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Historical documents

85 Minutes of meeting of Prime Ministers

PMM(48) 12th Meeting (extract) LONDON, 20 October 1948


2. Commonwealth Consultation
(Previous Reference P.M.M. (48) 8th Meeting, Minute 1.)
MR. ATTLEE said that a note (P.M.M. (48) 13), prepared by the
Secretary after consultation with officials of all the
Delegations, had been circulated covering a detailed statement of
the suggestions made in the discussion on 18th October. A further
note by the Secretary (P.M.M. (48) 15), covering a statement on
Commonwealth consultation, prepared by Dr. Evatt, had also been
circulated. He suggested that Dr. Evatt's draft, which seemed more
suitable for publication, might be taken as a basis for discussion
with a view to reaching an agreed statement which could be
included in the final communique about the Meeting.

MR. LIAQUAT Au KHAN suggested that, before Dr. Evatt's draft was
considered, it should be revised to cover consultation on defence.

DR. EVATT said that his draft had been designed to set out in more
specific terms the main results of the discussion on Commonwealth
consultation. He believed that an announcement on the lines that
he proposed would be helpful. He agreed that the statement should
cover consultation on defence.

MR. ST. LAURENT said that, to a considerable extent, the
arrangements set out in Dr. Evatt's draft were already in
operation and that it would therefore be misleading to announce
them as though they were new developments agreed on at the
Meeting. For example, it would be wrong to imply that the Canadian
High Commissioner in London had not in the past had direct access
to the Foreign Secretary.

MR. LOUW said that he had no authority to agree, on behalf of the
South African Government, to the arrangements proposed in the

MR. NOEL-BAKER said that, in general, he preferred Dr. Evatt's
draft to the draft annexed to P.M.M. (48) 13. It would, however,
be desirable to amend it so as to indicate to what extent it was a
declaration of arrangements already in force, and to make it clear
that it was subject to endorsement by the Governments of the
Commonwealth countries.

MR. ATTLEE proposed that the draft should be revised by officials
in the light of the discussion, and that a revised version should
be circulated for consideration at a Meeting at 12 noon on 21st

[AA: A1838/283, TS899/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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