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98 Mackay to Evatt Dispatch Delhi 40/46

NEW DELHI, 2 September 1946

I have the honour to inform you that, following our conversation
in Karachi on August 26th, 1946 [1], I called upon Mr. Jawaharlal
Nehru, President All-India Congress, in New Delhi on August 29th.

A short cable, No. 539, announcing that I had conveyed your
message to Nehru was sent to you on August 31st, as follows-

'Called on Nehru August 29th. Obviously gratified receive your
message expressed grateful thanks otherwise very non-committal.

Nehru invites you visit Delhi in near future. Details covered in
despatch by air mail.'

Mr. Nehru said that he recalled with pleasure his meeting with you
in England in 1938 at the house of Sir Stafford Cripps. His
recollection was that at that time you were still a judge of the
High Court of Australia.

After these preliminaries I delivered your message to Nehru,
following generally the lines of the attached Notes on our
conversation in Karachi. A copy of these Notes was given to Nehru
before I took leave of him.

Nehru listened quietly but seemed very unresponsive and
noncommittal, tired and even nervous. When I told him of your wish
that India should gain her independence yet remain within the
British Commonwealth of Nations he smiled broadly.

He asked me to thank you for your message of good-will, saying
that India would be glad if Australia would take part in any
discussions which might be arranged in the future concerning the
peoples of Asia and the Indian Ocean.

I referred to the discussions between Australia and New Zealand in
1944 and the approach to the Government of India, later, on the
possibility of initiating similar discussions between Australia
and India. [2] Nehru said that he knew about the Australia-New
Zealand Agreement and that later on he would be ready to look into
the matter of talks with India again if I brought it up.

He made no mention of the question as to whether India would
remain in the British Commonwealth or not.

Nehru showed interest in the number of countries in which
Australia had diplomatic representation and again smiled, without
comment, at the suggestion that Australia would be prepared to
style her representative in India Minister instead of High

He expressed the wish that you should come to Delhi and stay for a
few days to learn something of conditions in India at first hand.

Nehru said he was tired of the continual use of the title Pandit,
which was wrong in any case, and preferred to be addressed as Mr.


He made enquiries about your return to Australia, the Federal
elections and constitutional referendum [3], also how long the
elections and subsequent events in Australia were likely to
engross you.

Nehru asked how you thought proceedings at the Peace Conference
were going and remarked on the freedom with which Australia
expressed her views.

I then took my leave, the interview having lasted 25 minutes. A
copy of a letter received from Nehru after our conversation is
attached. [4]

High Commissioner

1 See Document 87.

2 See Volume VII, Document 331
3 A referendum on three constitutional amendments seeking to
extend Federal powers in regard to organised marketing, employment
conditions and social services. The first two proposals were
narrowly defeated and the third carried.

4 In this letter Nehru conveyed his agreement that there should be
'the friendliest relations between India and Australia'.

[AA:A1066, M45/9/23]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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