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216 Evatt to Chifley

Cablegram 162 NEW DELHI, 28 February 1949, 10.40 p.m.


The talks on Burma started to day and were completed late this
afternoon. [1] Nehru and several ministers represented India,
Bottomley and Malcolm MacDonald the United Kingdom. I attended
accompanied by Gollan, and Ceylon High Commissioner was also
present. Pakistan was not represented but a message from the Prime
Minister of Pakistan indicated that his line would be very much
the same as that mentioned below.

2. The question of financial assistance was never discussed and
the United Kingdom suggestion on that line has been dropped. Nehru
is anxious lest the Karens, (who are Christian) whose military
position in Burma is fairly strong, should proclaim themselves an
entirely separate state from Burma. Further, while the Karens are
getting some sporadic Communist support, it is certain that they
are themselves not Communist inspired.

3. The informal meeting was unanimous that a message should go to
the Prime Minister of Burma indicating the willingness of the
British countries represented to joint conciliation as between the
Government and the Karens of Burma with a view to ending the
fighting and assisting in establishing a greater stability in that
country. It was thought that if the five British Commonwealth
countries acted together a good effect would be produced upon the
Burmese people and unity might be restored. A broad statement to
this general effect may be issued late tonight by Nehru so I am
writing immediately as I know that what was unanimously agreed on
so quickly fits in exactly with your point of view, viz. support
for mediation without the slightest financial commitment.

4. Gollan has helped with conference and if a joint mediation
group is acceptable to the Government of Burma he would be able
and willing to join it and would help to strengthen the Australian
interests in that part of the world.

5. Finally, from the point of view of the public, the presentation
of what was done is best described as a joint British Commonwealth
attempt at mediation in difficult internal situation, the British
Commonwealth countries acting together to assist a nation which
formerly belonged to the Commonwealth and which may at some future
time once again become one of its members [2]

6. I suggest a short statement by you on the lines of the present
cable might be made in the House tomorrow. From every point of
view the talks were successful. Any further talks at Delhi arising
from to-day's meeting will be attended to by Gollan.

7. I am sending by bag the statement prepared mainly by the United
Kingdom before I had arrived.

1 On 24 February 1949, Nehru had proposed that Dr Evatt, who would
be passing through New Delhi on 28 February, should discuss the
Burma situation with himself and Bottomley, together with
representatives of Pakistan and Ceylon.

2 The Burmese Government in the event refused the offer of
mediation and denied any possibility of Burma returning to the

[AA: A9420, 4]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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