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Historical documents

219 Makin to Chifley

Cablegram 835 WASHINGTON, 27 June 1947, 7.18 p.m.


My telegram 400.

1. Recently a meeting was called by the State Department at which
Political and Service Representatives were requested to attend.

The following were present at the Meeting

Mr. Alfred Stirling, Minister
General J. A. Chapman, Head of Military Mission
Captain S.H.K. Spurgeon, Naval Attache
(Group Captain M.O. Watson, Air Attache, was absent sick)
United States-Mr Arthur Richards, British Commonwealth Division
Mr Robert Margrave, Military Liaison Officer and Officer
responsible for Munition questions at State Department.

2. Although Richards had been unable to give any details of the
discussions, he had mentioned over the telephone that it concerned
the policy of the release of United States Military or Defence
information to Australia. The Service Representatives were aware
that the United States had been developing a New Policy since
December last, and in view of delicate negotiations that had
already been in progress, a Meeting of the Australian
Representatives was held in the Chancery prior to going on to the
State Department.

3. At the State Department Meeting, Margrave read or paraphrased a
document which he stated was 'to be communicated personally and
orally to Representatives of the Australian Embassy'. The document
was both lengthy and technical and when the Australian
Representatives requested a copy, they were told this could not be
given them. However, they were informed that they could make

4. The briefing opened with a definition on the extent of
classified Military information which was to be supplied on
request, and the conditions under which it would be made available
to Australia.

5. The United States Service Authorities were only permitted 'on
their own', to supply up to and including secret intelligence and
technical information requested by an Accredited Australian
Service Representative in Washington. In addition, the United
States services were authorised to release only top secret
information which, on the advice of S.C.A.P. [1], was considered
relevant to the occupation forces in Japan. However, if requests
were received for other top secret information, the United States
services were not authorised to furnish this, and were to refer
the request to an inter-Departmental Committee of the State, War
and Navy Departments, for final decision. Approval for the release
of such information would only be made for very good reasons.

6. The New Policy, Margrave continued, excluded the release of
information to Australia which came under the category of United
States Research and Development but did not necessarily deny
United States information on projects which were defined as
'combined research and development.'
7. Research and Development, he said, 'ceases with the creation of
an item
(a) meets the Military characteristic established by the using
(b) is adaptable to production,
(c) has passed the tests of the services,
(d) is adopted in accordance with the various Service
8. He went on to say that United States classified information
would be furnished with the understanding that-
(A) it will not be released to another nation without the specific
approval of United States authority. For the purpose of this
directive the Member Nations of the British Commonwealth were to
be regarded as separate Governments 'for this as for many other

(B) It will not be exploited for production for other than
Governmental military purposes.

(C) The information will be afforded substantially the same degree
of security as is afforded it in United States.

(D) Patent and Copy Rights must at all times be preserved.

9. Following this briefing, both United States Representatives
stressed that the
new policy was not to be assumed as 'restrictive' but aimed at an
'opening up'.

10. The following points still require clarification and are still
under action.

(A) The definition of combined research and development is not
clear (Paragraph
6). It was not understood whether 'combined research and
development' was meant to include only those projects in which
United States and Australia were engaged or whether it would cover
projects in which United States, United Kingdom and Australia were
involved. While we have not got full particulars, we know that
both the United States and Australian Members are invited to 'sit
in' on certain meetings in London. We also know that United
Kingdom and United States where [2] research and development in
guided missiles here. The guided missile range in Australia,
however, is one in which the United Kingdom and Australia are
engaged but in which United States has shown no desire to
participate at present. It would be to the advantage of Australian
Service Representatives here, in clarifying the definition on
combined research and development, if they might be kept informed
of all Australian research and development of a Military nature.

Advice to this effect would be appreciated.

(B) Referring to Paragraph 8(A) Australia has been given
responsibility towards the British Commonwealth for collection,
analysis and dissemination of all general intelligence in the Far
East. It is quite certain that United States would not wish to
interfere with this British Commonwealth Plan, should some
intelligence received from United States source be included in
Australia's analysis. This however, still requires clarification.

(C) Australian Service Staffs in Washington, because of their
limited size, were still dependent on United Kingdom Service
Staffs, to a large extent, for knowledge of classified
intelligence available and of its value to them. They must have
collaboration, in general terms, with United Kingdom Services in
order to know what to ask United States services for. We are now
engaged in clarifying this aspect.

(D)With reference to conditions of release mentioned in Paragraph
8(B), C.S.I.R. [3] and Munitions Laboratories in Australia
performed both Military and Civil Research, and it was often, from
the Australian point of view, well nigh impossible to determine
where the borderline occurred.

11. At the Meeting, the general nature of response to these
questions, by both Richards and Margrave, was that they both
seemed optimistic as to the value of informal ad hoc approaches to
United States in overcoming difficulties or problems such as the
foregoing. However, such adjustments can only be made if the
interpretation of the oral directive by United States, United
Kingdom and Australia is similar. Much depends upon the individual
interpretation in each service. Clarification on the foregoing
points is now being sought by discreet consultations with United
Kingdom Service Chiefs, before a further approach is made to the
State Department.

12. Our impression is that there is definitely no intention, by
United States, of driving a wedge between members of the British
Commonwealth. Since the end of the war, State Department has been
seeking a policy which gives individual conditions for the release
of United States Military information to different Governments
with whom they had freer relationships when they were Allies. This
includes European, South American and Far Eastern Nations as well
as those of the British Commonwealth. It is assumed, therefore,
that, at the present time, it is expedient for the State
Department not to recognise, officially, that the British
Commonwealth needs special privileges in this overall political
plan. This situation is coupled with lack of understanding in some
United States quarters of the British Commonwealth set-up which we
are endeavouring to overcome.

13. This is the first occasion we have received any official
notification of the new policy from United States sources.

Instances have already occurred where, on a service level, United
States officers are ready to offer special consideration to
Australia and United Kingdom, but they desire, above all, to avoid
putting pen to paper. Certain difficulties are envisaged where
United Kingdom Service Authorities, in trying to 'play cricket'
with the United States, feel they may not, at present, consult
with Australian Service Representatives to the extent they desire.

They fear they may jeopardize their own source of information and
gain nothing by such recourse. Australian Service Representatives
here fully appreciate this attitude and are anxious to exercise
patience and caution, feeling confident that the difficulties will
be overcome. It is not possible for us to assist the United
Kingdom in furthering British Commonwealth interests which, to
date, United Kingdom has been obliged, by her own briefing from
United States, to conduct alone.

14. Service Representatives here would appreciate this and the
immediately following telegram [4] being passed to Service Chiefs
in Australia at earliest.

1 Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in Japan, i.e. General
Douglas MacArthur.

2 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

3 Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

4 Cablegram 836 suggested that all requests for classified
information and permission for official visits to establishments
with security control should be sponsored by the relevant
Australian Service Department.

[AA : A1068 T4, DL47/1/10]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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