37 Department of External Affairs to High Commission in New Delhi

Cablegram 8 CANBERRA, 7 January 1949, 10.30 a.m.


Your memorandum 928 of 30th December. [1]

Apparently view of Menon, before decision was taken to hold Conference, was that it might not achieve any real purpose. Since this time, there have been relevant developments and there will be more when the Security Council meets which may make even more unlikely any positive result from the Conference. What would be the position, for example, if the Security Council, while not going the whole way which we would like, adopted resolutions designed to ensure that the present Dutch move for early elections was in fact carried out and under the Committee of Good Offices.

It would seem to us that, in these circumstances, the Conference would be in difficulties in suggesting further action by the Security Council and would probably, having expressed its views on the general situation, agree to adjourn for a limited period pending the outcome of the Security Council and Good Offices Committee moves.

2. If atmosphere not unfavourable please put this point of view, which no doubt the Indian Government has in mind, and ascertain their reaction. In so doing, you should put forward as your own thinking the possibility of the Indian Government, if the Security Council decisions are satisfactory, taking action to postpone the Conference for a period of, say, two or three weeks. There are, of course, other advantages in this as greater preparation would be possible and the Conference might be convened as a first step towards a regional organisation as envisaged in Chapter 8 of the Charter. [2] You might suggest that the initiative taken by Nehru of calling a conference may in fact have achieved its purpose by reason of the effect on members of the Security Council without the Conference actually meeting. Avoid any suggestion of Australia's initiative in putting Conference off or not fully supporting Indian initiative.

3. For your own information, our position is that we would much prefer the Conference to be postponed, meanwhile exerting what pressure we can with members of the Security Council, at least until the Security Council has had the opportunity of retrieving the position or finally failing to take effective action. If, however, the Indian Government was committed to the extent of having to convene the Conference, we would still attend, regardless of what decisions were taken at New York. In these circumstances, however, we would probably urge an expression of views from each country represented but with no decisions until the position became clearer.

1 Document 499 in Volume XIII.

2 Chapter VIII of the UN Charter is concerned with regional arrangements.

[AA : A1838, 383/1/25]