307 Burton to Officer

Cablegram 115 CANBERRA, 1 September 1947


Minister leaves 4th (September) for New York. He is candidate for Assembly President. Assembly Session will be [most] [1] difficult one and you will agree that no [one] is better placed than Minister to assist [deliberations] and endeavour to maintain balanced debates.

2. I think you could assist our relations with the Dutch greatly by a full and frank talk with the Foreign Minister saying that we consider voluntary decision to agree to ... Security Council's suggestion of [commission of] three to be a wise one; that we shall do our best to assist in a final and satisfactory settlement; that our motives all through have been to avoid bitter public discussion and we believe we have succeeded and that Dutch position has improved as a result of our efforts; and that it would be a great pity if Indonesian matters in any way prevented Australia and the Netherlands working together on [United] Nations matters.

3. One clear demonstration of our continued cordial relations would be the ratification of the South Seas Commission Agreement.

[2] Another, which would be regarded particularly in New York as a tribute to the spirit of the Netherlands in relation to the United Nations, would be outspoken support for the Minister as President of Assembly.

4. I have not discussed this with the Minister but I feel confident that this is something you could do with great benefit to Australian-Dutch relations and to the United Nations faced now with most critical problems.

1 Words in square brackets (missing in the cablegram received at the Legation in The Hague) have been inserted from a draft copy of the cablegram on file AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, iii.

2 An agreement establishing the South Pacific Commission had been signed in Canberra on 6 February, and ratified within a few weeks by the governments of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. For reasons which were given as procedural, the governments of the United States, France and the Netherlands were unable to ratify the agreement before 1948. It came into force formally on 29 July 1948 following ratification by the Netherlands. For documents relating to this issue see Volume XII.

[AA:A8108, 221/4/1, i]