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95 Submission by Dedman to Council of Defence

Agendum 2/1948 12 March 1948,



At its meeting on 3rd July 1947, the Council noted the Memorandum
of 23rd May 1947 on Co-operation in British Commonwealth Defence
[1], containing the proposals of the Australian Government on the
matters which were discussed on this subject at the Conference of
Prime Ministers in London in 1946 (Agendum No. 6/ 1947). The
Memorandum had been forwarded to the Prime Ministers of the other
British Commonwealth countries and to the then Government of India
through the Australian High Commissioner at Delhi

2. From May to December 1947 there was correspondence with the
Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom and New Zealand on the
Australian Government's proposals, also discussions during the
visits to Australia of Viscount Addison, Secretary of State for
Commonwealth Relations, Mr. Fraser, Prime Minister of New Zealand,
and Field Marshal Montgomery, Chief of the Imperial General Staff.

3. Agreement has now been reached between the three Governments
regarding the Australian proposals for United Kingdom and New
Zealand representation in the Australian Government Machinery for
matters of co-operation in British Commonwealth Defence.

4. Under the approved arrangements, the High Commissioners for the
United Kingdom and New Zealand will be invited to attend meetings
of the Council of Defence when matters affecting those parts of
the British Commonwealth are under consideration. On the official
level, the Governments of the United Kingdom and New Zealand will
maintain in Australia a Joint Service Representative and staff who
will be accredited to the Defence Department. Rear Admiral C.T.M.

Pizey, C.B., D.S.O., has been appointed Head of the United Kingdom
Service Liaison Staff in Australia. Colonel C.J. Duff, D.S.O., has
been appointed New Zealand Joint Service Liaison Officer in

5. The general principle in regard to representation on the
official level win be that these Joint Service Representatives
will be invited to attend meetings of the Defence Committee and
Chiefs of Staff Committee when matters affecting their country are
under consideration. Where necessary they may also accompany their
Governmental representative to the Council of Defence as Adviser.

6. Similarly, members of the staff of these Joint Service
Representatives will be invited to attend meetings of the Joint
Service Machinery subordinate to the Defence Committee and Chiefs
of Staff Committee.

7. Reciprocal arrangements have been made for the Australian
Government to be represented in the Higher Defence Machinery of
the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

8. On the Governmental level, the High Commissioners in London and
New Zealand will attend meetings of the corresponding bodies to
our Council of Defence when matters affecting Australia are under

9. Major-General A.J. Boase, C.B.E., with a small inter-Service
staff, has been appointed Australian Defence Representative in the
United Kingdom, and Brigadier G.H. O'Brien, C.B.E., has been
appointed Australian Defence Representative in New Zealand. These
officers will similarly attend meetings of the Joint Service
Machinery on their level when matters affecting this country are
under consideration.

10. With the approval of the arrangements for co-operation between
the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand outlined above,
there now exists appropriate joint machinery for the examination
and consideration of problems of mutual defence interest to these

11. During the correspondence and discussions with the United
Kingdom and New Zealand Governments on the Australian proposals,
the principle was reaffirmed that the arrangements for co-
operation which were being introduced were subject to the
sovereign control of the policy of each part of the Empire by its
own people, parliament and government.

12. Attention is invited to the following views expressed in the
Prime Minister's letter of 16th September 1947 to the Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom [2], regarding the use of the
machinery of the various parts of the British Commonwealth for Co-
operation in Defence:-

'Each Government must retain the right of deciding its own Policy
and the commitments which it is prepared to accept. The
constitutional history of the British Commonwealth has shown that
the correct process in all these matters is an evolution. The
machinery should be allowed to develop in an evolutionary manner
as problems are tackled. This process could be retarded or even
frustrated by an anxiety to hasten too quickly. The approach has
to be gradual and realistic. It would be quite misleading to
accept responsibilities and make promises which could not be
carried out. As stated in the Australian memorandum on Co-
operation in British Commonwealth Defence, it is also fundamental
to provide for an effective voice by Governments in the higher
control of planning on the official level. There can be no
question of Governments being embarrassed on the political level
by the plans of Joint Planning Staffs on the official level, which
are inconsistent with political reality and the resources that can
be provided. As you are aware, there may also be legislative
enactments which relate to such matters.'

13. The Memorandum was forwarded in May 1947 to the Prime
Ministers of Canada and South Africa, and, through the Australian
High Commissioner, India, to the then Government of India, with an
intimation that should these Governments now, or at any future
time, consider that it would be to the mutual interests and
advantage for them to be represented on the Australian Defence
Machinery, the Australian Government would warmly welcome such an
arrangement. Reciprocally, the Australian Government would
appreciate representation on the corresponding Defence Machinery
of these countries if it should be mutually agreed that it was

14. Canada: No reply has so far been received from the Prime
Minister of Canada.

15. South Africa: The Prime Minister of South Africa in
acknowledging receipt of the Memorandum on 26th June 1947, stated-
'I thank you for this interesting document to which the Union
Government and Department of Defence will give their close
attention. In due course, if points emerge on which we may wish to
address you, I shall approach you in a further communication. The
question of our mutual representation on our respective set-ups of
Defence Machinery may then also arise.'
16. India and Pakistan: The Australian proposals were forwarded
through the Australian High Commissioner in India, prior to
partition. Advice was received that the memorandum was forwarded
by the High Commissioner to the Defence Member of the then
Government of India, who is now Minister for Defence in the
present Government of India. The Australian High Commissioner has
received the following reply dated 2nd January 1948 from the
Minister for Defence, India:-

'I have to say that the Government of India greatly appreciate the
offer of the Australian Government. They recognise that it would
be of advantage to India and to Australia to maintain close
liaison in matters affecting the defence of the Pacific. In view,
however, of our preoccupation with military problems whose
solution is of greater urgency than the establishment of machinery
for dealing with strategic problems of the kind envisaged in the
Australian proposals, I regret that it will not be possible for us
to take immediate advantage of the Australian offer or to offer
Australia something equivalent in return. For the same reason, we
have decided not to make any comments on the Australian proposals
as regards the structure and functions of the Australian
machinery. I will let you know as soon as we are in a position to
do so.'

17. The Australian Government proposals were also forwarded by the
Australian High Commissioner in India to Field Marshal Sir Claude
Auchinleck, who at the time was the Supreme Commander of all
forces in India and a member of the Joint Defence Council. The
memorandum was passed by Sir Claude Auchinleck to the Secretary to
the Pakistan Defence Department on 7th August 1947. Advice has
been received through the Australian High Commissioner in India
that the Pakistan Government, whilst appreciating that in the
circumstances then obtaining, the approach through Sir Claude
Auchinleck was entirely correct, suggested that, in the changed
circumstances, 'it would be desirable for this matter to be raised
in the form of an official communication through diplomatic
channels, if the Government of Australia desire to pursue it'.

Action is being taken to confirm the invitation in the manner

18. The foregoing outline of the developments that have taken
place since July 1947 in regard to the Australian proposals for
Co-operation in British Commonwealth Defence, is furnished for the
information of the Council. [3]

[AA: A5954, 1850/1]

1 See Volume 12, Document 172, Attachment thereto.

2 Volume 12,Document. 184.

3 Noted by the Council of Defence in minutes dated 28 April 1948.

Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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