Memorandum of Conversation, by the Assistant Secretary of State (Acheson)

The Australian Minister called at his request. He referred to a conversation which he had had with the Secretary on March 25, in the course of which he had transmitted to the Secretary a message from Dr. Evatt regarding Australia’s position in regard to the proposed United Nations Relief Organization. He showed me the statements of Dr. Evatt which appeared in the Secretary’s memorandum of conversation of March 25. They refer to Australia’s “possible exclusion” from one of the primary positions on the administration and also to an alleged suggestion that the “executive” of the organization is to consist of the United States, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and China. He told me that the Secretary had referred him to me on this matter.

I asked the Minister whether he had seen the proposed draft. He said that he had not, and that although the proposal had been circulated to the Dominions he had some question arising from Dr. Evatt’s cable as to whether Dr. Evatt himself was familiar with its details. I then explained to the Minister the proposed organization, pointing out that the “executive” was not vested in any group of nations, but would be in the Director General, and that the whole conception of the executive was to exclude national considerations from [Page 898] its organization and to have it in an individual who would have the confidence of all the United Nations and would be free to select his staff from the most qualified persons of all the nations. I then explained the composition of the Council and the three committees: the Central Committee, the Supplies Committee, and the Regional Committees, pointing out that Australia would be asked to play a most important part on the Supplies Committee, would obviously be a member of the Regional Committee for the Far East area, and would very probably be a member of the Committee for Europe.

The Minister said that my explanation of the organization left him in some doubt as to how to proceed. He did not know whether his Government thoroughly understood it, and he himself could well understand the reasons for the formulation of the proposal as it now stood. He added that Dr. Evatt was expected in Washington in the very near future. There was some doubt as to whether, if the Australian Parliament was nearing the end of its session, Dr. Evatt would delay his departure for a few days. However, he thought that the best course was to postpone consideration of the draft until Dr. Evatt arrived in Washington. I said that in any event our plans of procedure contemplated a circulation of the draft to all of the nations concerned and a consideration of it with them. He did not ask me to delay circulation if that seemed wise until Dr. Evatt’s arrival, and appeared to believe that the Australian position would not present any insuperable obstacles.

Dean Acheson