Evatt to Chifley and Makin

Cablegram EC4 LONDON, 12 September 1945, 4 p.m.


On the first day after arrival in London I saw both Addison and Bevin and put fully to them the case for direct participation of Australia in activities of the Council of Foreign Ministers, at any rate where Australia was specially concerned. I have seen them both again subsequently and also Attlee on the same matter.

2. All three Ministers are receptive of Australia’s viewpoint and gave evidence of desiring to be helpful.

3. Subsequent to my second interview with Bevin and Addison, the latter informed me that the United Kingdom Government would make an opportunity early in the proceedings of the Council to secure the assent of the other four Governments to the proposition that Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have a ‘direct interest’ in the questions of the Italian Peace Treaty, the disposal of the Italian colonies and any Far Eastern questions which may come before the Council. The note further stated that the United Kingdom representative would also propose that the Council might pass an early resolution expressing its intention to invite the representatives of Governments thus directly concerned for consultation and naming the States to whom this invitation would be sent.

4. The United Kingdom Government also undertook to arrange for myself to have regular consultations day by day through personal meetings with Addison which Bevin or his Deputy would attend. This proposal, while not without considerable value, is not an adequate substitute for direct participation. Therefore, I sent Bevin a letter explaining that the test of ‘direct interest’ did not adequately meet the case presented by Australia and supported by the Canadian viewpoint as expressed in the telegram from Mackenzie King of the 28th of August. The letter stated that the strength of our case for direct participation in the Council is quite independent of any ‘direct interest’ in particular and general questions and is based on the claim of justice and fair dealing between the Allies. The case derives from the fact that our war effort from 1939 to 1945 played a very substantial part in the defeat of Italy, Germany and Japan and that the right of taking part in the preparation of the Peace terms is an ordinary incident of active and successful belligerency, each belligerent nation being entitled to such a share in the making of the peace as is commensurate with its contribution towards victory.

5. I pointed out that the general principles of the peace would probably be settled in the Council and that some representation on a just basis should be extended so as to include the nations, not many in number, which have contributed substantially as belligerents to victory. Certain positive suggestions are now being taken up by Bevin with a view to our being actually present at the meetings in the near future. However, the rule adopted at Potsdam was that no extra representation should be granted without Five Power unanimity so that we will probably have some setbacks in the great struggle to safeguard the just claim of Australia.

6. A principal object is to ensure our participation in all Pacific and Far Eastern matters and this object I always have to keep in view. The whole matter bristles with difficulties and I know you will not underrate them.



[AA : A1066, H45/1016/5/2]