448 Burton to Kirby

Cablegram 16 CANBERRA, 3 December 1947, 2 p.m.


Prime Minister is anxious that Stevedoring Commission commence work definitely by the New Year. In fact, because of the dispute [1], he would like to commence within the next two weeks, and asks you to endeavour to return by then or at least by the New Year.

2. This is a firm request from the Prime Minister and it relates to some degree to the tactics I have been suggesting you might pursue. Glad of a message I could convey to the Prime Minister.

3. Many thanks for your 445. [2] For your own information, my impression is that with recent departure from Brisbane of Tjipondok, which we allowed the Dutch to load to capacity on the understanding it was to be the last ship to lift stores for Indonesia, bulk of the remaining Dutch supplies in Australia have now been removed. [3] However, there is no reason why resumption of commercial agreement [4] should not be applied retroactively to cover distribution of goods recently shipped, and the practicability of any future Shipments will be borne in mind.

1 This is presumably a reference to a dispute over wage claims by the Waterside Workers Federation. The dispute threatened to delay the shipment of the Australian wheat harvest.

2 Document 446.

3 See Document 419.

4 The Gani - Van Hoogstraten Agreement (see Appendix II).

[AA:A3196, 1947, 0.20138]