Evatt to Makin

Cablegram E64 WASHINGTON, 7 December 1945, 12.48 a.m.


1. The proposal in relation to Korea mentioned in your telegram [1] has two aspects. The first is the membership of the proposed trusteeship arrangement. As to this Four Power Trusteeship is unsatisfactory. In all probability unanimity would be insisted upon for every decision, that means the veto system all over again. In relation to the Italian Colonies discussed at the London C.F.M. the force of this argument was appreciated because if a multiple power trusteeship were established in Tripolitania for instance, there would be a very strong case presented for the inclusion of Soviet Russia among the trustees. Therefore, the trusteeship of the organization itself was finally preferred.

2. The suggestion of a chairman to come from either Switzerland or the Netherlands seems unsatisfactory. In the case of the Netherlands it would evidence some approval of Dutch colonisation methods which at the present time especially would cause widespread resentment.

3. But the more important aspect of the matter is the fact that these proposals for Korea are put forward not to Australia as a party principal in the Pacific but to the United Kingdom. This procedure should be resisted. The British Government have accepted our main thesis on this point and the time has now come to ask them to state quite frankly to the United States and Russia that in relation to all matters affecting the settlement with Japan they will participate only on the basis that Australia also participates as a party principal. All this was gone into thoroughly before and a special clause in the Australian New Zealand Agreement shows the joint policy of the two countries.

Moreover, it is impossible to justify any piecemeal settlement of these great Pacific questions. What happens in Korea is an integral part of the ultimate peace. We, therefore, should ask the United Kingdom to see that in any discussions of this matter Australia’s status must be recognised as that of a principal power otherwise no settlement can be regarded by them as binding.

4. For the same reason the new proposal in relation to the F.E.C.

providing for a veto on commission decisions exercisable by each one of the four powers-United States, United Kingdom, China and Russia -should be strongly opposed on two grounds. First it is a case of applying the veto system where it has no just application at all. In the arrangements made in London between Bevin and Byrnes to which I was a party the agreed provision was that any proposal before the commission would be carried out so long as two only of the four powers concurred. This means that a veto can be exercised only if three of the four powers objected. Later, the United States went back on this arrangement and altered the number of necessary parts to a decision from two to three and now under Soviet pressure it wants the number altered to four. This means in fact that each one of the four powers can veto any decision and the work of the commission may easily be paralysed.

5. But the second objection is even more important. We find that the United Kingdom is discussing the constitution of this important Pacific body with the United States and the United States is discussing it with Russia and that Australia is not discussing it as a party principal at all. The United Kingdom should be asked to make its attitude clear and definite and not to discuss political arrangements in the Pacific except on the footing that Australia also is made a party to such discussions.

6. I am sure you will agree with the principle of the approach I have stated. It is really established policy and in the case of Korea there is grave danger that we may by a side wind be diverted from our main position which is impregnable.


1 Presumably cablegram 1770 dispatched 21 November. In AA : A3196, 1945, Folder, Outwards Most Secret, 0.29518. See also Document 434 and note 1 thereto.


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