21 Burton to Evatt

Cablegram E3 CANBERRA, 5 January 1949, 6 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL URGENT

Your two telegrams [1] have been most helpful. The Prime Minister is absent [2] and Minister Defence [3] in touch with him. There have been difficulties in having idea accepted but compromise is now agreed, that is, acceptance not on Ministerial level but official. Prime Minister requested me to attend and have agreed as my position in Department will offset to some extent refusal to send Minister as requested and moreover cannot find alternative.

Date not yet fixed but probably within ten days. This is difficult departmentally and personally too in relation to meeting you and to pre-selection. [4] However, I feel sure it is best decision in circumstances and will endeavour to make satisfactory arrangements to overcome above difficulties. Will be back before House meets.

Announcement of acceptance to-night will leave Government free to alter decision in event Council taking effective action when it meets.

1 Presumably Documents 9 and 18.

2 See note 1 to Document 12.

3 J.J. Dedman.

4 Burton was campaigning for ALP pre-selection to the federal seat of Canberra.

[AA : A9420, 7]