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87 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram LONDON, 22 October 1948


The Final Plenary Session of the Meeting of Commonwealth Prime
Ministers was held at No. 10, Downing Street this morning. At the
end of the meeting the representatives of the other Commonwealth
Governments placed on record their sincere thanks to the Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom for presiding over the meetings and
for his constant and valuable help.

2. The purpose of these informal meetings of Commonwealth Prime
Ministers is to provide opportunities for a free exchange of views
on matters of common concern.

3. The meetings held during the past two weeks have covered many
such matters of common concern, including international relations,
economic affairs and defence. The discussions have shown a
substantial community of outlook among all the Commonwealth
Governments in their approach to the present world problems.

Fundamentally, this approach is based upon their support for the
objectives of the United Nations as an instrument for world peace
and their determination to make its work fully effective. All the
Commonwealth Governments are resolved to work together and with
other governments to establish world peace on a democratic basis.

4. in furtherance of these objectives, the representatives of
Commonwealth Governments affirmed their purpose to build up the
economic strength of their countries and to take all appropriate
measures to deter and resist aggression. At the same time they
will do their utmost to encourage an increased production of
wealth so as to achieve higher standards of living especially for
the peoples of the less developed countries of the world, as a
constructive contribution to the preservation of world peace.

5. The economic forecast for the coming years made by the United
Kingdom Government for the Organisation for European Economic Co-
operation was considered in order to give the other Commonwealth
countries an opportunity to examine its implications for their own
economies. The Conference re-affirmed the desirability for all the
Commonwealth Governments, in formulating their policies, to
consult with one another, so far as practicable, so that each can
co-operate by taking into account the needs and policies of the

6. The United Kingdom Government outlined the general nature of
its association with other Western European nations under the
Brussels Treaty, as a regional association within the terms of the
United Nations Charter. There was general agreement that this
association of the United Kingdom with her European neighbours was
in accord with the interests of the other members of [the
Commonwealth,] [1] the United Nations and the promotion of world
peace. It was agreed that other Commonwealth Governments should be
kept in close touch with the progress of this co-operation with
Western Europe.

7. The Conference was impressed by the value of the discussions
which had taken place at the Ministerial level and showed a
general desire to maintain and extend methods of consultation
between all the Governments of the Commonwealth. Recommendations
for improving Commonwealth consultation on foreign affairs,
economic affairs and defence are being submitted to the
Governments for consideration and decision.

8. The Meeting recorded its support for Ceylon's application for
membership of the United Nations. The representatives of all the
other Commonwealth Governments took note of the constitutional
documents published by the Ceylon Government in Ceylon Sessional
Paper XXII of 1947 under the title 'The Independence of Ceylon'
and in Ceylon Sessional Paper III of 1948 under the title 'The
Constitution of Ceylon'. They agreed to take this opportunity of
their meeting in London to place on record their recognition of
Ceylon's independence and to affirm that Ceylon enjoys the same
sovereign independent status as the other self-governing countries
of the Commonwealth which are members of the United Nations.

9. This meeting included for the first time the Prime Ministers of
India, Pakistan and Ceylon. Their presence symbolised the
extension of the bounds of democratic freedom which reflects the
spirit and steadfast purpose of the Commonwealth. These new
representatives of sovereign nations brought to the deliberations
of their colleagues from the other free countries of the
Commonwealth the wisdom of their ancient civilisations vivified by
the dynamism of the modem age. This blending of the West and the
East in the lofty task of building a lasting peace on the
foundations of freedom, justice and economic prosperity provides a
new hope for harassed mankind.

[AA: M448, 137]

1 Corrected from Minutes of Meeting of Prime Ministers, PMM (48)
15th Meeting, 22 October 1948, Annex.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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