215 Nehru to Chifley

Telegram 21045 [1] NEW DELHI, 21 February 1949, 6.05 p.m.


You are aware of the concern of the United Kingdom Prime Minister, which, I feel sure, you also share, over the situation in Burma and of the earnest desire to help the present Burma Government to re-establish their authority and restore peace. Mr. Attlee has ascertained from the Burma Government that the latter would be glad to accept help from Commonwealth countries, and has no objection to informal conference of Commonwealth representatives being held to discuss ways and means. Our Ambassador in Rangoon, whom we asked to approach Thakin Nu, confirms this.

2. With the concurrence of the United Kingdom Government, I offer you the hospitality of the Government of India for the conference to meet in New Delhi. Since the problem is of direct interest to the United Kingdom and Dominions geographically nearest to Burma, it is proposed that the conference should be limited to representatives of Australia, New Zealand, Ceylon, Pakistan and United Kingdom. The United Kingdom Commissioner General for Malaya will also attend. Representatives of these countries will meet first in Delhi for preliminary discussion among themselves. As soon as these are completed representative of Government of Burma will join.

3. I hope very much that your Government will find it possible to send Minister to conference. In view of the urgency of situation in Burma, early meeting is most desirable. I myself will be away from Delhi on 1st March and 2nd to fulfil important engagement made long ago. Any dates, preferably this month, will suit me.

4. If meeting takes place, some sort of public announcement win have to be made since fact or purpose of it cannot be kept secret.

The question is being studied and I shall communicate with you about it as soon as possible. [2]

1 As forwarded by Australia High Commission in New Delhi.

2 Chifley replied on 24 February 1949 that his government could not consider offering financial assistance to Burma but was happy to be represented at Nehru's proposed conference at an official level.

[AA: A6537, SEATS 4/1]