London, 10 May 1950
2110. IMMEDIATE SECRET PERSONAL
1. Your telegram 20451 received today. I handed your message to Bevin this evening. He read it with interest and asked me to assure you that the United Kingdom Delegation at Sydney was to treat all questions with 'utmost flexibility and entirely without rigidity'. The Delegation he said was to act exactly as if senior Ministers themselves were in Sydney and was to send back all proposals immediately for proper consideration so that they might be the subject of prompt instructions. Before members of the Delegation left London, Bevin said he had told them that they were on no account to allow discussion to develop on the basis of the relative value of short or long term policies because in such a discussion there was always the grave danger o f 'losing a good proposal'.
2. Bevin said that he would look into the particular question of our proposals as soon as possible. His personal preference was for the conference to make decisions for a programme which could be implemented in stages so that the first stage could be carried through this year and we might aim at a much bigger achievement next year and so on. He thought programme in which achievements could be definitely marked up stage by stage had great advantages. He referred incidentally to the fact that United Kingdom resources were not as great as they had been adding that this was a difficulty in which he also found himself in discussions with the Americans.
[NAA: A1838, 708/9/2 part 2]