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204 Burton to Massey

Memorandum CANBERRA, 25 August 1948

In order to provide for continuity of reporting from your post, as
well as to give a coherent picture of events and conditions in the
colony of Singapore and the Federation of Malaya, it is considered
that a fortnightly telegram summarising events of importance
should be sent from Singapore. This telegram should arrive in the
Department each alternate Monday, commencing on Monday, 13th
September, 1948. The material contained in the telegram could then
be used in the fortnightly 'Political Intelligence Summary' and so
supplement the rather meagre information given in the Summary at

2. We had contemplated the institution of this fortnightly
telegram before the Political Secretary's letter No. 1895 to the
Head of the Pacific Division had been received. We fully agree
with the general object of reporting as stated in this letter,
namely to report on matters of current interest such as the
present emergency and on routine items such as important
legislative and administrative measures which may have a bearing
on Australia.

3. By means of these fortnightly telegrams, as well as despatches,
memoranda and the telegrams which you already send it should be
possible to present a more adequate picture of conditions and
events in Malaya.

4. It may also be possible for you to send in your fortnightly
telegrams a summary of the situation in Burma. We are asking the
Consul-General in Bangkok to send us summaries of the situation in
French Indo-China, but we should be grateful for your opinion as
to whether you are in a better position to gain information
regarding French Indo-China than our representative in Siam.

5. These fortnightly telegrams will, of course, continue to be
supplemented by regular despatches. As well as covering the major
political, economic, social, legislative and administrative events
by telegram and despatch, it would be appreciated if you would
report also on such items as:-

Number of Australians in Malaya.

Number of Planters.

Percentage of foreign owned to native owned Estates
Personalities of Malaya, and
General Reports on each of the States, etc.

6. We should also be glad to receive such information as you may
be able to obtain of North Borneo, Brunei, Sarawak, Christmas
Island and the Cocos and Keeling Island.

Such information would, of course, be forwarded mainly in
despatches and memoranda.

7. It has been the practice to distribute your despatches to other
Departments, organizations and persons in accordance with their
subject-matter. For instance, Despatch No. 43 is being distributed
to Defence and the A.C.T.U. [1] Despatch No. 41 was distributed to
Defence and C.I.S. [2], Despatch No. 36 to the National
University, Commonwealth Office of Education and Sir Frederic
Eggleston, Despatch No. 35 to Defence, Treasury and P.W.R. [3],
Despatch NO 34 to Defence, Commerce & Agriculture, Trade &

Customs, Treasury and Immigration. Copies of most despatches are
also sent to the New Zealand Government through the Australian-New
Zealand Secretariat.

1 Australian Council of Trade Unions.

2 Commonwealth Investigation service.

3 Department of Post-war Reconstruction.

[AA: A1838/283,381/1/1, ii]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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