525 Mackay: Note of Conversation with Nehru

NEW DELHI, 24 February 1947

On February 24th, 1947, at 4.30 p.m. the High Commissioner interviewed Mr. Nehru in accordance with Dr. Evatt's instructions.

The High Commissioner first of all thanked Mr. Nehru for granting him an interview so readily and he also thanked him on behalf of Dr. Evatt for his cordial messages of good will.

The High Commissioner pointed out the great interest aroused in Australia by Mr. Attlee's statement of February 20th and instanced that Sir Raghunath Paranjpye had issued an excellent statement to the Australian press giving the Indian point of view. Following Sir Raghunath's statement on the same day Dr. Evatt issued a statement which was broadcast by the B. B. C. and had also been sent to the Indian press and on 22nd February had been published in the 'Hindu', Madras. In order that Mr. Nehru should be familiar with the facts, the High Commissioner handed him copies of the statements of Sir Raghunath Paranjpye and Dr. Evatt.

The High Commissioner stated that he had been instructed by Dr.

Evatt to deliver a personal and confidential message to Mr. Nehru and the High Commissioner then delivered Dr. Evatt's message on the lines suggested in cable No. 55.

Throughout the interview Mr. Nehru had not made any remarks on his side but listened quietly to the High Commissioner. Mr. Nehru asked was it particularly on account of Japan that Dr. Evatt desired a conference between the two Governments. The High Commissioner said he could not say what aspect of relations with Japan Dr. Evatt had in mind but thought that it was Japan's position of general influence in Asia which had prompted Dr.

Evatt's suggestion.

Mr. Nehru then asked the High Commissioner to inform Dr. Evatt that he was very glad to receive the suggestion for a conference and considered that such a conference would produce good results in many directions, mentioning specifically defence, trade and communications. As far as India was concerned, however, the present was not a propitious time for a conference and he would like to give the matter further consideration and to discuss it with his colleagues. He pointed out that there was an Inter-Asian Relations Conference to take place towards the end of March and at that moment he was engaged upon the discussion of the Budget in the Legislative Assembly. After these matters were completed there was still the important business of the Constituent Assembly to be proceeded with. He thought therefore that it would be a good thing to allow the question to be thought over quietly for the present and that if either side in the meantime conceived fresh ideas these might be inter-communicated. He asked the High Commissioner to thank Dr. Evatt for raising the matter and to say that he felt that such discussions would be of great value. Mr. Nehru said that after thinking the matter over further he would probably write to Dr. Evatt himself.

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