305 Evatt to Berendsen

Letter CANBERRA, 21 October 1943

I have the honour to refer to various matters relating to the future of the Southern Pacific region which appear to be the common concern of Australia and New Zealand, and to suggest an early exchange of views between Ministerial representatives of our two Governments, on an informal and exploratory basis.

The subjects which I have in mind include:

Post-war security, particularly the regional arrangements for the Southern Pacific.

The future of the outlying territories of Australia and New Zealand and their respective mandated territories.

The interest of Australia and New Zealand in the future of the neighbouring island groups under British, French, Dutch, Portuguese and United States control.

Wartime developments in Australia, New Zealand and the adjacent islands which may affect their political and economic future.

The post-war use and disposal of installations, aerodromes, and other works constructed in wartime in this area.

Trans-Pacific aviation.

The future economic development and social betterment of the Southern Pacific.

Beyond these questions lies the whole field of New Zealand and Australian economic and political relations and my Government hopes that from time to time occasion will be found for discussion of all phases of our common interests at meetings in both Wellington and Canberra. For the present, however, we would wish to concentrate on matters directly related to the safe-guarding of our common interests in the post-war political settlement in the Pacific.

As I indicated in a statement to Parliament on 14th October [1], I propose subsequently to seek an exchange of views with the various Governments interested in the South-West Pacific but, as a first step, suggest that it is desirable a mutual understanding be reached between New Zealand and Australia as sister Dominions and as the two largest European communities in this region, before an approach is made to other Governments.

I should be pleased to receive as early as possible the views of your Government concerning the suggestion for a meeting and the subjects proposed for discussion. It is my hope that the talks might take place in Canberra some time in November. [2]

[AA:A989, 43/735/168]

1 See Document 297, note 2.

2 Berendsen replied on 1 November that the N.Z. Govt would 'welcome the opportunity to take part in a preliminary exchange of views as suggested and also in any further conference to be attended, inter alia, by representatives of the United Kingdom on matters of common interest relating to the post-war political settlement in the Pacific'. He pointed out, however, that the preliminary discussions could not be held until the N.Z. Prime Minister, who was then in hospital, resumed duty. See letter on file AA:A989, 43/735/168.

[H. V. EVATT]