111 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram 50 NEW DELHI, 19 January 1949, 4.20 p.m.


Your United Nations speech [1] Melbourne well reported here.

Thanks for statement [2] on Indonesia which I am having distributed here. Quotation of your 1947 statement [3] has been reproduced here in full in all papers under head-line of Regional Understanding and Consultation and sent by agencies overseas in full. Reporters expressing interest as it was clear proof that the Australian attitude to the present Conference may be nothing new but part of long standing publicly announced policy. They regard that fact in itself as the main news.

2. Nehru and high officials most reserved. Explanation is Australian press comment on Conference and status of representation, Hughes, Harrison statements [4] and loaded Reuters reports. Also greatly increased distrust of United Kingdom Foreign policy and feeling that Australia and New Zealand, because of special relations with the United Kingdom are in some respects party to it. It will take time to break down, and Australian active lead is made more difficult. However, even one day of infiltrating around has produced results. [Hope] [5] you can manage to follow up this Conference by visit to Delhi on the way to London and clinch something on regional arrangement and even, if the atmosphere suitable, something on basis of new agreement.

Some useful preparatory ground work will, I hope, in the meantime have been done.

3. I will be on the spot at some stage in Conference probably Saturday morning on the general question of whether we join in final resolutions. Glad if you will ensure that cables get to you without delay wherever you are, and we get immediate instructions as it is important for you to be able to state Government [gave] instructions even though resolutions may be obviously accepted.

4. Unfortunately, owing to misunderstanding of date New Zealand representative will not get here in time, and Trade Commissioner will attend.

1 The address by Evatt to a United Nations Association luncheon in Melbourne in 18 January. See Department of External Affairs, Current Notes, Volume 20, No. 1, 1949, pp.110-11.

2 On 18 January in Melbourne Evatt declared that the 'action of the Dutch Government was contrary to the UNO Charter and the constitution of the Good Offices Committee for settling the Indonesian problem'.

3 See note 2 to Document 104.

4 A reference to statements of Opposition spokesmen, W.M. Hughes and E.J. Harrison, critical of Australia's participation in the Asian Conference in New Delhi.

5 Text in square brackets in this document inserted from a copy on file A5009/2, A7/3/13,ii.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/5]