389 Department of External Affairs to Critchley and Hood

Cablegram 81, 235 CANBERRA, 9 May 1949, 3.55 p.m.

IMMEDIATE PRIORITY CONFIDENTIAL

Your K.307. [1]

Results so far are most satisfactory and Cochran and you are to be congratulated for persistence and tolerance. We should be glad if, informally, you would convey appropriate message of appreciation to Cochran. Clearly the pending Assembly discussion is relevant and naturally we fear many setbacks in ensuing negotiations once the Assembly session is finished. However, while the declarations are not an agreement and merely foreshadow an agreement, they are a basis and imply a firm commitment to negotiate to the ends stated. It will be for the Commission to take responsibility for interpretation and for progress prior, during and after The Hague Conference. Perhaps the greatest weapon the Commission now has is public opinion and it would be wise after the announcement of the present agreement is made to follow through with public progress reports. If, as you suggest, there is a minority arguing that the Republican delegation has been too weak, you should do your best on a personal basis to obtain complete support for the Republican delegation in this present proposal, as a split in the Republican movement at this stage would have serious consequences. The test whether the Republican delegation has been too weak will be The Hague conference itself and judgment should be reserved by all sections until the conference has been held.

It is desired you should attend The Hague conference. Please ascertain the nature of the conference and advise whether you will be able to carry out your function alone or whether you should take Cutts or Pritchett with you. We should be glad to know what assistance, if any, Cochran will have. We assume you will endeavour to have a firm date fixed for the Conference as soon as practicable.

1 Document 381.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/3, v]