293 Watt to Burton

Cablegram 270, MOSCOW, 5 August 1948, 7.46 p.m.

TOP SECRET AND PERSONAL

1. Request permission to leave Moscow by air about September 11th for Paris and London, involving maximum absence from Moscow of 14 days. Primary purpose is the opportunity for consultation with Dr. Evatt while he is in Europe regarding Government policy towards the Soviet Union. Secondary purpose is the opportunity to spend a few days with my family in London and see them aboard the ship leaving for Australia about September 23rd. In case of emergency requiring my presence in Moscow my schedule can be readjusted.

2. Brief personal contact with Dr. Evatt would be invaluable in helping me to understand current developments in Australia-Moscow relationships. During the last Assembly meeting in New York I felt confident that I understood the Government policy towards the Soviet Union and the Minister's speech in Parliament of April 8th and my instructions at Geneva appeared to confirm my understanding. Since that date I have received no information by telegram or by despatch indicating modifications in that policy. Nevertheless, my[1] and radio reports have raised serious doubt in my mind whether I fully understand present policy. This uncertainty makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for me to perform my duty of trying to give effect to the policy in Moscow.

3. United States and United Kingdom Embassies, although far less isolated, have found it necessary to make similar personal contact on highest level at intervals no greater than six months.

[1] A sign here indicates 'portion mutilated'.

[AA : A3195, 1948, I.12650]