Attlee to Chifley

Cablegram 396 LONDON, 1 October 1945, 12 noon


Australian Government telegram 305. [1]

We are most gratified that you have agreed with our suggestion for a joint Commonwealth Force for the occupation of Japan.

2. We agree with the proposals in your telegram. We should like however, to be sure that our interpretation of the machinery proposed in your paragraphs 6(v) (vi) and (vii) is correct. In framing our reply, we have been very glad to have the benefit of Dr. Evatt’s advice.

3. We envisage an organisation similar to that of the Combined Chiefs of Staff which worked so well as between ourselves and the Americans. This would mean that our members of the joint organisation would be representatives only and would normally consult the British Chiefs of Staff in London before giving their agreement on questions under consideration. Thus the joint organisation would be, in effect, the Combined United Kingdom - Australian Chiefs of Staff, the instructions to the Commander-in- Chief being issued through the Australian Chiefs of Staff.

Reference to Governments would, therefore, be made by the respective Chiefs of Staff to their governments rather than through the Australian Defence Department, as might be inferred from your paragraph 6(vii). Inter-governmental discussions when necessary, would then take place through normal channels as you propose.

4. We suggest that the title ‘Joint Chiefs of Staff’ may lead to considerable confusion with the American Chiefs of Staff who are also known by that name. We suggest as an alternative ‘Chiefs of Staff in Australia’.

5. The British Chiefs of Staff will be communicating with the Australian Chiefs of Staff on detailed questions of organisation and command of the Force. When these details are agreed, no doubt you will approach the American Government with our joint proposal.

6. For New Zealand: Please despatch your agreement or comments on the above direct to Australia, repeating to us.

7. We are communicating separately with India.


1 Document 256.


[AA : A5954, BOX 1797]