69 Davis to Forsyth and Critchley

Note CANBERRA, 1 July 1947


Preparatory Asian Regional Conference New Delhi 27th October to 10th November

It appears to be highly desirable that (a) Australia should be represented at the above Conference; and (b) the Australian Government representation should include a person either well versed or well briefed in the politico-economic issues of India, South East Asia and China, for the following, among other, reasons:-

(1) Australia's presence is particularly requested, as it is in some sense regarded as a model and source of information for the Asiatic countries in relation to labour conditions, labour laws, etc;

(2) the desirability of regional co-operation. This has been emphasised as a fundamental part of the Government's policy;

(3) Solution of Asiatic labour problems by migration is likely to be canvassed, just as it was at the Montreal Conference in 1946, especially by Bajpai [1] (India);

(4) The important effects on Australia's economy of greatly increased efforts towards industrialisation in Asia as part of a plan to raise living standards-including a greater demand for Australian capital goods;

(5) Asia will remain ripe for the extension of Soviet influence unless an improvement in labour conditions, labour laws etc. is brought about;

(6) An improvement in labour standards in Asia will depend in part on first raising the standard of health and educational services, and this is a sphere of activity in which Australia can be of increasing assistance. [2]

1 Sir Girja Shankar Bajpai, Agent-General for India in the United States, October 1941 - November 1946; Secretary-General, Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, from June 1947.

2 The file copy bean Forsyth's handwritten comment: 'We can't afford to be ignorant of discussions such as this Conf. will provide for'.

[AA : A1838, 859/15, i]