454 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram K9 BATAVIA, 5 December 1947, 10.15 p.m.


Your telegram I.6. [1]

1. Appreciate the Prime Minister's anxiety to have the Stevedoring Commission commence work definitely by the new year and I am myself most anxious for that reason to return at once.

2. Further, I have matters which I wish to put to you for consideration on the highest level which in my opinion could possibly make a cease fire agreement when implemented of unshakeable permanent benefit as regards future status of the Republic. My thinking and the events of the last few days convince me that the policy on the cease fire is at this very moment of even greater importance than the commencement of substantive discussions which in any case will just shuffle on for the first few days as is always the position in such cases.

3. Further, I think it much better for any break in representation on the Committee to take place at once, rather than when Van Zeeland returns in about ten days time because the Dutch will most certainly await his earnest support before springing any plan.

4. I would like you to leave open at present at least as far as public announcement is concerned a decision as to whether I return later or I am replaced and suggest Critchley carry on as my deputy.

5. Modesty cannot I am afraid prevent my saying as far as the Republic is concerned, my permanent withdrawal may cause doubt as to Australia's real interest in her problem. Therefore care is needed in inevitable public statement that will have to be made up here on reasons for my return.

6. I suggest therefore that as far as I am concerned up here, I be authorized to say that I have been asked by the Prime Minister to return at once to discuss my future work as an Arbitration Court Judge and Chairman of Stevedoring Industry Commission. I would like to add if I could that my instructions were to return temporarily.

7. Referring back to paragraph 2 my desire for urgent return is that my ideas would I think be helped in implementation if on Ministerial level, the United States support were gained.

8. I would like to leave here next Monday or Tuesday and shall be glad if you will ask the Prime Minister's approval to this and suggestions in paragraph 6.

9. Further to paragraph 5, if I am permanently replaced I would appreciate the opportunity of personally emphasizing my view that replacement should be of equal or higher status.

10. Discussions on ship should formally open on ship under my chairmanship which ends on Sunday. [2]

11. A reply by return [cablegram] is anxiously awaited. [3]

1 Document 448.

2 See Document 453, note 12.

3 Burton replied on 6 December that Kirby's plan was approved.

Following the first plenary meeting of the Renville Conference on 8 December, Kirby announced that he had been requested by Chifley to return temporarily to Australia to discuss his work as an Arbitration Court Judge and as Chairman of the Stevedoring Industry Commission. Kirby left Batavia by air on 9 December.

Critchley served as acting Australian representative on the Committee of Good Offices in Kirby's absence.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]