227 Burton to Evatt

Draft Cablegram [E87][1], 28 October 1947


1. Have hesitated Speaking or cabling you recently because of doubts on my own views on general situation and nothing helpful to suggest. But [success on warmongering is a sound start & now any move] [2] if followed through consistently and fearlessly to a conclusion, will be better than none. [We cannot let USA and Russia drift on.] Question is who should make the move.

2. Australia is more remote than any other country physically, and I think politically, from present Soviet-American conflict. For that reason there is no Australian interest lost by attempted intervention even though it fails, but everything to gain if successful. Your own personal position with Russian personalities [may not] be good, but your record of objective judgment is good and Russians before Assembly were prepared to accept our sincerity, for example, on Greece issue. Your speech in House on Russia's intentions is relevant. For these reasons it may not be too late for intervention by you, particularly if Russians are now feeling pressure of public opinion.

3. Reaction here is important consideration and anything you do should be backed by direction from here. Chifley is gravely concerned at general position, and Calwell, Ward just returned, also Beazley, Burke [3] Holloway [4]and that group [have I know been canvassing] view that Australia should not be involved in Soviet-American disputes which do not directly affect us, but all could I am sure, be persuaded to support strongly bold independent move to break present tension.

4. United Kingdom and American Government reaction to any move is not important. They will be forced by their people to acclaim any success as they have been on smaller scale in case of Indonesia.

5. For these reasons would like once again to revive proposal of Moscow visit. I am sure I could obtain necessary authority and support here even though it upset Prime Minister's present New Year plans. In fact, second supporting Minister, for example Calwell or Holloway, could probably be arranged which would be valuable Self-protection. [Delay of few months in returning &

delay of planned holiday in New Zealand would only mean your acting later than quiet Xmas period.]

6. The immediate clue is personal letter which has been sent you from Prime Minister and which should arrive about 4th November. It encloses two Shaw despatches on Top Secret American Army plans in Tokyo. Prime Minister fears attempts to involve us in the major dispute and asks you to make enquiries at Washington and London.

7. You have around you several first-class men whose fundamental loyalties need not be in doubt. I gather from reports that they feel barriers between you and them though they are all sympathetic because they understand the difficulties. A friendly encouraging approach severally and together will produce invaluable backing now and later. Some are determined people, but all the better for that, and do not take kindly to accusations of disloyalty. I would enjoin you to make friends of them. They will all come behind any attempted intervention and their uninhibited advice will be worth listening to. [5]

8. I know it is easy to advise from afar, but, if you decide on a plot of this kind, you can count on me fixing this end and then being in it with you, regardless of any Departmental difficulties.

I have a few ideas on objectives to be sought but these not relevant for the moment except that broadly they would be related to encouraging self-confidence in [Soviet] leaders with a view to giving the people of Russia a fair go which seems fundamental to [future] Allied friendship with Russia. You, Plimsoll and I would not make fools of ourselves even though no success followed [6]

1 The serial number is handwritten on the draft copy. The chronological number 18055 is also handwritten, and the outwards cable register records that a cable of that number from Burton to Evatt was dispatched on 28 October. The draft is marked 'no distribution'. No final copy has been found.

2 Matter in square brackets throughout this document has been added or amended by hand.

3 T.P. Burke, Labor M.H.R. for Perth, WA.

4 EJ. Holloway, Minister for Labour and National Service.

5 This paragraph was marked for deletion.

6 Burton telephoned Evatt in New York on Monday 3 November, but no record of the conversation, or of any other response to this cablegram, has been found. On 4 November Burton cabled listing 'in fairness to Shaw' the sources given in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Document 226, and quoting paragraph 3 of that document.

[AA : A9420/1, 2]