323 Beasley to Evatt

Cablegram 208 LONDON, 7 June 1947, 12.45 a.m.


Your 205. You will see from my telegram 183 that when the question of Canberra conference was discussed by High Commissioners on the 21St May, Addison and McNeil suggested tentatively the last week in August as commencing date.

2. When I spoke to McNeil on the 30th May (see my 198) Addison was absent from London and the suggestions made by him were not only subject to your approval but also to Addison's. On his return Addison was emphatic, as I explained in my 180, that he would not leave here without adequate preparation and was unwilling to travel by Lancastrian. This meant therefore that the earliest he could undertake to commence work in Canberra would be the week beginning 26th.

3. To obtain agreement to hold conference in Australia was no mean task. It called for much effort and plain speaking at several conferences. The decision of even obtaining as early a date in August was not easily obtained.

I regret the result of this effort has been rejected so I will inform Addison and McNeil accordingly so they can withdraw their telegrams to South Africa and Canada. [1]

Your advice from South Africa does not fit our information as they have appointed their High Commissioner to attend the conference in London. On Monday morning High Commissioners meet again, and Addison is almost certain now to proceed with original plan of London conference. Could you let me have your view of suitable date and name of representative. Other Dominions have appointed their High Commissioners but you may wish to send a delegate from Australia. Please let us have any material for conference so we can make all necessary preparations. I am disappointed that the plans are unacceptable, as I feel it would have meant a good deal to the Government if the conference had been held in Australia.

However, I will do all I can to either put or assist in presenting Australia's case at the London conference.

1 On 4 June Beasley reported that the Dominions Office had advised Canada and South Africa of the UK Government's intention to attend the Conference in Canberra on 26 August.

[AA : A1068, P47/10/61, ii]