87 Note by Mackay of Conversation with Evatt [1]

KARACHI, 26 August 1946


Dr. Evatt said he had met Pandit Nehru in England in 1938 and there were present Messrs. Attlee, Bevin, Morrison, Cripps and others now in power in England.

He asked me to pay a special call on Pandit Nehru and to give his (Evatt's) remembrances to Nehru, recalling their meeting in 1938.

Dr. Evatt urged that I should make a special point of this meeting as soon as possible after my return to Delhi. Dr. Evatt said he wanted me to give Nehru on his behalf a special message of friendly greeting and to wish him and his new government success in their task of building up a National Government. He asked me to tell Pandit Nehru that the Australian Government desired to help the National Government in every way that they could. They wished to continue and extend the friendliest relations with India. Dr.

Evatt regarded it as most important that India and Australia should work together for the peaceful development and happiness of the peoples in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. He told me to say to Nehru that it was the hope of the Australian Government that whilst India attained the full powers of independent government they would elect to remain within the British Commonwealth. It would be a calamity if India did not remain within the Commonwealth. Dr. Evatt said that it was the policy of the Australian Government, while adhering to the British Commonwealth, to express its own views when necessary and that Australia had exercised independent rights at all recent international conferences and transactions. No country could be freer than she.

He hoped that India would accept the same kind of freedom within the British Commonwealth. Evatt said that Australia would regard it as a great disappointment if India did not remain within the Commonwealth. Australia was anxious to help India to her goal in every way short of leaving the British Commonwealth. if it would assist India as a mark of her independence, Australia would be ready to style her diplomatic representative in India, Minister instead of High Commissioner, the latter term being one hitherto reserved for representatives amongst the various Dominions within the Empire. Dr. Evatt said that Australia would always be ready to join with India in conferences for the purpose of watching over and guarding the interests of countries in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and in South East Asia generally. Dr. Evatt repeated his desire that Pandit Nehru should be given the above assurances from Australia and reiterated that Australia did not want India to leave the British Commonwealth and that she would feel it a great loss if India ever did. A foreign country in the geographical position of friendly India was not to be contemplated in the Australian view point.


High Commissioner

1 Evatt spoke to Mackay at Karachi on his way home by air from Paris.

[AA:A4231/2, NEW DELHI DISPATCHES, 1946, 1-52]