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154 Waller to Department of External Affairs

Savingram 46 MANILA, 22 August 1949, 12 noon
Received 24 August 1949


Romulo has now made it clear that he will not press for a South-
East Asia Union Conference until January. Doctor Evatt's
suggestion that matter should be discussed by interested parties
in New York is therefore acceptable. Romulo would have preferred a
straight acceptance as he realises Philippine claims to leadership
of the Union will be challenged and the general agreement may
involve bargaining and concessions on his part. His immediate
ambition is the Presidency of the United Nations Assembly and he
would prefer to have no other problems in New York other than
mobilising sufficient votes to secure his election. (Incidentally
he is hoping particularly for Australia's support). If he secures
the Presidency, he is confident that he can arrange the Baguio
Conference. Cool reactions by Burma, Siam and the Indonesian
Republic as well as our own non-committal attitude except in so
far as basic principles are concerned do not, he feels, constitute
a definite refusal. if he can play the hand his own way without
Quirino joggling the cards, he believes he can succeed. As I
suggested in the penultimate paragraph of Despatch 21/49 [1], he
believes an occasion will arise between now and January which will
make it impossible for any country which is even theoretically in
favour of South-East Asian co-operation to refuse an invitation to
a Conference. His present thought is that the fall of Hong Kong
(which he regards as inevitable) will provide such an occasion and
this idea has been discreetly tried on the press here. [2]

[matter omitted]

1 Dated 5 August 1949.

2 Australia was represented when the Conference of South and South
East Asian Countries was held in Baguio in May 1950.

[AA:A1838/391, 383/1/2/8, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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