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Historical documents

242 Chifley to Attlee

Cablegram 399 CANBERRA, 23 November 1946, 1 p.m.


Reference my telegram No. 347. [1]

The Australian Government has now considered the recommendations
of the Evetts Mission in paragraph 2 of your telegram No. 316 [2]
and the proposals in paragraphs 3 to 6.

2. Subject to provisions of paragraphs 3 to 5 hereunder, the
Government agrees with
(i) the recommendation of Evetts' Mission that an experimental
range and a supporting development establishment should be set up
in Australia.

(ii) The recommendation of mission [a]s to area to be used for

(iii) The proposals in paragraphs 3 and 4 of your telegram that
(a) the first step should be to install the necessary facilities
at range head and along the first 300 miles of range, and that
remainder of range area should be reserved for future use as and
when required;

(b) for the purpose of (a), Lieutenant General Evetts should be
sent to Australia accompanied by a small technical staff to
collaborate with Commonwealth authorities concerned in detailed
planning and execution of project;

(c) pending determination as to extent of development work to be
carried out in Australia, the Salisbury explosives and filling
factory to continue to be held in reserve for this project.

In view however of Government's previous intention to utilise this
factory for commercial industry, it would be appreciated if firm
proposals could be submitted as early as possible so that extent
to which whole or part of factory will be required as a
development establishment can be determined.

3. Before arriving at our conclusions on proposal in paragraph 5
of your telegram for establishment in London of a special joint
body representative of United Kingdom and Australian Governments,
for reaching decisions on questions of policy, we would be glad if
further information could be furnished on proposed functions of
this body. This is necessary in order that its authority in
relation to United Kingdom and Australian Governments may be
clearly defined. From Australian Government's standpoint, it is
considered that if Government is to accept responsibility as
suggested for executive arrangements for installing and
maintaining facilities to agreed requirements at range and
development establishment, questions of policy including major
projects to be undertaken and broad facilities including . .

.buildings, equipment and staff required, should be submitted for
its approval. This is important, not only from aspect of
Government's accountability for what is done in Australia, but
also as regards any consequential financial commitments which may
have to be met by it.

4. In regard to financial aspect referred to in paragraph 6 of
your telegram, we would prefer to defer a decision on question of
apportionment of expenditure until estimates of full capital and
maintenance costs of project are available, and details submitted
by United Kingdom Government as to amounts which will be incurred
in United Kingdom and Australia. In absence of such information,
the Australian Government is unable to agree with your suggestion
'that a decision should be taken in principle now that the
Commonwealth and United Kingdom Governments should bear
respectively that part of expenditure in connection with this
project which is incurred in Australia and United Kingdom.'
Furthermore, from budgetary aspect, extent of Australian
commitment for this project will need to be considered in light of
provision necessary for other defence responsibilities of
Australian Government, and other obligations of a British
Commonwealth nature which may be undertaken by it, vide paragraphs
4 and 6 of telegram No. 392 [3] in reply to your telegram No. 355.


5. In view of magnitude and importance of project and numerous
considerations involved, Australian Government's approval in
paragraph 2 is subject to a satisfactory agreement being arranged
between United Kingdom and Australian Governments to cover all
aspects including Australian participation in work, access to
information both in cost and in United Kingdom, the financial
basis and method of control of undertaking. Latter aspect is of
importance in view of fact that work will be carried out in
Commonwealth, and it may give rise to matters for which Australian
Government must be answerable. It is proposed that a draft
agreement be drawn up by Australian authorities, in consultation
with United Kingdom representatives under Lieutenant General
Evetts, for consideration by Australian Government as a basis for
discussion with United Kingdom Government. Provision relating to
policy and financial aspects will require to be formulated in
light of decisions reached in pursuance of paragraphs 3 and 4

1 Document 143.

2 Document 129.

3 Document 233.

4 Document 205.

[AA:A3317/1, 333/46]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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