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248 Burton to Officer

Memorandum CANBERRA, 29 March 1949

Thank you for your Despatches 9/49 [1] and 11/49 [2] dealing with
China and communism in South-East Asia.

These will be particularly useful in relation to the forthcoming
conference of Prime Ministers [3] where these matters will be

Regarding your proposal, there is a growing resistance here, and I
believe in other countries, to any further organisation or
machinery. You speak of a consultative council but already in
South-East Asia there is a complex machine set up and the job is
to get it to work. The setting up of new machinery will not
necessarily achieve this. E.C.A.F.E. [4], the Health Organisation,
Food and Agriculture, and the rest, besides the recently suggested
regional organisation [5], should be adequate to carry out the
purposes which were set out in the Annex to your Despatch No. 11.

As far as we can make out, however, the governments primarily
concerned not only take no positive steps to make the existing
machinery work, but seem to connive in moves to prevent its

This forthcoming conference at London will provide an opportunity
of discussing these matters fully. It seems to me a pity that the
conference is at London as it carries with it the implication that
communism in South-East Asia is best met by some concerted action
from a point in Europe, whereas, of course, it is a local
political problem with all the countries concerned and the
responsibility must lie on the governments of South-East Asia.

[matter omitted]

1 Not published.

2 Document 247.

3 Held in London, 21-27 April 1949.

4 Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East.

5 See Document 142.

[AA:A4145, RC2]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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