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147 McIntyre to Shann

Minute, [CANBERRA], 7 May 1948

I agree that Jackson's vote was, in the circumstances, a little surprising, and that his best course would have been to abstain and thereby retain his freedom of action.

On the other hand I do not think a negative vote would have been warranted on the facts presented. After all, he is our observer on the spot and he professes to be reasonably satisfied with arrangements for the election. The mere fact that the leftist parties have decided to boycott the election does not, of course, mean that the elections will be undemocratic. It simply means that, as in Greece, one section of the population has made up its mind in advance that the elections will be loaded against it. It may be right, but Jackson apparently cannot find a prima facie case for it. It can hardly be expected that the proceedings will be democratic in the fullest sense, but Jackson believes that the Americans are anxious that it should be conducted as freely and as openly as possible.

While reports of odd beatings-up are to be expected, Jackson's despatch[1] does not confirm that intimidation is the order of the day.

Jackson cannot alter his vote now. Apart from the fact that he has no ostensible grounds for doing so, it would look silly. He presumably can, however, let it be known that his affirmative vote was given solely on the basis of conditions as they appeared to him before the election took place and without prejudice to any different view he might reach regarding the actual conditions in which the voting takes place. This would allow us subsequently, if we thought it would achieve any purpose to express dissatisfaction with the way the elections were conducted, and with the result.

[1] Departmental despatch KJ17, dated 22 April 1948.

[AA : A1838, 852/20/4, III]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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