519 Beasley to Chifley

Cablegram 295 LONDON, 25 October 1947, 12.30 p.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 337. Siam.

Siamese Ambassador [1] called on me on 24th October and stated he had come 'on his own initiative' to let me know that Siamese Government had presented an Aide-Memoire to Australian Consul General in Siam suggesting a revision of Peace Agreement between Siam and Australia. [2] He said that Agreement had practically been fulfilled but that question of claims was a difficult one and it was desirable in view of Siamese Government to settle claims by a lump sum payment as soon as possible.

2. Ambassador suggested that as United Kingdom and India were also involved it might be most convenient (although he had no instructions on this point) for preliminary negotiations to be carried on in London for a revision of Agreement. I said that I had heard that Siamese Government was requesting revision but that matter raised many difficult questions for Australia which would have to be very carefully considered as there were many claimants and considerable amounts involved. I told him that I would report conversation to you.

3. Ambassador said that when he put proposal for revision to Foreign Office he was told that matter would involve much consideration by United Kingdom Departments and consultations with Australia and India.

4. I think that Siamese realise that our attitude on revision will probably be tougher than that of United Kingdom and that they therefore think that it might assist to overcome our resistance if conversations took place in London. [3]

5. Otherwise our conversation was very general dealing with spoiling of crops this year, smuggling of rice, gratitude for Australia's support for Siamese admission to United Nations, importance of cultural relations between Siam and Australia (for example education of Siamese students in Australia) and wish of Siamese Minister for Foreign Affairs [4] that Dr. Evatt should visit Bangkok on his way back to Australia.

1 Nai Direck Jayanama.

2 The Siamese Prime Minister and Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rear-Admiral Luang Thamrong Navasvasti, presented the aide memoire to Eastman on 21 October.

3 On 20 October the Department of External Affairs advised Eastman that any question of accepting a lump sum payment could not usefully be discussed until all Australian claims had been received and an estimate formed of the total amount involved. It also directed that the Siamese should not be led to believe they could obtain any revision of the Australian-Siamese Agreement.

4 Luang Arthakitti Kamchorn.

[AA : A1838,453/9/5/3/1/1, iii]