18 Evatt to Burton

Cablegram unnumbered SS DOMINION MONARCH, 3 [January] 1949, 10


Received 5 [January] 1949, 11 a.m.


1. I have seen Hodgson's long and rather abstract telegram. [1] Every bit of pressure brought on the U.S.A. or the Good Offices Committee is valuable but the idea of Consular group failed before. Further danger is that if wider body is established log rolling might prevent the nomination of Australia.

2. I feel strongly that the United Kingdom completely misunderstand Australia's relationship with South East Asia. It is a repetition of wartime doctrine of Europe first. Somehow or other it will have to be brought home to them that in relation to this area, so vital to our future supply, Australia and India will have to be [2] about United Kingdom. As it is the Foreign Office has probably prevented the successful solution of the Indonesian crisis. My own feeling is that Australia has been completely right and that its straight dealing in the defence of the Charter will appeal, not only to Australians, but to all inhabitants of the U.N. throughout the world. You may even find trouble with New Zealand over [3] but I believe that your view is clearly right.

3. But representation at, and timing of conference are of crucial importance for reasons that you will readily appreciate. Fixing the location in Australia would prove that it is not a question of colour or race but fundamental general principle. My great concern is that if the conference is held it might begin a grand regional arrangement and lest I should be absent it might be wise to have first meeting take place outside Australia and the second meeting of regional group should be held in Australia late January or early February.

4. You will not forget point that when the United Kingdom established the regional arrangement for Western Europe and laid down future of the Ruhr they invited three Benelux countries whose contribution to the war effort was negligible and we were merely informed of the position. [4] Equally when the U.S.A. and Latin Americans established regional arrangements they still included European countries holding territories in Western hemisphere.

1 Document 506 in Volume XIII.

2 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

3 A sign here indicates 'mutilated'.

4 The United Kingdom and France signed with the three Benelux countries, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Belgium, a Treaty of Economic, Social and Cultural Collaboration and Collective Self- Defence in Brussels on 17 March 1948.

[AA : A9420, 6]