139 Burton to Hodgson

Cablegram unnumbered WASHINGTON, 7 May 1944, 1 a.m.


(1) I took particular steps to see that references in last speech to Minister were cabled. I have checked and they were. [1]

(2) You may be wondering why Beasley has not been in Perkins' talks referred to in reports. [2] News of death of nephew came at moment when he was burning himself up in heavy committee work and when we were in conflict with Americans. It was obvious he had to let up and left conference on Tuesday afternoon returning on Wednesday morning, only to make a statement in criticism of American plan. [3] He saw statement only just before delivery and felt strain of making it and went straight to bed. Meanwhile, Perkins had asked to see him as result of letter sent her [4], but he felt it was better to keep out of detailed overtable discussion. He was able to come to election governing body on Friday. His pressure returned to normal Thursday and setback has done no harm, and has taught him he must take things quietly. I shall watch him and advise you in relation to monetary conference [5], but as he is no longer depressed and feeling fine, I think he will be right now. The death of the youth had very severe effect.

(3) Wynes [6] has been ill and will have to receive attention on return to Canada. He is better at the moment. I have therefore tried to be active in three committees, and at the same time not miss a step on employment issue which looks now to be a success.

When at conference, Beasley won the admiration of most for straightforward manner and this made situation easy for me. Quite sincerely, I believe Australia's position in international negotiations has improved very much as a result of this conference. Typical is action of local press in singling Beasley out for special writeup as the most active and constructive delegation. Governing body episode [7] was not brought about by Minister's absence. It was politics of the lowest kind, as all parties had personally complimented him on his leadership and indicated support.

(4) By being active at every international conference, we shall gradually establish our position. Our record so far at Food, Relief and here is good as we have a policy to pursue and many here remember Minister's two visits.

(5) American change of front on employment agreement [8] suggests the present is opportune time for monetary conference and we should keep our price high, knowing how anxious she is for agreement.

(6) I am, of course, working in close touch with Minister and our personal relation leaves nothing to be desired. He has placed a lot of confidence in me, but I never move without consulting him and giving him all relevant facts. He has a good grip on general position and Australian interest, even though he might not always be fully informed of details and past negotiations.

(7) It looks now as though we will establish, once and for all, our interpretation of Article VII Our departmental work and inter- departmental relations should be easier and our Minister's success in relation to most difficult political matter, which no one else was prepared to tackle, will be established. Beasley will not hesitate to tell this to Cabinet and Parliament.

(8) Please see contents this message is not known as Beasley does not wish anyone to know he had slight setback.

1 See Document 134, paragraph 6 and cablegram 387, dispatched 5 May, on file AA:A989, 44/1320/13/3.

2 See Documents 134 and 138 and cablegram 387, dispatched 5 May (on tile file cited in note 1).

3 See Document 127, note 7.

4 Document 127.

5 The possibility of holding a monetary conference in May was still under consideration. See Evatt's cablegram 616, dispatched 3 May, on the file cited in note 1.

6 Official Secretary at the High Commissioner's Office in Ottawa.

7 See Document 137.

8 See Documents 127, 134 and 138.

[AA:A3195, 1944, 1.17457/469/458]