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134 Australian Government to Fraser

Cablegram 252 CANBERRA, 23 September 1946


My immediately preceding telegram. [1] Announcements will be along
following lines:-


A Conference will be convened in Australia early in the coming
year for the purpose of establishing a South Seas Commission. The
Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States, France and
the Netherlands have expressed a desire to join with Australia and
New Zealand in forming a Regional Advisory Organisation for the
promotion of welfare in the island territories in the South and
South-West Pacific. Formal invitations have now been issued to
those Governments. [2]

The Australian and New Zealand Governments have been planning for
some time the establishment of a Regional Advisory Commission for
the South and South-West Pacific area, including the islands
eastward from New Guinea.

Following upon discussions of the project between the Prime
Minister, Dr. Evatt and United Kingdom and New Zealand Ministers
in London last May [3], enquiries were made of the Governments of
the United States [4], France [5] and the Netherlands [6], all of
which have direct territorial interests and responsibilities in
the area. All Governments concerned indicated their interest in
the work of such a Commission, and their willingness to join in a
conference for the purpose of establishing the South Seas
Commission in the near future.

The main functions of the Commission will be to advise the member
Governments in regard to the promotion of native welfare and the
economic development of the island territories of the area. Mutual
cooperation and exchange of information and views between member
Governments will undoubtedly assist materially the organisation of
health and education services for the native peoples and improve
standards of native welfare generally.

The Australian and New Zealand Governments are very gratified at
the encouraging reception given to the plan by the other
Governments concerned. It will be recalled that the Australian and
New Zealand Governments have consistently emphasised the need for
such a body in the South Pacific area. Their views on the subject
were clearly and concisely expressed in the Australian - New
Zealand Agreement of January, 1944. [7]

The Australian Government has always stressed the necessity for
planning and co-operation by all Governments interested in the
welfare of the peoples of the South Seas. It believes that the
South Seas Commission will greatly help the Governments concerned
in dealing with economic difficulties such as those experienced in
the thirties when contracting markets and falling prices had
devastating effects on the economic life and welfare of the
Pacific islands peoples.

In carrying out its objectives the Commission will bring together
the ideas and experience of those who possess firsthand knowledge
of South Seas Territories. Administrators, Anthropologists,
Medical Officers, Economists, Missionaries, Planters and Traders,
all can contribute to the effectiveness of the work of the
Commission in ensuring that the native peoples for whom member
Governments of the Commission are responsible are assisted to
improve their standards of living, to develop their ways of life
and adjust themselves to the changing conditions of the post-war
Pacific world.

1 Cablegram 251, dispatched 23 September, in which the Australian
Govt indicated that invitations to the South Seas Commission
conference would be issued in Canberra on 24 September, and
proposing that simultaneous statements be issued on 26 September.

2 The invitations were dated 18 September and took the form of a
note with accompanying aidememoire.

3 See Volume IX, Document 229.

4 See Volume IX, Document 314.

5 See Volume IX, Document 322; and Document 13.

6 See Document 62, note 3.

7 Volume VII, Document 26.

[AA:A1838/2, 343/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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