yesterday in which I brought out all the
points contained in your telegram 202 of the 16th December. [3] As
I had not then received your telegram telling me to convey your
views to Cranborne personally, (such I have now done) I did not
show Eden a copy.

In the conversation I stressed very strongly the dangers we were
heading towards if the United Kingdom continue to take important
decisions without consultation or to give the impression that
consultation has taken place when, in fact, it has not; e.g. the
Prime Minister's reply in the House of Commons as to consultation
with the Dominions in regard to the policy pursued in Greece. [4]

I told him that the Australian Government were so concerned with
the present position that they were seriously considering the
necessity of pressing their claims for a Seat on the European
Advisory Commission and/or revisal of the idea of a European
Consultative Council of which Australia would be a member. I
stressed that, in addition to any steps of this character, you
felt it was imperative that there should be closer and earlier
Empire consultation in respect to all issues of major policy. The
idea of Australia raising the issues of the European Advisory
Council and European Consultative Commission shook Eden
considerably. I did not weaken, however, on the point,
notwithstanding the fact that personally I am convinced that the
Americans and Russians would strenuously oppose both. I did this
deliberately as I feel that their apprehension on these points
will make them more ready to meet us in the matter of fuller and
earlier information and consultation, before the United Kingdom
Government is committed in respect to major policy.

Even on this question I am not very optimistic of any really
satisfactory system of full Empire consultation being evolved. I
have some hopes, however, that out of the present brush we may be
able to achieve something that will improve the situation so far
as we, Australia, are concerned. [5]


1 Material in square brackets has been corrected from Bruce's copy
on file AA : M100, December 1944. The copy circulated in Canberra
was incorrectly numbered 179A.

2 SFU : Evatt Papers, Cables-London-1943-46.

3 Document 376.

4 See Document 376, note 3,
5 Evatt replied on 25 December: 'I think you have stated the
position with great clarity and as you know we can get nowhere in
these matters unless the question is approached more from the
general aspect than the particular problem of Greece'. See
cablegram 205 in AA:A3196, 1944, Folder, Outwards Most Secret
Master Sheets, 0.35355.

[AA:A1066, E45/16/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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