531 Hankinson to Burton

Letter CANBERRA, 15 October 1947


We have been asked to let you know informally that the United Kingdom Government feel that the delay which is occurring in the establishment at Karachi of representation of Commonwealth Governments other than the United Kingdom is contrary to the interests both of the other Commonwealth Governments and of the United Kingdom Government in their relations with Pakistan. [1] At this critical phase in the relations between Pakistan and India and in the Pakistan Government's efforts to stabilise the internal situation and develop its organs of administration, it would afford great encouragement to them and considerable assistance to the United Kingdom High Commissioner to have at hand representatives of other Commonwealth Governments for the purposes of consultation and exchange of views. It would, moreover, be much more satisfactory that reports of developments in Pakistan supplying essential background to the consideration of its Government's representations should be reaching other Commonwealth Governments through their own representatives rather than through the present indirect channel of the United Kingdom High Commissioner.

It is understood that the Australian High Commissioner at New Delhi is not accredited to the Pakistan Government and has not of course made any direct personal contact with the Pakistan Government at Karachi, though one of his staff has paid a visit there, and the United Kingdom authorities fear that the Pakistan Government may derive the impression that the Australian Government is receiving a one-sided picture of current events owing to the better acquaintance of their representative with the situation as seen from Delhi, and of the attitude of the Indian Government. The Pakistan Government would certainly appreciate the recognition of Pakistan's membership of the United Nations being signalised by the early appointment to Karachi of separate High Commissioners for Australia and the other members of the British Commonwealth.

I am, of course, aware that it is the intention of the Commonwealth Government to establish a High Commissioner's office at Karachi and that, in fact, some of the staff has already been designated to that post, but I think you will still be interested in the views of the United Kingdom authorities set out above. They have asked me to add that, in their opinion, it would be in the interests of the Australian Government, no less than in those of the United Kingdom, that early arrangements for separate Australian representation at Karachi should be made, and to suggest that in the meantime it would be useful if it could be arranged for the Australian High Commissioner at New Delhi to visit Karachi to establish personal contact with the Pakistan authorities there.

1 India and Pakistan had become independent on 15 August 1947.

[AA : A1068, M47/32/2/1]