Evatt to Oldham for Addison

Cablegram 222 CANBERRA, 9 August 1945


Please deliver personally to Lord Addison, Dominions Secretary, London.

1. Welcoming the spirit of your recent message to the Dominions

_on recent developments.

2. In our view it is essential that the attitude of the United Kingdom Government in relation to the effective International status of countries like Australia should be reviewed by the new Government, particularly by yourself and the Foreign Secretary.

3. We have just received the cable [2] explaining how it was that Australia was not consulted before the ultimatum was recently issued to Japan at the Potsdam Conference. When this cable is analysed it evidences an indifference, presumably by the officials of the Foreign Office, to what should now be the fully recognised status and position of Australia and other Dominions. This is not an isolated instance. Exactly the same thing occurred in connection with the Cairo Conference when we heard from the Press of vital decisions involving territorial adjustment in the Pacific. Full consultation on an equal footing is the only basis of complete confidence and co-operation.

4. I assume you are now acquainted with the general contents of the two recent telegrams [3] from us to the Dominions Office. If so you can fully appreciate the general nature of our case and how we feel about it. I need only add, with regard to the future treatment of Italy, a reference to Australia’s part in the war against Italy, especially in Greece, Crete, North Africa, the Levant and at sea, and also because the whole of Italy’s former colonies are on the highway from Australia to Great Britain. I am sure you are also aware of the fact that for a vital period of the European war more than half of the personnel of the air crews of the Royal Air Force came from the Dominions.

5. Frankly, I think that Mr. Lloyd George [4] gave more effective recognition of the role of the Dominions in the settlement of world peace than the United Kingdom has done in connection with the present European war. I would suggest you might study the extraordinary series of documents by which the express mention of the name of Australia and the other Dominions belligerent was deliberately excluded from the list of countries with whom the armistice with Germany was made. Because of all this we asked for and received definite undertakings from Mr. Churchill speaking on behalf of the War Cabinet during the London talks in April last that we would be regarded as parties principal in the Peace Settlement.

6. The inclusion of China in the Council in respect of European affairs and the non-inclusion of the Dominions seems to me to be absolutely unjust and almost irrational. The fact that China is a permanent member of the Security Council of the proposed World Organisation is beside the point because the charter clearly contemplates that the Peace Settlement shall be in the hands of the Governments actively concerned in the war and not in the hands of the Organisation and that the peace terms shall be carried out by those Governments. Australia is one of those Governments.

7. Our desire is to work in the closest harmony with you but the events of 1942 in the Pacific have produced a deep impression in this Country and it is quite impossible to expect Australia to have these matters cleared through London instead of having a right to participate as a principal in the planning of the Peace Settlement, not only in the Pacific but in Europe. The only effective way of exercising this right is as a full member of the Council of Foreign Ministers and I am convinced that if you stood out for this membership could not in justice be refused by the other powers to such active belligerents as Australia, Canada and other British Dominions.

8. I am hopeful that you will assist in bringing this necessary expansion of the Council and that you will not fail to communicate with me personally whenever you are at all disposed to do so.


[AA : A3196, 1945, FOLDER, OUTWARDS MOST SECRET, 0.20804/825]

1 Cablegram D1367, dispatched 3 August. On file AA : A3195, 1945 I.25164. Addison pledged ‘to maintain and develop the system of close cooperation and consultation between the United Kingdom Government and other Governments of the British Commonwealth’.

2 Document 162.

3 Documents 141 and 149.

4 U.K. Prime Minister 1916-22.


[1] I would like to send you a very frank expression of our views