53 Mr R. G. Menzies, Prime Minister, to Dr C. J. Pao, Chinese Consul-General in Australia

Letter CANBERRA, 7 August 1940

I have to thank you for your recent letters [1] to me in which you inform me of your Government's instructions to you regarding an exchange of diplomatic representatives between China and Australia. As you were assured last month on behalf of my colleague, the Minister for External Affairs [2], the representations you have made on this subject have been under our close and sympathetic consideration.

The Commonwealth Government remains desirous of cultivating the closest and friendliest possible relations with the other countries of the Pacific area and you may be certain that in the pursuance of this policy we do not overlook the position of China.

The matter, however, has certain practical aspects which cannot be disregarded. You will recall that although the original anouncement of the Government's intention to establish Australian overseas representation was made early last year, it was several months before the actual establishment of the first Australian Legation abroad, that in Washington, was effected. Similarly you will realise requirements of staff and other matters of organisation render extensions of Australian representation abroad a serious question for us at the present time.

In the meanwhile the Commonwealth Government will continue to do all in its power to maintain the most cordial relations with the nations of the Pacific including your own great country. When the time comes for further steps in our policy for the exchange of diplomatic representation in the Pacific area you may be sure that China will be in the forefront of our consideration.

I appreciate your offer to come to Canberra, and if this becomes desirable I shall immediately communicate with you.


1 Pao's letter of 24 June is printed as Document 431 in Documents on Australian Foreign Policy 1937-49, vol. III. His letters of 26 and 29 July and 5 August are on file AA:CP290/2, 9.

2 John McEwen's letter of 2 July is on file AA:A981, Australia 162, i.

[AA: CP290/2, 9]