483 Burton to Ball

Cablegram 312 CANBERRA, 19 June 1947, 4.30 p.m.


Your 7 addressed to Minister.

1. There has been on your part a complete misunderstanding of the position for which I must take full responsibility. During the Minister's absence in Sydney and after full consideration of your telegram and your difficulties in seeing MacArthur personally, I made arrangements for a personal message to be sent to MacArthur through Army in order that he would receive it direct and in order not to cause embarrassment to you in making a request which you indicated you did not desire to make.

2. This was not sent with the purpose of by-passing you but, on the contrary, the message was repeated to you in our telegram 310 which appears to have crossed your No. 7. [1]

3. I have kept in mind always your personal message to me regarding your own future and have been discussing matter with Minister with a view to use of your services at a time when you will have completed, I believe successfully, a difficult mission in a representative capacity new and experimental in British Commonwealth affairs. As I have previously indicated the Minister's visit should be the occasion for decisions regarding your future and by the time of that visit the work on the Council will have in effect been completed.

4. Your 7 was drafted, I appreciate, without full knowledge of the facts and with your permission I am not pursuing the matter further with the Minister except to inform him of your message and the misunderstanding which led to it. I not only hope that you will remain until the Minister arrives at Tokyo moreover give him every assistance in a mission which should prove of great importance to Australia.

1 Ball received Cablegram 310 on 19 June. That day he cabled Evatt, apologised for the indignation expressed in Document 482 and withdrew his resignation. The next day he cabled Burton thanking him for the 'very friendly and understanding' telegram and went on to say, 'I think you are too generous in accepting responsibility for this misunderstanding. I was too hasty in my reaction. If I can help the Minister by remaining here until the end of his visit I shall de my best to help.'

[AA : A9992, 1]