Evatt to Lehman

Cablegram 7588 CANBERRA, 6 August 1945


My general view of future developments in the Pacific in relation to U.N.R.R.A.’s activities are as follows:

1. It is preferable that location Far Eastern Committee regional office be not situated in any country receiving substantial aid from U.N.R.R.A. Policy and operating decisions should not be influenced by circumstances and administration in any particular country receiving U.N.R.R.A.’s assistance.

2. As activities of Far Eastern regional office will be rapidly expanded and deal with a complex of problems over wide areas, essential that every effort be made to appoint highly capable personnel to Far Eastern Office and satellite offices and to strengthen existing personnel.

3. It is urgently necessary that Sydney office receives immediately additional strength in its senior personnel in all fields in order that Sydney office may act as a reservoir of experience and a springboard for operating in emergency situation following liberation Far Eastern countries. If experienced and able personnel are not built up in this way, work of U.N.R.R.A. in the Pacific will be seriously harmed. We are concerned at lack of preparation made in Washington, Chungking and Sydney for huge task immediately looming ahead. We are not satisfied that calibre of heads of missions in China and South West Pacific Area are up to the required standard of initiative, judgment and thrust.

4. In order to operate efficiently Far Eastern regional office should not be established in any centre recently the scene of hostilities.

5. For the purpose of communication with London, Washington, with control of shipping and communications generally, we are satisfied that Sydney offers a far better location than any other city in the Western or South Western Pacific. Furthermore, it is in the best position to control the activities of subordinate offices in Canada, South Africa and South East Asia.

6. Australian view is that a considerable strengthening of the Sydney office and the eventual location of the Far Eastern office there is the first essential for successful U.N.R.R.A. operations in the Far East.

7. Recent public discussion Australian appointees was initiated by Gaines [1] and feeling here is that it was done deliberately to create impression unfavourable to Australia and matter is now settled but our quota has been substantial and this should be better recognised.

8. I have been informed Canada and France desire inclusion Central Committee. If Committee is extended, additional countries could wisely be included, and if Pacific planning is to be treated as of primary importance exclusion of Australia would create most unfavourable, impression here at critical time.

9. I have sent copy of this to Bruce. Would be glad for you to discuss it with him.

Best wishes.



1 Frank S. Gaines, Acting Director, UNRRA, South-West Pacific Area.


[AA : A1066, ER45/6/12]