132 Department of External Affairs to Posts

Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 10 November 1949, 7.45 p.m.

The following was released to the Press 7 p.m. E.S.T. 10th November.

Begins:-

'A meeting of representatives and officials of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australian Governments commenced today at Canberra, and at six o'clock adjourned until tomorrow. Dr. Evatt presided, and it was attended by the Right Hon. EJ. Williams, High Commissioner for the United Kingdom, Mr. M.E. Dening, Head of the Far Eastern Department of the United Kingdom Foreign Office, Mr.

A.D. McIntosh, Secretary of the New Zealand Department of External Affairs, Mr. F.K. Officer, Australian Ambassador to China, Mr. P.

Shaw, British Commonwealth Representative on the Allied Control Council for Japan, Dr. J.W. Burton, Secretary of the Australian Department of External Affairs, and Mr. L.R. McIntyre, Head of the Pacific Division, Australian Department of External Affairs.

The discussions were based upon the accepted understanding that there shall be full prior consultation between all Members of the British Commonwealth, and as far as possible a common action by the nations of the British Commonwealth acting in concert with the United States of America.

The meeting was given full reports of recent discussions which took place in Singapore between United Kingdom representatives in South-East Asia, and also discussed matters of mutual concern to the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, including the situation in Japan, China, Malaya, Burma, Indonesia and South-East Asia generally. These informal exchanges of views will be followed by discussions between Departmental officers and Australian representatives from South-East Asia, and it is expected they will lead to a further stage in the development of Australia's long- term policy in relation to the whole South-East Asian area.

Already the Australian Government has introduced relief, scholarship schemes [1] and extended its representation. The objective of policy is maximum economic development, higher living standards, and the orderly growth of political autonomy and democratic institutions throughout the area. This is regarded as the best means of establishing a firm basis for lasting friendly relations between Australia and the British Commonwealth nations and the countries of South-East Asia. Australian commercial and strategic interests depend on the maintenance and extension of such friendly relations. Such relations are regarded as the best bulwark against any extremist or disruptive developments.'

1See Document 155.

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