344 Bruce to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram N39 LONDON, 3 December 1943, 6.46 p.m.

SECRET CONFIDENTIAL

Your telegrams N.2 and N.3. [1] Two definite and separate issues are involved:

(1) an arrangement with the Dutch for post-war defence and economic co-operation in respect to the islands north of Australia; and, (2) van Mook's contemplated migration to Australia. [2] With regard to (1), I will move quietly with van Kleffens [3] down the lines of your letter to Eden with reference to Portuguese Timor [4] and will keep you advised. The appropriate time for entering into a definite arrangement will probably be when the Pacific Conference visualised in your statement in Parliament [5] is held.

I share your view that van Kleffens should personally attend this Conference.

With regard to (2), I have now learnt that the Netherlands Government have formally approved proposals, which I gather have been under discussion for some time, which contemplate van Mook resigning as Minister for the Colonies and proceeding to Australia as Governor-General designate of the Netherlands East Indies, with a view to perfecting the organisation for the Dutch to take over control of their own territories as, and when, they are liberated.

Matter having proceeded so far, it could only be re-opened by a formal reference back to the Dutch Cabinet. I am afraid, therefore, the time has passed when I can do anything on a personal and informal basis with van Kleffens.

BRUCE

1 Documents 330 and 334.

2 See Document 330, note 1.

3 Netherlands Foreign Minister.

4 See Document 233.

5 See Document 297, note 2.

[AA:A989, 43-44/600/5/1/5]