170 Hodgson to Evatt (in Washington)

Cablegram PW68 CANBERRA, 1 May 1943

PERSONAL SECRET

Your E34 [1], 35 [2] and 36. [3] I fully appreciate your view. In fact we had a severe struggle with Treasury to get agreement on cable actually sent. [4]

Indeed, Treasury bolted, and got Chifley to approve of telegram agreeing, in effect, with everything United Kingdom Government proposed while our own draft was circulating. [5]

We insisted on reconsideration and eventually reached agreement on draft which both Chifley and Prime Minister then approved. One of difficulties is that Treasurer is only Minister readily available taking specific and personal interest in these questions. For this reason calling of Inter-departmental Committee on Wednesday does provide a brake, and in any case a considered reply representing various interests has to be furnished.

2. Press and radio are still fully reporting not only your speeches and statements but reactions of American press and publicists to them and necessities of this theatre. I have heard nothing but praise for work you are doing from all shades of public opinion, especially when I was in Sydney last week.

3. Political horizon very quiet. Practically no public controversy on any subject, and nothing has been heard last fortnight from any of United Service Group. One or two other new politicial movements, such as liberal democrats, headed by Crick, have been formed, but have aroused apparently no public interest or support.

[6]

Best wishes.

1 Document 169.

2 Dispatched 30 April. On file AA:A4764, 3. It urged that 'after the Bruce report [see Document 167] is forthcoming the matter should be quietly but firmly shelved for the present so far as Australia is concerned', since Bruce could not be expected to appreciate 'the particular embarrassment of the tariff and imperial preferential discussions prior to general election'.

3 Dispatched 30 April. On the file cited in note 2. It suggested to Hodgson that he 'put some brake on Interdepartmental Committee [on External Relations] which after all has no political or cabinet responsibility'.

4 Document 167.

5 The External Affairs Dept draft of 27 April is on file AA:A989, 43/735/57/1.

6 For details of these attempts to form new political parties see Paul Hasluck, The Government and the People 1942-1945, Australian War Memorial, Canberra, 1970, p. 358.

[AA:A4764, 6]