279 Mr S. M. Bruce, High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, to Dr H. V. Evatt, Minister for External Affairs

Cablegram 31 LONDON, 17 January 1942, 6.48 p.m.

FOR MINISTER SECRET

Your telegram 18. [1] I have felt out with Netherlands Government positions regarding higher status but their reaction is strongly against. The reason for this attitude which I have been given privately and which I transmit for your personal information is that they do not like anything which tends to suggest an independent status for Netherlands East Indies. Rightly or wrongly they feel accrediting a diplomatic representative by Australia would have this effect. In the circumstances having regard to the fact that our representative, whatever he is called, will be afforded all necessary facilities and status I suggest we should not press them.

All my enquiries indicated van Aerssen is a first class person.

[2]

BRUCE

1 Dispatched 13 January, On file AA:A981, Netherlands 20, i. It reported that the Netherlands Geer proposed to appoint Baron van Aerssen, previously Netherlands Minister to Iran, as Minister to Australia. It also instructed Bruce to inquire whether, in view of the changed political conditions in the Pacific, the Netherlands Govt would now accept an Australian representative of higher status than Consul-General in Batavia.

2 Van Aerssen presented his credentials as Netherlands Minister to Australia on 16 April. Bruce was appointed Minister to the Netherlands on 3 March and presented his credentials to Queen Wilhelmina on 18 March. The appointment of Lt Col Eugene Gorman as Consul-General in Batavia was announced on 1 February, but the Japanese invasion of the Netherlands East Indies prevented him from taking up the position.

[AA:A981, NETHERLANDS 20, i]