747.47H/22: Telegram

The Chargé in New Zealand (Childs) to the Secretary of State

80. With further reference to my telegram No. 74, February 4, 3 p.m.; and Department’s 67, February 5, 7 p.m.17 Prime Minister Fraser’s interim written reply states:

“I agree that this question of the conference could be the subject of personal discussion when Mr. Curtin and I pass through Washington later on in the year. The other views expressed in the message from the Secretary of State (telegram 63, February 1, 6 p.m.)18 are as you will appreciate matters for consideration affecting both the Commonweath and New Zealand Governments and as I stated in the course of our discussion I will in due course be glad to let you have formal reply thereon.”

I understand that Evatt was anxious to hold an international conference in Australia immediately or soon after the London Prime Ministers conference; that New Zealand’s stand was that this was too soon, because preliminary arrangements preceding calling of such a formal conference would take at least until November; that New Zealand is not particularly interested in pushing such a conference but Evatt is the prime mover therein and under the Canberra arrangement [Page 182] the calling of such a regional conference is Australia’s responsibility.

As already reported by Johnson from Canberra especially in third paragraph of his telegram No. 13, January 22, 10 a.m., it is said here that Evatt’s action in calling the Canberra conference and in advocating a regional one before long is due to chagrin at not being at Cairo. Also said here that Australia is having growing pains and Evatt is actively cultivating her interest in international affairs.

I believe that both Australia and New Zealand feel Canberra agreement was good thing in expressing their stand early and perhaps in bringing themselves more forcefully to the attention of the great powers. They undoubtedly feel their position and interest in the Pacific is greater than formerly. They want to have a part in the final settlements following this war and not have everything prearranged by others for them. Australia apparently is the aggressive partner but smaller and more distant New Zealand does not want to be forgotten either.

Repeated to Canberra.

  1. Latter not printed.
  2. See footnote 12, p. 177.