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Historical documents

148 McIntosh to Burton

Letter WELLINGTON, 15 March 1949


I received your letter of 10 March [1] yesterday, and following
the despatch of another telegram [2] by Mr Fraser to Mr Chifley.

This matter greatly interests the Prime Minister personally, and
he is handling it himself. I understand that it has been discussed
in Cabinet and that the Prime Minister's personal views have
received general acceptance.

Within the Department there is a division of opinion but at this
stage the staff have no option but to carry out instructions.

I agree with you that this question as to how we approach South
East Asia is of vital importance to both Australia and New Zealand
but, as things stand, we are not only bound to pursue different
policies, it is more than that, New Zealand is bound to be upset
by what you propose to do. As you will see from Mr Fraser's reply
to Mr Chifley, he found the latter's message anything but

I note also what you say about the defence question, and here
again our two Governments will be pursuing diametrically opposed
policies. Obviously, the occasion calls for detailed discussions
and the best I can suggest at the moment is an interchange of
views following any talks which our Masters may have in London. It
will be physically impossible on this side to do anything

I am sorry I was not able to write to you privately on this matter
before the despatch of the telegrams, but in each case the Prime
Minister came to his own decision very rapidly and instructed that
the message be sent off forthwith.

Please regard this message, as I do your own, as being secret and

1 Document 147.

2 See note 3 to Document 146.

[AA:A1838/278, 383/1/2/1, iv]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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