101 Curtin to Evatt

Letter CANBERRA, 29 March 1944

CONFIDENTIAL

I am in receipt of your letter of 24th March [1], relative to the discussion of matters affecting the Department of External Affairs which might arise during the forthcoming Prime Ministers' Conference. You will recall the broad situation as I stated it in my letter of 23rd December, 1943 [2], and the substance of which was cabled to the United Kingdom and Dominion Governments on 3rd March. [3] From this it was made clear that the time that could be devoted to the Conference would not permit of a large number of subjects being considered at great length. They would have to be followed up by subsequent conferences between Ministers responsible for the various aspects of Policy.

2. This situation, together with the documents you will furnish to me and my own knowledge of Government Policy as well as the fact that the services of the Australian Minister, Washington, the High Commissioner, Canada, and the High Commissioner, London, and their staffs will be available, appeared sufficient provision for all contingencies. Nevertheless, if you still consider that a member of your Department should be in my party, I shall be glad to take one with me. In view of the additional burdens that are being placed upon Ministers by the absence of two Ministers, I am not agreeable to the administration of Departments being weakened by the absence of any further Permanent Heads, of whom there will be two away from Australia, as well as the Commander-in-Chief. This should be borne in mind in any selection you make.

JOHN CURTIN

1 Document 94.

2 On file AA:A5954, box 646.

3 Document 62.

[AA:A5954, BOX 646]