556 Burton to Hankinson

Letter CANBERRA, 22 September 1947

A Note in similar terms to the document attached concerning the South Pacific Commission is being sent to-day to the representatives in Canberra of the United States, French and Netherlands Governments. [1] I should be glad if you would communicate its contents to your Government and advise me of their ability or otherwise to attend the meeting in Sydney on 5th November.

Our cable No.241 of 3rd September, 1947, to the United Kingdom Government refers to the matters raised in the attached Note.

We should be glad to receive all possible support from your Government in (a) persuading the French and Netherlands Governments to complete the formalities leading to ratification of the Agreement:

(b) stressing to those Governments the need for an early meeting, preferably at the time suggested (November 5, 1947) and for the attendance of qualified representatives.

We view with real concern the possibility of any further delay beyond November. Interested groups in Australia are already becoming vocal in their criticism of the lack of action following upon the signing of the Agreement last February. Although the Commission as such is not organically related to the United Nations, failure to make sonic progress in the near future towards carrying out provisions of the Agreement may well evoke criticism from Members of the United Nations who take a direct interest in the activities of Governments responsible for the administration of non-self-governing territories.

1 The Note proposed a meeting of representatives of the six governments in November to consider issues such as key appointments and location of permanent headquarters which were outside the competence of the interim organisation. It also sought assurances regarding ratification of the agreement.

[AA : A1838,344/5/1]