131 Burton to Shedden

Memorandum CANBERRA, 7 November 1949


As you are aware the Government is faced with a number of problems current in the Pacific and South-East Asia area, notably its relations with the new regime in China, the prospects of a Japanese Peace Treaty, the future development of the United States of Indonesia and other related problems.

The Minister accordingly proposes that there should be a series of discussions in Canberra, commencing towards the end of this week, with representatives of the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments. The United Kingdom authorities have been consulted and have agreed to a visit to Australia by Mr. Dening, in charge of South-East Asian affairs in the Foreign Office, who has just attended the Conference of United Kingdom Diplomatic and Service representatives in Singapore. The Prime Minister of New Zealand has also indicated that he would welcome the opportunity for Mr.

McIntosh, Secretary of the New Zealand Department of External Affairs, to be present at these discussions.

Australian diplomatic and senior consular representatives in the area have accordingly been requested to come to Canberra, if possible by Thursday, 10th November. Mr. Officer, the Australian Ambassador to the Nationalist Government of China, is at the moment on his way to Sydney from Singapore, accompanied by Mr.

Dening, and it is expected that they will be in Canberra next Wednesday, 9th November.

The Minister feels that it will be useful on all counts if the Departments most concerned with developments in the area are able to take advantage of the presence in Australia of the above representatives of the United Kingdom and New Zealand Governments and of this Department. I therefore hope that it will be possible for you to arrange for one or more members of your Department to be present during the discussion of aspects in which your Department is interested.

I have accordingly suggested that we set aside Monday, 14th November, and Tuesday, 15th November, for discussions with representatives of other Departments and would propose that discussions of matters affecting your Department might appropriately take place on Monday morning, 14th November, possibly extending into the afternoon.

[AA:A1838/283, 381/3/1/2, i]