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388 Department of External Affairs to Legation in Moscow

Cablegram 49 CANBERRA, 5 March 1948

Your 50. [1]

We assume that you will continue to do all that is practicable to
keep our views on the Japanese Peace Settlement before the Soviet
authorities as occasion permits.

2. We are naturally most anxious that nothing should be done to
prejudice any
chance that the Soviet authorities might suddenly change their
ground, as they apparently did on the question of status of
missions [2] and agree to participate in a peace conference with a
composition and procedure on the lines we desire. At the same time
we have necessarily had to give consideration to what might be
done if it remains apparent that the prospects of a formal
Japanese Peace Conference are remote.

3. We have considered putting forward the proposal that an
informal Committee composed of representatives of those countries
now on F.E.C. might apply itself to the preparation of a tentative
draft peace treaty for Japan. Any draft on which the Committee
might reach agreement would in no way commit any Government. In
other words an informal group officials might see how far they can
get without any formal voting or procedure in drafting a treaty.

If they found a large measure agreement the Government whom they
represent might then be prepared to accept their draft as a basis
of formal discussions. This committee would have no relationship
with F.E.C.

4. Such a proposal cannot be put forward usefully to other
governments unless we know first Soviet reaction. We desire you
therefore to follow up your previous approach on the subject with
this positive suggestion.

5. Such informal meetings would demonstrate whether or not in fact
there are any issues which cannot be agreed upon unanimously and
you will see therefore the connection between this suggestion on
procedures and the approach you previously made to the Soviet.

1 Dispatched 13 February 1948; it advised that a response was
awaited from the Soviet authorities to the Australian approaches.

2 The Australian and Soviet governments had agreed to raise the
status of their legations at Canberra and Moscow to that of

[AA:A1838/278, 539/3]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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