Walker to Chifley, Makin and Evatt

Cablegram ILO20 LONDON, 5 November 1945, 4.50 p.m.


1. The Australian Government’s election to the governing body [1] followed protracted negotiations with several blocs since a situation developed in which canvassing of individual votes could not affect the result. Latin Americans were determined to obtain four out of the eight vacancies and made a pact with the Scandinavian Group for mutual support of their nominee. The Middle East bloc decided to support Egypt and the Slav Group, Poland, and both made reciprocal agreements with the Latins and Scandinavians.

Australia’s only hope was to obtain reciprocal support of all four groups.

2. Following your advice re Chile and Mexico [2] and knowing that Macgregor was approaching the Brazilian Government we initiated discussions through Ambassadors and Delegates of those Countries.

The Latins offered Reciprocal support if we could induce New Zealand and South Africa to vote for Latin nominees. New Zealand agreed, South Africa saw no reason not to vote for us but was lukewarm towards the Latins. The United Kingdom having at our request brought some pressure upon the Scandinavians and Egypt we then approached those groups jointly with the Latins and pledged New Zealand’s vote with our own. The Slavs then sought Scandinavian and Latin support for Poland agreeing to sacrifice Yugoslavia. We accordingly negotiated similar agreement with Poland.

3. As a result of these negotiations only eight Governments were nominated, all of which were elected on the first ballot, namely Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Sweden, Egypt, Australia, Poland.

4. The Workers Group elected Monk [3] along with the United Kingdom, United States, French, Canadian, Swedish, Chinese and Mexican Delegates. The Employers Group has an arrangement for rotating representation which according to Oberg [4] affords satisfactory representation for Australia.



1 i.e. of the International Labour Office.

2 Cablegram 363 to Fraser, dispatched 10 October (on file AA :

A1066, IC45/28/12/1/1), advised that the Chilean Govt would support Australia’s election on a basis of reciprocity. It was expected that Mexico would also support Australia. See also cablegram 400, from Burton to Walker, dispatched 15 October, on the same file and cablegram ILO3, from Walker to External Affairs Dept, dispatched 18 October, on file AA : A1066, IC45/28/7/3.

3 Secretary, Australasian Council of Trade Unions.

4 President, Australian Council of Employers’ Federation.


[AA : A1066, IC45/28/7/4]