Fraser to Chifley

Cablegram 219 WELLINGTON, 17 December 1945, 10.20 p.m.


I have to-day sent the following message to the Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs and would be most grateful for the views of your Government on the question of American claims for British island possessions in the Pacific. As I leave to-morrow for the United Kingdom, I would be grateful if your reply could be sent to me either at Washington up to 28th December and thereafter to London.


420. TOP SECRET & PERSONAL from the Prime Minister. Your D.2214 [1], 2215 [2] and 2230. [3] I am very much perturbed at the United States attitude towards the British possessions they desire to obtain, and consider that the expression of the views of the New Zealand Government should be the subject of discussions when I reach London.

The whole question is a most serious one, and, in my view, islands under the sovereignty of the British Commonwealth anywhere should not be given up lightly. So far as territories in the Pacific are concerned, it is essential that New Zealand should take the fullest part in any discussions which may be held. This view is, I am sure, shared equally by the Australian Government.

This particular matter was the subject of an agreement between Australia and New Zealand at Canberra in 1944, and before expressing any viewpoint on behalf of New Zealand, I am bound to ascertain the views of the Australian Government. Clearly, the matter is too important to be settled in a precipitate manner and in anticipation of the Organisation of the United Nations.

I trust that meanwhile no commitment of any sort will be entered into by any member of the British Commonwealth.


_1 Document 445.

2 Dispatched 11 December. On file AA : A1066, H45/779/3. See Document 445, note 2.

3 Dispatched 14 December. On file AA : A1067, A46/2/3/3. It reported the further views communicated by Byrnes and mentioned in Document 445.


[AA : A1066, H45/779/3]