104 Burton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 40 NEW DELHI, 18 January 1949, 11.45 a.m.


My immediately preceding telegram. [1] Following is text:-

Begins. We are looking forward to meeting and discussing with the Representatives of other Countries attending the Asian Conference the problem of Indonesia because it is a first move in the direction of regional understanding and consultation.

It is appropriate that the Prime Minister of India should have called this conference. The members of the British Commonwealth pledged themselves at the recent London meeting to support the United Nations. Five of its members India, Pakistan, Ceylon, New Zealand and Australia will be attending this Conference called to assist the United Nations in solving the problem of Indonesia.

We have common aims and common ideals and will in consultation with other countries of this region endeavour to suggest means of a settlement in Indonesia based on the principles of justice and encouragement of self Government which are stated in the United Nations charter.

Australian policy in relation to Indonesia and regional co- operation was stated in February, 1947, by Dr. H.V. Evatt, the Australian Minister for External Affairs in the following terms which still apply:-

It is in accord with the principles of the Atlantic Charter and the United Nations Charter and in particular with the obligations of Colony possessing powers to promote the political development of non-self-governing or politically under-developed countries.

Australia is directly concerned with these political developments and their consequences. Just so far as the peoples of South East Asia cease to be dependent upon the decisions of European Governments so far do Australia's interests in the Councils of South East Asia increase. We must work for a harmonious association of democratic states in the South East Asia area and see in the development of their political maturity opportunity for greatly increased political, cultural and commercial co-operation.


1 Dispatched on 18 January, it stated that Cablegram 40 contained the text of comments which Burton had made to the press in New Delhi.

2 In this speech, delivered to the House of Representatives on 26 February 1947, Evatt had predicted increased opportunities for political, cultural and commercial co-operation as democratic states of South East Asia developed to political maturity. He proposed the formation of a regional instrumentality in south East Asia and the Western Pacific, along the lines of the South Pacific Commission, to facilitate exchange of basic information on problems of administration, education, health, agriculture, commerce and cultural relations.

[AA : A1838, 403/3/1/1, xx]