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Historical documents

193 Curtin to van Aerssen

Letter MELBOURNE, 14 May 1943

With reference to our conversation this morning, and the 'aide-
memoire' [1] which you kindly left with me regarding recent
speeches by Dr. Evatt, you will appreciate that I am not in
possession of the complete text of his statements [2] and am
relying on the very abridged telegraphed press reports which you
submitted. Even from these, however, it is clear to me that Dr.

Evatt did not imply more than that there should be friendly
collaboration and co-operation as regards the territories in which
our two countries are specially interested, and as regards which
we will have definite obligations in the post-war period.

The use of the word 'partner' may have caused some
misunderstanding in your mind but as between the members of the
British Commonwealth it is a word freely and commonly used,
denoting a close association imbued with high ideals for the
prosecution of a great purpose and a great cause. At the same
time, the respective members of the Commonwealth are completely
autonomous and independent.

I feel that Dr. Evatt was in reality paying a compliment to your
people, in that he hoped that the close co-operation and
comradeship established by the sacrifice of war would be carried
into the paths of peace, to the mutual advantage, prosperity and
security of our respective peoples.


1 The Netherlands Minister to Australia's aide-memoire is
published as Document 192.

2 Curtin subsequently received the full text of an address
delivered by Evatt at Holland House, New York, on 26 April and on
21 May forwarded a copy of it to van Aerssen (see file AA:A989,

[AA:A989, 43/600/5/1/2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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