105 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram 46 NEW DELHI, 18 January 1949, 7.20 p.m.


Thanks for your telegram. [1] Question of initiative is most difficult especially in the absence of a Minister. For example, at the opening session, friend Romulo, will probably insist on talking and others will follow and presumably observer status would force us into the background.

2. Question of status has been raised by the Press and have told them that we have nothing to add to statement originally made. It is incomprehensible from Conference point of view as there will be no voting and it is only a question of Australia's position in this group. If possible, suggest that observer be avoided and emphasis placed on official status.

3. Have spoken to officials and Nehru. Conference will go along the lines we want but undoubtedly it will be suggested that the Security Council should consider some form of enforcement action, if the Dutch ignore Council or delay. Assume as Australia raised the matter under Chapter 7 [2] you would agree to proposal that Council should consider such action. Much will depend on the actual wording.

4. On regional organisation India can be persuaded to take joint action with us. In the meantime care must be taken at this Conference to ensure that continuing Committee or any such arrangement does not by degrees form into regional group.

5. Indians believe there are great advantages in forming regional group including only those countries with independent status, that is, excluding the U.K., U.S.A., France. Subsequently, it would not then be necessary to include Russia. Otherwise they fear regional group would be over-shadowed by the same considerations as prevent [effective] [3] work at other international conferences.

6. Your statements [4] reported today about the British Commonwealth countries in this area taking the lead even in world affairs was most helpful.

1 Document 101.

2 Chapter 7 of the UN Charter is concerned with action in connection with threats to the peace and acts of aggression 3 Inserted from a copy on file A5009/2, A7/3/13, ii.

4 In a statement delivered on 17 January Evatt had commented that:

'In this region of the world-south-east Asia and the Western Pacific-the five British Commonwealth countries, Australia, Ceylon, India, New Zealand and Pakistan, can and should give a lead, not merely to the rest of the Commonwealth, but also to the World.'

[AA : A1838, 401/3/1/1, vi]