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389 Burton to Embassy in Moscow

Cablegram 143, CANBERRA, 2 October 1948


Your 317.

Co-ordination of arrangements with British and other Commonwealth missions is desirable throughout, but as far as we are concerned, we would not go beyond Stage One which is in any case routine in any situation. Stage Two in view of small numbers involved and in view moreover of likely sympathies of any resident British Nationals other than officials is most undesirable. Stage three is equally routine in event of declaration of hostilities and should await that event. On this basis there is no need for any code word or warning. You should appreciate also that receipt of code word by U.K. representatives does not necessarily imply immediate action by Australian representatives as outbreak of war between Australia and Soviet may be before or after that involving U.K. However in event of emergency involving Stage Three by British, even though Australia is not involved, you should destroy all top secret and secret documents and cypher except one-time pads and E.A. cypher [volume].[1] You should defer other action laid down in British instructions until you hear that Australia is also at war. This news may, if other communications fail, come by e.g. Radio Australia or B.B.C.

2. On question of priority of destruction of cyphers, codes and documents, you should draw up your list in co-operation with British. Even at this stage as a normal administrative act, unnecessary documents should be destroyed and documents better retained at Canberra returned bit by bit by safe hand.

3. You should of course, where possible, keep record of documents etc. destroyed.

[1] Word inserted from draft copy.

[AA : A1838, 1580/1, I]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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