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63 Cablegram from Spende to Harrison

Canberra, 10 May 1950

2045. SECRET

Please convey the following message to Bevin from me as soon as practicable. You might appropriately be able to do this as a follow-up of your previous conversation.

'I am glad to learn from Mr Harrison that your health has improved to some extent and that you will be able to see through the important discussions which face you. I know from my conversation with you at Ceylon that you have a full appreciation of developments in this area and the inter-relationship between these developments and developments in the European area. I hope you will agree with me that it is very important that your delegation to the Sydney Conference should tackle its work, not in .any narrow economic context, but having in mind the global political and strategic situation and the urgent need for action.

Not only does the situation call for something far more effective than mere planning for the future, but, moreover, public opinion throughout Western countries expects, and, in fact, demands, �less talking and more action�, to use the terms of some of our own press. From the point of view of ultimately obtaining substantial American interest and assistance,� it is essential that the Sydney Conference should come to some final decisions, particularly in relation to immediate action.

It is not sufficient to agree to long-term proposals and by phraseology dress these up to imply the success of the Conference in terms of the immediate situation which we face. Quite frankly, if that were the outcome of the Conference, it seems to me that we would be compelled to acknowledge publicly that the Conference had failed and the Australian Government, for its part, be obliged to indicate that it would now seek to implement a programme of its own in conjunction with whatever other Governments might wish to assist.

I am a little concerned lest the United Kingdom Government might not be in a position during the Sydney discussions to accept proposals such as we have in mind and which have been communicated to you. The attitude of your Government at the Conference will of course greatly influence that of other delegations.

I am fully appreciative of financial and technical difficulties which might be in the way, but I cannot believe that any such difficulty need be allowed to prejudice decisions such as we hope to obtain during the Sydney Conference, having in mind the fundamental and urgent problems which the Sydney Conference is designed to tackle.

I earnestly hope that you will be able personally to follow through what was done at Ceylon and to lend your support to Lord MacDonald1 so that he might be able to take an active lead in the Sydney discussions with a view to final conclusions which will be tangible and immediate in their effect. Warm personal regards'.

[NAA: A1838, 708/9/2 part 2]

1 Cablegram 92 (6 May) from Gordon Walker advised that the intention o f the UK Government was to 'leave it to Lord MacDonald [UK Paymaster-General] to convey our views to the Australian Government'.

Last Updated: 10 January 2017

Category: International relations

Topic: History