193 Curtin to van Aerssen

Letter MELBOURNE, 14 May 1943

With reference to our conversation this morning, and the 'aide- memoire' [1] which you kindly left with me regarding recent speeches by Dr. Evatt, you will appreciate that I am not in possession of the complete text of his statements [2] and am relying on the very abridged telegraphed press reports which you submitted. Even from these, however, it is clear to me that Dr.

Evatt did not imply more than that there should be friendly collaboration and co-operation as regards the territories in which our two countries are specially interested, and as regards which we will have definite obligations in the post-war period.

The use of the word 'partner' may have caused some misunderstanding in your mind but as between the members of the British Commonwealth it is a word freely and commonly used, denoting a close association imbued with high ideals for the prosecution of a great purpose and a great cause. At the same time, the respective members of the Commonwealth are completely autonomous and independent.

I feel that Dr. Evatt was in reality paying a compliment to your people, in that he hoped that the close co-operation and comradeship established by the sacrifice of war would be carried into the paths of peace, to the mutual advantage, prosperity and security of our respective peoples.

[JOHN CURTIN]

1 The Netherlands Minister to Australia's aide-memoire is published as Document 192.

2 Curtin subsequently received the full text of an address delivered by Evatt at Holland House, New York, on 26 April and on 21 May forwarded a copy of it to van Aerssen (see file AA:A989, 43/600/5/1/2).

[AA:A989, 43/600/5/1/2]