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Historical documents

370 Shedden to Chifley and Dedman

Cablegram 396, WASHINGTON, 29 April 1949


1. I have completed discussions in Washington but, after full presentation of the Australian case, which is still under consideration, the United States authorities have not (repeat not) been able to agree to my request for restoration of flow of classified information.

2. The present position is that I have been informed that the embargo had not been imposed arbitrarily, that it was not desired to continue it on a permanent basis, and it was hoped that the measures being taken in Australia will produce results.

3. The United States authorities in expressing appreciation of my efforts in the matter and of my awareness of the problem and concern about it, asked if progress reports on the measures taken to strengthen security could be forwarded by me to the Secretary of Defense.

4. On my pressing for some indication of the period involved in paragraph 2 I was asked whether I would be returning home through the United States, and if not, to keep in touch with the Assistant Secretary of the Army who has represented the Secretary for Defense in my detailed discussions. A rather indefinite reference was also made to a brief visit by me to Washington from the United Kingdom while I am there.

5. This interim advice, which for security reasons has been kept as brief as possible, will be supplemented by a report on my discussions which will be forwarded to the Prime Minister by safe hand bag as soon as I can complete it.

6. Avoidance of any public reference to the present position is considered most essential. If any statement regarding my activities should be necessary it is suggested that it be to the effect that my programme as arranged provides for discussions in Washington, Ottawa and London, and no statement on it is possible until it is completed.

7. It is suggested that the Prime Minister communicate all of the foregoing to Mr. Attlee and state that I will discuss the matter on arrival in London.

8. It is requested that Chilton, Assistant Secretary of the Defence Department, who is conversant with the subject prepare a progress report as mentioned in paragraph 3, and that it be forwarded to me in London.

[AA : A5954, 1795/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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