War Cabinet Submission by Curtin

Agendum 114/1945 CANBERRA, 15 March 1945


MILITARY MISSION TO THE CONTROL COUNCIL FOR GERMANY 1. In preparation for post-armistice control in Germany, the Governments of the United Kingdom, the United States and Soviet Union have approved of a draft agreement on Control Machinery in Germany submitted by the European Advisory Commission. This Agreement, a copy of which is annexed hereto [1], provides that control in Germany after surrender will be exercised by the Commanders-in-Chief in their respective zones of occupation and that the Commanders-in-Chief, acting together as a body, will constitute a supreme organ of control called the Control Council.

This Council is intended to ensure uniformity of action in the respective zones of occupation, to initiate plans and reach agreed decisions on the chief military, political, economic and other questions affecting Germany as a whole and to control the German central administration. The Council will meet at least once in ten days and more often if requested.

2. During discussion of matters relating to the surrender of Germany, the Australian Government made strong representations to the United Kingdom Government regarding the right of nations other than the Great Powers to participate in armistice control in Germany and, though these representations were unsuccessful, the United Kingdom Government obtained the insertion of the following provision in Article VIII of the Agreement:-

‘The necessary liaison with the Governments of other United Nations chiefly interested will be ensured by the appointment by such Governments of military missions (which may include civilian members) to the Control Council, having access, through the appropriate channels to the organs of control.’ 3. It is considered highly important that Australia should appoint such a mission. Many questions affecting the future of Germany and Central Europe will be decided during the period of control, including military disarmament, economic disarmament, abolition of the Nazi regime, preparation for the eventual establishment of a stable German government and the carrying out of the terms of the German instrument of surrender. The Control Council will be one of the main centres of collaboration between the ‘Big Three’ in matters relating to Europe. Berlin is likely to be one of the chief centres of information regarding conditions on the Continent and matters related to the peace settlements. Direct contact with the Control Council may prove one of the most effective means of representing any views the Australian Government may form on the above-mentioned questions.

4. It is appropriate for the Dominions to attach a mission to the Control Council and it is understood that the Canadian Government already has such an appointment in mind.

5. Following the pattern of the Control Council itself (see Article 3 (d) of the Agreement) it is suggested that the appropriate membership of an Australian military mission would be a representative from each service (one of whom would be designated Head of the mission) and a Political Adviser. A small staff of both civilian and service personnel would be required.

Inasmuch as the work of the mission is likely to be specialised and intensive and it is desirable to have a mission in Berlin at the earliest possible moment after the creation of the Control Council, there would be advantages in organizing the mission beforehand and giving its members an opportunity to prepare for their work abroad.

6. It is therefore recommended- That a military mission to provide liaison with the Control Council for Germany be organized by the Australian Government. [2]

JOHN CURTIN Acting Minister for External Affairs [3]


1 Not published.

2 Discussion by War Cabinet was deferred until 1 May, when it was decided (Minute 4174) to confine the mission to one service officer and a political adviser with minimum subordinate staff, and that it should maintain close liaison with the U.K. mission.

T. W. White and J. D. L. Hood were appointed as Chief and Political Adviser respectively. See Burton’s memorandum to Makin dated 22 October, on file AA:A1066, H45/1013/2/1B.

3 While Evatt was at San Francisco, Curtin acted as Minister for External Affairs until he became ill on 30 April, when Makin became Acting Minister for External Affairs.


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