Evatt to Curtin and Beasley

Cablegram E3 LONDON, 13 April 1945,12.45 p.m.


1. The work of the Conference is now finishing. No resolutions have been taken but there is general agreement with Australia’s general attitude as summarised in my recent cablegram. [1] Moreover, the Conference is accepting in principle our proposed strengthening of the Social and Economic Council by providing that the nations must pledge themselves to carry out economic objectives such as full employment and that Council be empowered to initiate International conventions with such ends in view.

2. It is only right to say that the burden on myself has been an extremely heavy one. It includes stating the case on every point and also the closest supervision of the drafting and technical committees. However, it is universally stated by the delegations and their advisers that Australia has undoubtedly taken the leading part in the proceedings. Eden, Cranborne and Attlee have all made statements to that effect.

3. A considerable practical difficulty over the legal work now arises with regard to San Francisco. I am sending Bailey to Washington to assist in the supervision of the drafting of the new statute for a permanent Court of International Justice. At the same time there are technical questions of drafting which will arise under almost every clause of the Dumbarton Oaks draft. Quite a number of these clauses will need the most careful amendment.

Commissions and committees will be appointed to deal with each chapter of the long draft constitution and matters of legal interpretation and drafting will continually arise during the proceedings of the commissions. Bailey will help greatly but it will be almost impossible for him and me to do all this work owing to the fact that the commissions and committees must have one or more delegates present. There will be continual reference to and back from experts and advisers. In the circumstances, I would strongly recommend that Knowles [2] be requested to fly to San Francisco so as to be available there to act in conjunction with Bailey. Knowles has already made several suggestions which have been valuable. He is very well acquainted with the charter of the League of Nations and his skill in drafting is unsurpassed.

4. This visit will mean his being away for some weeks at least and it is a question for him whether Castieau [3] can carry on in his absence. My own opinion is that Castieau can do so. The Bills of the session were for the most part finished under my general direction before I left Australia. Please discuss matter with Knowles and Castieau. It will be a great help if he can be sent.


Best wishes, EVATT


1 Presumably Document 69.

2 Sir George Knowles, Solicitor-General.

3 J. G. B. Castieau, Assistant Secretary and Assistant Parliamentary Draftsman, Attorney-General’s Dept.

4 Curtin denied Evatt’s request in respect of Knowles, concluding ‘reluctantly’ that Knowles’ services were indisensable in Canberra for the parliamentary session. See cablegram 30, dispatched 17 April. In AA : A3196, Folder, Outwards to Australian Delegation San Fransisco (and London), 0.9785.