71 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram unnumbered (extracts), LONDON, 17 December 1948, 10.32 p.m.

TOP SECRET PERSONAL FOR THE PRIME MINISTER ALONE

1. Yesterday I had a talk with Attlee, Bevin and Noel-Baker. They were in a somewhat gloomy mood, partly because of the atmosphere created by the Tribune of enquiry and partly because of Churchill's[1] having, for the first time, in his recent speech, rather foreshadowed a far more critical attitude on the part of the opposition in relation to foreign affairs.

2. I think they feel they have blundered considerably over Palestine and I gather that they now think that they probably made a mistake in not following our suggestion of eight months ago for the de facto recognition of Israel.[2]

[matter omitted]

6. Re Palestine, I would not be surprised at some form of recognition by the United Kingdom in the near future and for that reason consistently with all we have done I hope Australia, which has stuck steadfastly to the United Nations decision on Palestine, will take the step fairly promptly. Churchill's attitude has had a considerable effect in this matter recently and we have a special interest. Looking back it is clear that Australia, New Zealand and Canada wanted it but that the Foreign Office influence insisted on backing the wrong horse. At the same time our relations with the Arabs are by no means unsatisfactory because of prompt assistance to Arabs who are refugees as a result of the conflict.

[1] Winston Churchill, Leader of the United Kingdom Opposition.

[2] Document 45.

[DFAT : IN. MASTERSHEETS (TS) 1948-1949, I.20001]