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Tuesday, 30 July 1946

Mr CHIFLEY (MACQUARIE, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I thought that I had made it clear that the matters to be dealt with at the conference had already been discussed prior to the departure of the Minister for External Affairs from Australia. Nearly all of the subjects which will be considered at the Peace Conference were discussed at the Conference of Prime Ministers of Great Britain and the Dominions recently held in London. The Minister for External Affairs goes to the Peace Conference, not only fully armed with the views of the Government on the important matters to be discussed - of course discretionary power must be given to him with regard to details - but he is also conversant with the views, as far as they could be ascertained, of the Prime Ministers. As to the last portion of the honorable member's question, I do not think I should be doing a service to this country, or to the cause of peace, by commenting . on details of the probable discussions, and possibly causing embarrassment at this juncture to the representatives at the conference of the various governments of the British Commonwealth of Nations. It would be of no value to Australia, and it would contribute nothing to the work of the conference, if I made a statement regarding the directives given to the Minister for External Affairs and the Resident Minister in London, Mr. Beasley, who will assist him and later relieve him at the conference.

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