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Historical documents

109 Attlee to Chifley

Letter LONDON, 4 April 1949


Thank you for your letters of the 7th and 16th February about
defence matters. [1] We are very glad that you welcome our
proposal that a United Kingdom planning team should visit
Australia for discussions with the Australian Service authorities.

We agree, of course, that these discussions must be within the
scope of approved Australian Government policy and that the
planning which takes place will be without commitment to our
respective Governments until approved by Ministers. We suggest
that an Agenda for the discussions should be agreed beforehand and
we shall forward our proposals as soon as possible through the
normal service channels.

We agree also that the United Kingdom planning team should work in
association with the United Kingdom Chief Liaison Officer through
the established Australian defence machinery; the members of our
planning team will accordingly be attached to the Liaison Staff
while they are in Australia. I suggest that the dates of their
visit should be arranged with the United Kingdom Liaison Staff in

Your Chiefs of Staff will by now have received the United Kingdom
Chiefs of Staff paper (COS (49)49) [2] giving our views on general
defence policy and strategy which your Defence Committee wished to
have to assist them in their examination of Commonwealth Defence
problems. We hope that it will be possible for detailed planning
talks to begin as soon as the examination by your Defence
Committee is completed. We feel that discussions of this nature
will result in real progress in joint defence planning, and we are
therefore anxious that they should take place at an early date.

With regard to paragraph 7 of your letter of the 7th February, we
realise the vital concern of Australia for her own security, and
we fully appreciate your need to know more about United States
intentions in the Pacific before the Australian Government can
approve any immediate or long term plans. There is, however, much
detailed work to be done between the Australian, New Zealand and
United Kingdom Service Staffs before plans are ready for
submission to Governments; we hope, therefore, that you will agree
that planning discussions between ourselves should start without
necessarily waiting for the information you require from the
United States. In any case our planning team will by then be able
to give you some information regarding United States intentions in
the Pacific Area.

I am sending a copy of this letter to Mr. Fraser.

1 The first letter is Document 108; the second, which was the
reply to Attlee's letter of 3 1 January (Document 107), agreed
that a UK planning team should visit Australia.

2 Entitled 'Defence Appreciation as a Basis for Military Planning
between, Commonwealth stalls'; dated 9 February 1949; not

[AA:A816/52, 14/301/353]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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