30 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram E20 LONDON, 12 October 1948, 7.08 p.m.

SECRET

First Plenary Session of Conference [1] was held yesterday afternoon and was devoted to Economic Matters. Cripps gave an admirable survey of the economic position and prospects based on the document entitled 'Long term programme', which you have already read. The Chancellors survey did not bring out any points of which you are not already aware. I responded briefly by congratulating the Chancellor on your behalf on both his exposition of a very difficult and complex problem and on the record of achievements and thorough planning for the future which was revealed. I referred to your own part in the rehabilitation planning especially to your general directive of steady assistance to Britain. The general approach was warmly approved by all other dominions represented without prejudice to any special points which Coombs, Wheeler, Wilson and Tonkin [2] are now examining.

Very favourable feature was the attitude of Nehru. [3] A general discussion on economic matters is scheduled for Wednesday.

1 The British Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference, commenced 11 October 1948.

2 J.A. Tonkin, Assistant secretary, Department of Commerce.

3 Nehru had expressed 'interest and admiration' in regard to the UK Government's efforts to deal with its economic situation but had urged the importance, also, of developing those parts of the world that were industrial backward.

[AA: A1838/283, TS899/6]