524 Department of External Affairs to Mackay

Cablegram 55 (extract) CANBERRA, 23 February 1947

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET PERSONAL

[matter omitted]

4. Minister desires you to see Nehru personally at once, express Dr. Evatt's thanks for Nehru's messages, and refer to Dr. Evatt's statement set out in paragraph 3, making sure that Nehru is familiar with its contents. [1] You should then add that you are instructed to convey a personal and confidential message to Nehru from Dr. Evatt along the following lines:

Begins,

Mr. Attlee's statement [2] is of great significance. In view of the altering situation, it seems desirable that there should be some talks between our two Governments. Australia has had a good deal of experience in constitution making. Moreover, there seems a distinct possibility of the Japanese settlement coming forward more rapidly than anticipated earlier. If Mr. Nehru agrees and desires to make any specific suggestion, it would be welcomed and given fullest consideration. Ends.

5. Please report fully.

1 Paragraph 3 confirmed the text of a press release in which Evatt welcomed an announcement by Attlee that India was to receive her independence but urged India to be content with dominion status within the 'British group of nations'.

2 On 20 February Attlee announced his government's intention 'to take the necessary steps to effect the transference of power into responsible Indian hands by a date not later than June 1948.'

[AA : A5009/2, A7/6/6/1, i]