479 Ball to Burton

Letter (extracts) TOKYO, 18 April 1947


I appreciate what you say about the difficulties in leaving this job at the moment. Because these few months seem important in Japan and because the Peace Conference seems nearer now than it did two or three months ago, I am very reluctant to pull out at a time which might be awkward to you and unsatisfactory to me. Now that I have stuck out in this place for more than a year, I should certainly like to take some part, however modest, in Australia's preparations for the Peace Conference, if you want me to do so.

None the less, I cannot carry on here indefinitely.

[matter omitted]

The fact is I think the diplomatic life, qua diplomatic, is most irritating and unpleasant. The emoluments are attractive and I don't imagine I can get any other job in which I can earn as much, but I like to be doing something that I like doing. Moreover, though you will be used to bellyaches from your outposts, life in Tokyo is to me extraordinarily vexatious, with frustrations and irritations in hordes every day. I find that, physically, I am about one third as well as I am in Australia, and I think that applies to a good many other people here.

I hope you will not feel that I am being difficult or temperamental about this. Dr. Evatt, you yourself, and your predecessors have shown consideration and understanding on all questions of policy in this job. I am anxious to do nothing to make difficulties for you but I do seriously ask you to think about a replacement for me by August at the latest.

[AA : A1068, X337]