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Historical documents

79 Dixon to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 180 CANBERRA, 14 March 1944, 17.53 a.m.


Your 323. [1] I saw Adolf Berle this afternoon and made
representations to him in accordance with the terms of your
telegram. In answer he first said that as to the leakage it was a
matter which had been noticed with concern by the State
Department. It was bad enough that leakages occurred but that they
should also be incorrect made it still more difficult. Then he
said that he excepted to the word 'exclude'. The word 'exclude'
was due to a misapprehension. He said that there never was any
intention of 'excluding' Australia.

Next he expressed surprise that there should be any objection to
the U.S. opening discussions with Canada having regard to the fact
that geographically Canada adjoined the U.S. and economically had
so many ties with her, as a result of which factors, there were
special reasons for the two countries exchanging views in relation
to such a matter as civil aviation. In addition to that, Canada
lay athwart a natural air route from the U.S. to the U.K. and

I pointed out to him that the proposal had been for a conference
not with Canada alone but with the U.K. and the U.S.S.R. Berle
said that it was necessary to begin somewhere with preparatory
discussions in contemplation of bringing in other countries when
the ground had been sufficiently prepared. It was true that the
U.S. had the advantage of knowing the policy of Australia and New
Zealand as embodied in the Canberra Declaration [2], but they had
not ascertained the views of other countries. It was however never
intended to exclude other countries from discussions whether
preparatory or final, but as he had said before, a beginning must
be made and it was impracticable to

begin by inviting a large number of countries. if the number of
countries with whom discussion were opened was enlarged it would
be necessary to invite various South American countries as well.

The U.S. had taken no exception to the holding of an Empire
Conference on the subject in London because it recognised that it
was a conference of a particular group united in a particular way.

The economic and geographical considerations to which he had
referred brought Canada into a special position in relation to the
U.S. and it must be recognised that there might be other
groupings. It was not the desire of the U.S. Government to give
any cause for irritation and he hoped that I would do my best to
explain the object of the suggested discussion in such a way as to
allay any such feeling in Canberra.

1 Document 70.

2 Document 26.

[AA:A989, 44/735/832/8]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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