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126 Notes by Coleman for Defence Committee

Agendum 14/1949 MELBOURNE, 14 February 1949



This Agendum covers an Appreciation by the J.I.C. on the
'Strategic Position of Australia-Possibility of War and Consequent
Threat to Australia'. [1] The Joint Planning Committee has
submitted the Appreciation to the Defence Committee for
information noting that 'the Appreciation had been prepared on the
basis of the information available to the J.I.C. up to the end of
1948, which did not include any authoritative political background
from the Department of External Affairs'.

(i) The present J.I.C. Appreciation is a revision of their
Appreciation No. 1/1947 [2] which was the basis of the report by
the J.P.C. leading to the Chiefs of Staff Appreciation of
September, 1947. [3] The earlier J.I.C. Appreciation did not go
beyond the J.P.C.

(ii) The Council of Defence in April 1948 directed [4] that prior
to the preparation of a further Appreciation by the Chiefs of
Staff, the Department of External Affairs should furnish a review
of the international situation [5] for the information of the
Council, and as an authoritative background to the Chiefs of Staff
Strategical Appreciation.

(iii) In view of (ii) above, the present J.I.C. Appreciation
cannot form the basis of an authoritative Appreciation by the
Chiefs of Staff.

(iv) As the Chiefs of Staff are responsible for the preparation of
strategic Appreciations, it is not clear why the J.I.C. and J.P.C.

reports have been submitted to the Defence Committee. There would
appear to be some danger in the Defence Committee even noting the
reports, as this might imply endorsement, for example of such
statements as the following:-

(a) 'A state of war at present exists between the U.S.S.R. and the
Western Powers although it does not involve the employment of
orthodox hostilities' (vide paragraph 9-conclusions).

(b) The inference that in the event of Soviet propaganda bringing
about a state of war between India and Pakistan, the Western
Powers might support India (vide paragraph 87). [6]

It is suggested that the Defence Committee should direct that, in
view of the Council direction referred to in (ii) above, J.I.C.

Appreciation No. 3/1948 cannot be accepted as an authoritative
review of the international situation and that therefore it should
remain on the J.I.C.-J.P.C. level. [7]

1 Document 124.

2 Volume 12, Document 160.

3 Volume 12, Document 161, Attachment thereto.

4 See Document 97, (4) (d)
5 Document 121, Attachment thereto.

6 The relevant part of the paragraph reads: '...the U.S.S.R. could
occupy Afghanistan as a basis for operations against Pakistan and
India, and for use as a propaganda base to further disrupt their
relations with the object of bringing about a state of war between
these two countries. This could well lead to serious difficulties
throughout the Middle East, particularly if the Western Powers
support the Union of India.'
7 Defence Commitee climate In, dated 17 February 1949, records
that the Committee 'took note' of the appreciation.

[AA:A5954/63, 2328/24]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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