495 Ball to Chifley

Cablegram unnumbered TOKYO, 14 August 1947


Your telegram 492.

1. With great respect I regret to state that your telegram appears to fail to appreciate the circumstances in which I sent you my earlier telegram and also fails to appreciate my feelings and convictions about Dr. Evatt's course of conduct before and during his visit to Japan.

2. If I may venture to say so I believe there are two essential issues:

(a) Whether you and your Government are prepared to continue to accept responsibility for Dr. Evatt's behaviour as Minister for External Affairs. This is a political question on which it would be improper for me to express an opinion so long as I am an official of your Government.

(b) Whether your Government desire to show elementary decency to its officers. For sixteen months I have held an island post and carried out my duties faithfully with what abilities I may possess. During Dr. Evatt's visit to Japan he appeared to lose no opportunity to disown and humiliate me. In my view Dr. Evatt's public statements are carefully calculated to obscure rather than explain the actual course he is taking. His visit was the kind that only a spineless stooge could conceivably tolerate.

3. In paragraphs 2 and 3 of your telegram you appear to imply that it is of little consequence whether I attend the Canberra Conference or carry on here until it is convenient for you to replace me. I am afraid you misunderstand my attitude. May I restate it. I gave Dr. Evatt my resignation. Since I had some sense of obligation to the Australian Government and if I may say so a deep personal regard for yourself, I felt that I should make no immediate announcement of my resignation and should be prepared to carry on for some weeks if you personally desired it.

4. In the present circumstances I propose to announce my resignation on 16th August and to decline to attend the Canberra Conference.

5. I greatly regret that it is under these circumstances that I must take my leave of your Government's Service.

6. I should be grateful for your earliest advice of instructions regarding replacement.

[AA : A1068, X337]