Forde and Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram 11 SAN FRANCISCO, 10 May 1945,10.40 p.m.


Some account of Menzies statement [1] Australian activities in San Francisco has reached the Press here. We have not received a full statement but you can state that the proposals advanced by Australia at the Conference are in strict accordance not only with the Government Policy as contained in the Australia/New Zealand Agreement and subsequent Wellington Conference, but also with the proposals made during the London talks. The whole Delegation here has been kept fully informed of the amendments proposed, and their objectives from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, the Delegation, although containing persons of different political views, is co-operating effectively in the difficult Committee work.

The following points occur to us:-

(1) It is contrary to all decent practice to attempt to trip-up Australian Representatives abroad while they are engaged in most difficult and important International negotiations and conference.

Menzies appears to have broken this accepted tradition.

(2) No complaint or criticism whatever as to the amendments has come from any Member of the Delegation.

(3) Australia’s amendments are all designed to improve the proposed charter and to ensure Australia’s future security without, in any way, imperilling the general principles of collective security.

(4) With regard to trusteeship, there is certainly a difference in application of principles as between United Kingdom and Australia but the principle of trusteeship itself is accepted by both. In some respects there are greater differences between the United Kingdom and United States of America and Australia.

(5) The broad fact is that Australia has a foreign policy of its own which is in most points parallel to that of the United Kingdom. But in some points, especially in relation to the.

Pacific, Australia has consistently indicated its own policy since 1941 and it must continue to do so consistently and fearlessly.

The trouble with Menzies is that he seems incapable of understanding the great advance which has taken place during the crisis of 1942. His criticisms contrast sharply with the comments of almost all leading American newspapers which emphasize Australia’s constructive contributions.

(6) There is no special speech by Dr. Evatt but at his Press Conference on Trusteeship over which Mr. Forde presided and which was very successful, his answers were in strict conformity with the opening speech delivered by Mr. Forde. That in turn is based on the policy approved by Cabinet and contained in the Australian/New Zealand Agreement and the Wellington resolutions.

(7) You may give the above any publicity you decide.


1 A sign here indicates ‘word apparently omitted’. In the House of Representatives on 10 May, Menzies queried press reports of the Delegation’s views on trusteeship, in particular, that Australia, in opposition to the United States and the United Kingdom, would propose that the general assembly be empowered to place any dependent territory under trusteeship. He asked whether the proposal had been discussed and endorsed by Cabinet before Evatt’s departure. Commonwealth Parliamentary Debates, 1945, vol. 182, pp.



[AA : A1066, H45/771/1]