Bruce to Chifley

Cablegram 89A LONDON, 9 August 1945, 9.35 p.m.


I have, for some time past, felt considerable concern as to the adequacy of Australia’s representation on the Executive Committee of the Preparatory Commission. This feeling has been intensified during the past few days as I have learned of the calibre of the senior representatives and the type and size of delegations which are being sent from other countries. The senior representative in all cases is either a Foreign Minister, Minister of State, or Ambassador, and the numbers of all the delegations appear to be substantial. For example, the Russians are sending Gromyko from Washington and a delegation of 11, and Massigli, the Ambassador here is representing France with a delegation of 10. Australia’s representation hardly appears comparable to that of other countries and this will, I think, unquestionably cause comment in view of the active part that Australia played at the San Francisco Conference.

From the practical point of view, also, I think there will be substantial difficulties because it appears clear that the meeting will be organised on the basis of at least 9 or 10 separate committees which, while they will probably not all meet at the same time, there is certain to be some overlapping which would make it physically impossible for Australia to play its adequate part in all the committees. It is true that we can leave the work to be done by the representatives of other countries, but this is so contrary to the role that Australia has played during recent years at International Conferences that, frankly, I do not like it. If Evatt is coming himself in the near future, accompanied by the requisite personnel, the problem that is worrying me does not arise. If, however, he is not, my anxieties persist and I find some difficulty in suggesting a solution.

I would naturally be willing to act as Australia’s representative should you so desire until such time as Evatt or some Minister could be spared to replace me. As, however, cable 216 to the Dominions Office intimates that Evatt will be the Australian representative on the Preparatory Commission and Executive Committee and whoever is acting here would only be his representative I would not be prepared to accept such a position, nor I am sure would you ask me to do so.

In the circumstances, the only suggestion which it occurs to me to offer is whether it would be possible for you to send a junior minister with adequate staff to hold the fort until Evatt can be spared. [2]



1 Corrected according to AA : A3642, vol. 23, 1.25649/633.

2 Evatt was nominated Australia’s delegate to the Executive Committee, but was represented by Hasluck at most of its meetings.

See cablegram 216 from Commonwealth Govt to Dominions Office, dispatched 7 August, on file AA : A1066, H45/777/2.


[AA : A1066, H45/777/2]