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281 Department of External Affairs to High Commission in London

Cablegram 1402, CANBERRA, 23 April 1948, 2.25 p.m.



Reference Q65 and your 1129.[1]

While United Kingdom have always maintained that London talks now resuming have not been concerned with decisions other than of administrative nature, and that they still wish to keep the door open to Russia with a view to eventual co-operation, it now seems apparent that they and other Western powers intend to go ahead with establishment of government for Western Germany. It is difficult to see how such a decision could in fact be reconciled with desire to keep the door open to the Russians. Once a Western German Government is established, it would appear that Germany will in fact be divided, and that quadripartite government will be even more of a facade. Economic rehabilitation would seem impossible in these circumstances.

2. Before such an irrevocable step is taken we feel that another attempt should be made to iron out the present difficulties standing in the way of a settlement particularly on the economic plane. One thing which could immediately be done would be an attempt to bring the Control Council[2] together again for genuine discussions.

3. We have, of course, been informed of the discussions to date but as you know, this is no substitute for full consultation to which as a belligerent we are entitled. In the absence of such consultation, we would not wish to express our views on matters of detail. Our main interest is to prevent a drift towards war, which will not be stopped unless the powers concerned take the initiative in attempting, in spite of previous setbacks, to secure a settlement based on justice and not on considerations of power politics.

4. We should be glad if you would put the above views forward where opportunity arises. A similar telegram is being sent to Washington.

[1] See footnote 2 to Document 280.

[2] The Allied Control Council for Germany comprised the four occupying powers: the United Kingdom, United States, France and the Soviet Union. Its activities were suspended when the Soviet representative withdrew on 20 March 1948.

[AA : A1838, 29/2/3/7, II]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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