129 Beasley to Evatt (1944 - Volume 7)

Cablegram 369 [1] [PHILADELPHIA], 3 May 1944, 7.04 p.m.


I absolutely agree with your reaction to American draft and specific criticisms made. [2] We were not deceived by the Americans' approach to us after my speech [3] and played them until they produced the draft. Then it became apparent that we had rocked them by coming forward and their draft was a defence. As a result of visiting the shipyards, retail stores and factories, I have some of the political atmosphere of this country and understand the Government's fear of antagonising the strong republican old-time capitalistic group. The formal procedure for us to follow would have been to wait until the United Kingdom had approached the United States on employment agreement, but I am convinced that we have done the right thing. With the freedom you gave me, I had no hesitation in pressing the matter into the open.

Negotiations on an official level would have got us nowhere. You and I understand better than the officials how necessary it is to take matters of this kind into the open and I am convinced that we have done right in bowling it up to the Americans at this time and publicly. We cannot afford to wait for formal procedure and must be prepared to fight. I see clearly now that our whole future is at stake in negotiations such as these and realise the valuable line you have put us on to. It will be a great thing when party and people fully understand what you have done. I shall take care to see that the Australian press report me more fully and connect policy with past statements. I find A.A.P. gave only 500 words to commence with and confined themselves to the bare facts of the policy in spite of the fact that we gave them complete background verbally and in my statement. They were apparently reprimanded and have now sent someone here. I see the importance of associating what I say here with your past attempts and with other proposals.

I am glad to have your full backing.

1 Sent through the Legation in Washington.

2 See Documents 121 and 122.

3 See Document 117, note 3.

[AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3]