13 Beasley to Chifley

Cablegram 40, LONDON, 9 February 1949

IMMEDIATE PERSONAL AND SECRET

As a result of your message No. 21 of 4th February following has been delivered to me this morning. Begins:-

The King has given much thought to the message from Mr. Chifley to himself conveyed in his telegram to you of 4th February.

Since the Prime Minister regards this as a genuinely exceptional case, and since a communication has already been made to the French Government, The King is willing to give his approval to the acceptance of the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour offered to the Australian Minister for External Affairs in recognition of his services as President of the Assembly of the United Nations in Paris.

The King cannot, however, agree with Mr. Chifley that the considerations which His Majesty directed me to set out in my letter to you of February 2nd have no bearing on the present case. On the contrary, it was only because past experience has proved that they are both relevant and important that The King reminded Mr. Chifley of them.

The wisdom of the principles underlying these considerations has been repeatedly proved in the past, both in the United Kingdom and in other units of the British Commonwealth. The King trusts, therefore, that in the interests of his other Prime Ministers, both now and in the future, it will be clearly understood that his approval in this instance marks an exception which does not in any way invalidate the common policy in regard to this subject which it is the duty of the Sovereign to maintain. Ends.

[AA : A2908, H28]