331 Khare to Mackay

Letter [NEW DELHI], 28 October 1944


His Excellency the Viceroy [1] passed on to me the message [2] you gave his Private Secretary [3] on 13th July, that the Commonwealth Government would be very ready to negotiate with India an agreement similar to that recently negotiated between the Commonwealth Government and New Zealand. I have now had this suggestion examined in the departments concerned including my own.

2. The Government of India would be very glad to establish closer relations with the Commonwealth Government. India has greatly admired Australia's industrial progress in the last decade, and as you know we hope to make progress ourselves on the same lines, as soon as the war ends. Indian agriculture is capable of great development and here also we might learn from Australian experience. There is, I am sure, much scope for the regular exchange of information on industrial and agricultural matters and on the connected scientific research and it might be possible to arrange for an exchange of Australian and [Indian?] scientific workers. There is also scope for the expansion of our trade relations.

3. These matters could not, I think, be made the subject of a full-dress conference at the present time, but I suggest you might consider them, and I will instruct Sir Raghunath Paranjpye [4] to take them up with the authorities concerned in Australia.

4. The Departments here have studied with great interest the heads of the agreement between Australia and New Zealand. Our two countries have obvious common interests in security and defence in the East, and I understand that close contact between the fighting services will be maintained. India would welcome an agreement on these subjects, but future defence arrangements are uncertain, and could at present be discussed by India only in consultation with, and perhaps through, H.M.G. The same constitutional difficulty applies to any discussion of the Armistice terms. other heads, for example, those concerning Dependencies and territories in the Pacific, the welfare and advancement of native peoples of the Pacific, and security in the South West and South Pacific, are not of direct interest to India. India is greatly interested both in civil aviation and in migration, but civil aviation is already the subject of an Empire conference to be followed by an international conference. The number of Indians in Australia is at present small and I should like to await the result of Sir Raghunath's examination of the matter. Nor does it seem necessary to set up in the immediate future a permanent secretariat or permanent machinery for collaboration between our two Governments. For the time being the two High Commissioners can, I suggest, maintain an adequate liaison.

5. To sum up, I believe that there is great scope for closer relations between Australia and India, especially for security and defence and in industrial and agricultural matters, in scientific research, and in the expansion of commerce. The material available at present does not seem to justify a full-dress conference but the Government of India would be very glad to consider the matter after they have had the results of their High Commissioner's examination of the proposal.


1 Lord Wavell.

2 Not located. In memorandum 2/44 of 8 February, Hodgson asked Moodie, Official Secretary of the High Commission in New Delhi, to '...informally explore the possibilities of an understanding between the Governments of India and Australia similar to that which exists between Australia and New Zealand'. Moodie advised on 10 November, in memorandum DEL 197/44, that Mackay had had several informal discussions with members of the Govt of India on such an agreement and had supplied copies of the Australian - New Zealand Agreement (Document 26). Both memoranda are on file AA:A989, 43/735/762/2.

3 Sir Evan Jenkins.

4 Indian High Commissioner in Australia.

[AA:A989, 43/735/762/2]