475 Burton to Ball

Letter (extract) CANBERRA, 28 March 1947

Your own difficulties in relation to the British representative are fully appreciated and the Minister acted promptly on your suggestion of a statement, as you will have seen. [1] We have had in mind an instruction to you to be outspoken at the Council, but, for the moment, that is being held because of other matters not directly related to Japan which may be affected. We are, at the present time, working on a draft to U.K. pointing out that their Ambassador at Tokyo does not seem to want to make the British Commonwealth arrangements work. I suppose the thing that worries him is the suggestion that an Australian might lead the British team at the Peace Conference.

I think it would be a great pity for you to drop any of this work at this stage. It is just because it is tough going that it is necessary to keep going. When it is known definitely that there will be a Peace Conference, and where and when, I imagine that arrangements could be made for a visit by you.

Meanwhile, there is talk of a preliminary [2] visit-that is the group of people who might be consulted on Peace Settlement matters. In fact, our part in this area is just beginning to gain impetus and the Ambassador's behaviour helps rather than hinders, as it tends to force us to protect our position, particularly in relation to the Peace Settlements.

1 In the House of Representatives on 26 March, Evatt stated that there was no doubt concerning the United Kingdom's support for Australia's stand on the Japanese peace settlement. He drew attention to remarks by Gascoigne that Australia must play a leading part in framing the Japanese peace treaty, because of the tremendous part it played in the war.

2 On this copy the world 'preliminary' has been corrected by hand to read 'Parliamentary'.

[AA : A1068, x337]