130 Burton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 58 NEW DELHI, 20 January 1949, 10.35 p.m.


My immediately preceding telegram. [1] Asian Conference.

Opening of the plenary session occupied the first hour. Nehru's speech set the tone for temperate discussion. No one proposed group action outside United Nations Charter although Burma suggested United States of America should stop Marshall aid to the Netherlands.

2. Nehru made it clear that the conference should concentrate on Indonesia and not divert attention to other issues. Other representatives followed his lead although Burma mentioned Vietnam and Syria mentioned Palestine in passing.

3. Nehru particularly mentioned invitation to Australia and New Zealand 'whose interest in tranquillity and content in Indonesia is as great as that of any of theirs'. [He disclaimed desire to foster radicalism.

4. Most interesting aspect was discussion on regional organisation. Nehru suggested conference should 'devise machinery and procedures by which Governments represented here today can keep in touch with one another for purposes of mutual consultation and concerted action'. Burma suggested standing committee should watch work of Security Council and implement resolutions of this Conference. Pakistan referred to continued meetings of 'such of us as have common problems'. Philippines suggested continuing organisation and secretariat based on article 52 of the Charter.

Several other delegates from Middle East also supported.

5. Zafrullah Khan (Pakistan) made notable speech disavowing hostility or vindictiveness to Dutch and stating that] [2] problem must be settled by Security Council, or if Security Council failed to act, by consultation between the nations most immediately concerned within United Nations Charter.

should be apparent within a few days and is seriously determined that the conference should produce concrete results. There was generally little tendency to emotionalism or anti-Dutch tirades during the session.

We intervened in the closing stages with a few remarks directed against any attempt to by-pass United Nations indicating Australia's position by quoting from the Minister's Melbourne statement. [3] We also stressed that Indonesia was the only subject matter for discussion having in mind not only Arab attempt to exploit the conference but also move which might be made to set up continuing organisation which would develop into a full regional organisation.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/5]

1 Document 129.

2 Text in square brackets inserted from a copy on file A5009/2, A7/3/13,ii.

3 See note 2 to Document 111.

[6]. Nehru expressed the wish that the results of the conference