Washington, 18 March 1950
As a result of informal enquiries of State Department in relation to significance of reference to Minister's speech in Acheson's address, and of Reston's comments, we were glad to interview with Butterworth2 today.
Butterworth stated that reference to Minister's speech was intended to convey Acheson's general interest in the speech and his approval of six points quoted.3 He emphasised that there was no intention to indicate approval of any particular point or of the elaboration of these points in Minister's speech. He said the Reston's article was not inspired, was speculative and did not convey the United States official view.
Butterworth stated that United States view on regional arrangement had not changed since Acheson's statements in May, 1949, and the termination of Quirino's visit.4 United States still favoured an indigenous development. He expressed interest in knowing why Australia had decided against attendance at Baguio Conference5 and emphasised desirability of encouraging indigenous initiative, especially from coloured country.
Discussing Colombo proposals, he asked in what ways Colombo resolution6 was an improvement on existing E.C.A.F.E. machinery, and mentioned that E.C.A.F.E. originally drew up extensive plans, which it had expected United States to finance, but was now settling down to useful work. Butterworth's statement may have been intended as hint that United States is not prepared to underwrite Colombo plan.
Butterworth referred to two questions which Dr. Burton had put to Foster7 and which Minister might subsequentially put to Jarman.8 Butterworth indicated informally that he did not think Minister would ask the questions and, in any event, would not be likely to get satisfactory answer as they were too hypothetical. He mentioned that United States was also concerned about being left out on a limb in the area.
Butterworth's general approach appeared to aim at clamping down any undue enthusiasm in Australia regarding Acheson's address. We felt that views expressed in our memorandum 509/50 of 24th February9 were confirmed insofar as United States wished to see constructive steps taken in area before committing itself. Also its own views probably still uncrystallised. Butterworth, however, did say that Department had continuing interest in a regional, economic and political pact in Pacific area which looked forward to some form of defence arrangement.
[NAA: A1838, 381/3/1/3 part lb]