156 Burton to Evatt [1]

Cablegram 419 CANBERRA, 25 July 1947, 1.15 p.m.


1. Message sent late last night United Kingdom that Australia was disposed refer Indonesian matter to Security Council provided no strong objection. [2] Tentative reply is reiteration of argument that Russia would take advantage of embarrassing and discrediting western powers and posing as champion Asiatics. [3] Have replied that clearly western powers, and particularly Australia, will be discredited if no action taken and even more so if Russia or satellite and not one of western powers eventually refers matter to Security Council. [4] In fact, their own argument would demand action by us. It is becoming, in my view, more and more apparent that objection is not to Russia, but to embarrassment which might result from open debate with friendly European power. Our strategic position not appreciated. Long legal arguments are also advanced.

2. Proposal is United States - United Kingdom arbitrate and Indonesians and Dutch undertake to accept joint award. Have replied direct and through Beasley [5] and through Hankinson we would not tolerate any mediation or arbitration with which we were not principally associated and, in fact, joint action of that kind would force us to take prior independent action.

3. Position still fluid. Will be speaking to Prime Minister [in] North Queensland late tonight who yesterday was prepared take initiative Security Council if United Kingdom had no strong objections. United States - United Kingdom negotiations far from complete and unlikely joint action before weekend.

4. Senator McKenna has spoken Prime Minister fully endorsing viewpoint you put forward regardless of United Kingdom objection regarding Russia. At request Prime Minister, informed him your views which, in his view, fully express position.

5. Meanwhile 'Canberra Times', churches, unions, United Nations Association and other bodies demanding Security Council action by Government.

6. Am assuming your view would be to go ahead despite United Kingdom objections, particularly if they persist in joint United States - United Kingdom approach, and confirmation would greatly help.

1 Addressed to the Australian Mission in Tokyo with an instruction that it be passed to Evatt without delay. Evatt had arrived at Kure on 23 July. He arrived in Tokyo on 26 July.

2 Document 145.

3 See Documents 150 and 151.

4 Document 155.

5 See Document 155 and note 1 thereto.

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