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Historical documents

91 Heydon to Burton

Letter LONDON, 27 October 1948

PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL

You will have seen the text of the final statement on Commonwealth
Consultation coming out of the meeting of Prime Ministers.

The Minister and Mr. Beasley were very active on this indeed and
the inclusion of the sub-paragraphs regarding access for High
Commissioners to the Foreign Secretary and for officials to the
Foreign Office in Item 3, was largely the result of their
activity. This right has never been admitted in writing before so
far as I know and is a step forward. So far as the Foreign
Secretary is concerned, may I suggest that the High Commissioner
should be given plenty of chances of using the newly granted
right.

In practice, of course, as I have told you before [1], we had gone
direct to the Foreign Office unless the matter is one which is
being dealt with formally and thus has to go through the
Commonwealth Relations Office. Generally speaking, I personally
favour individual meetings with officials of the Foreign Office
rather than group meetings unless the subject matter is clearly
better dealt with by a group meeting. So far, except when owing to
absences, personnel in this office has been very much reduced, we
have done as much possible calling on individuals in the Foreign
Office in search of information.

As I wrote to you last year, if we have four people on the staff
here and assuming that someone is generally away at a conference
or for other reasons, we can handle this adequately. I hope,
therefore, that you will be able to keep our strength at four
though I realise the staffing problem is still acute.

The Ministerial meetings to be held once or twice a year with the
first meeting to be held in Ceylon will always have to be kept in
mind in your future plans.

I think that the general idea was that the first of these meetings
might be held about six months from now in Ceylon but there was
nothing very firm on this.

I shall be returning to Paris on Friday and staying there until
the end of the Assembly which I assume will be about the first
week in December.

[matter omitted]


1 Document 83.

[A1838/278,87/1/9, i]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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