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78 Cablegram From Waller to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram, London, 4 April 1951


Your 1944.[1]

1. I asked C.R.O. this morning why when Franks had seen Dulles on 30th March it was not until 6p.m. on 3rd April nearly twentyfour hours after their telegram 298[2] to United Kingdom High Commissioner had gone to Canberra that this office was advised. They expressed regret and said the failure to advise us in advance was 'an oversight'.

2. Franks's report had been received about lunch time on Saturday 31st March and the Secretary of State had decided on Monday that if your telegram 1753[3] was considered by Cabinet on 5th April Cabinet would merely postpone decision until report of Franks's further interview with Dulles was received. It therefore seemed better to sound out the Americans before the question was considered by Cabinet. They hoped now that this would be possible on Monday 9th April. On basis of all reports from Washington they were confident that Franks could put their viewpoint without in any way jeopardizing the pact.

3. I replied that our great anxiety had been that before their views were placed before Americans, Cabinet should have studied the very carefully considered views of the Australian Government contained in your 1753. This had not been done although more than eleven days had elapsed. Whether doubts about the pact could now be raised without jeopardizing it was a matter of opinion. Australia was however gravely concerned at the delay which had ensued.

4. The Assistant Under-Secretary reiterated that they were confident that the matter could now be discussed with the State Department without jeopardizing the pact. They had learned confidentially that Allison had prepared a proposal for two pacts one with Australia and New Zealand and a separate but simultaneous one with Philippines.[4] He believed this proposal will satisfy United Kingdom Cabinet and that there was every reason to expect a satisfactory answer from United Kingdom Cabinet on April 9th.

1 See note 4 to Document 76.

2 Presumably a reference to the Commonwealth Relations Office telegram transmitting the text of Document 76 to the UK High Commissioner in Canberra to pass to Spender.

3 See note 1 to Document 73.

4 Cablegram 495 (3 April) from Washington had also confidentially conveyed this information obtained from a British Embassy official to the Department of External Affairs in Canberra. It reported the British Embassy's warning that the Foreign Office 'should not assume that the United States had finally decided against pressing for the inclusion of the Philippines in a Pacific security arrangement along with Australia, United States and New Zealand'.

[NAA : A6768, EATS 77, iv]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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