12 Department of External Affairs to Officer
CANBERRA, 6 July 1946 Cablegram HAGUE 44
South Seas Commission.
You will be familiar with general outlines of proposed South Seas
Organisation described in Australia New Zealand Agreement. At
recent London talks it was agreed that Australia and New Zealand
should convene conference in Canberra for purpose of establishing
Advisory Commission consisting of representatives of Australia,
New Zealand, United Kingdom, United States, France and possibly
Netherlands. Also decided that Australia should sound out United
States, French and Netherlands Governments to discover whether
invitation to attend such conference would be favourably received.
French Government has evidenced willingness to attend provided-
(a) no mention in invitation of advice on 'political development'
of native peoples as function of Commission.
(b) no strongly unfavourable reaction from United States on
question of United States participation.
United States Government at present considering matter. Early
reactions as far as State Department concerned are favourable. We
hope to have some definite indication next week.
After some discussion here Government has decided (with approval
of New Zealand) to sound out Netherlands opinion in regard to
participation. It was agreed that, although Netherlands
territorial interest in South Pacific is small, comprising only
Dutch New Guinea, which looks rather to Netherlands East Indies
for its economic, social and political development, exclusion of
Dutch would look rather pointed at this time and they should be
given opportunity to participate. Possibly they may wish to
establish a liaison with Commission and its Secretariat in regard
to research work in certain matters, for example, agriculture, but
that is entirely a matter for them to decide.
Present plan is for preliminary officials' discussion in August
(about the 19th) followed by full ministerial conference at later
We do not wish you to make any enquiries yet as to whether an
invitation would be welcomed by Dutch as we are waiting definite
views of United States.
London Office can supply you with paper on subject which was used
at recent Prime Ministers' Conference, also any other data on
Commission, including Sir Frederic Eggleston's report to Dr.