39 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram E5 CANBERRA, 7 January 1949, 12.20 p.m.

PERSONAL

Have spoken to Prime Minister who sends message he was aware of difficulties and inconvenience to you and to me, but considered this the only compromise which would overcome the local political difficulties of sending a Minister and avoid a rebuff to India and other countries. As conference has now been postponed to 20th and Council has opportunity to meet, he hopes even yet Conference can be avoided or postponed for month or so when it would have more positive regional use. At this stage, he considers inadvisable alter plans as no adverse comments and wants me to be in Canberra in readiness to leave on 14th, if necessary.

2. In my view, conference has been hastily called and cannot achieve any positive result and apparently this view shared in India. There is distinct possibility postponement and we have been pressing United Kingdom and United States of America for action in Council and India to reconsider position quickly as soon as Council has met. My guess at moment is Conference will go on and adjourn after few meetings, awaiting outcome Council orders and visit of Dutch Prime Minister.

3. Australian presence seems important for reasons you gave [1] and it may be we can turn conference into regional arrangement. I fear the others [2] you mention may either lead us into trouble or on the other hand be too negative.

4. Will send telegram later today on Perth, Melbourne, Sydney arrangements.

1 See Document 18.

2 i.e. Gollan, or Critchley or McIntyre (see Document 38.)

[AA : A9420, 7]