404 Ball to Burton

Cablegram 15 BATAVIA, 21 November 1945

SECRET

Your telegrams are apparently now arriving smoothly. Please thank Mulrooney for his telegram. [1] I fully understand his difficulties. I have not shown any incoming messages to anybody but have allowed Christison to see two outgoing. I have now declined to show him any more.

Your telegram 14 of 20th November. [2] Your proposal has aroused tremendous enthusiasm of both Christison and Sjahrir. Christison says that it is the best news for a long time, and can make the difference between salvation and disaster for civilians here. I believe this proposal is of quite exceptional importance in winning goodwill for Australia from all parties here and would most earnestly urge that you send first ship earliest possible.

Please inform me of its expected time of arrival.

Walsh has specifically requested that I ask you to make no public statement on the Indonesian problem at this stage.

Events during these last few days confirm my opinion I have previously expressed in these messages. The situation is rapidly deteriorating and I believe that there is little scope for any success of Conference still scheduled for to-morrow. Shooting and violence in the centre of Batavia is increasing daily, though the decision to remove all of Ambonese troops from the city may produce a temporary remission of fighting here, since the Ambonese have been responsible for much of the provocation and aggravation of sickening atrocities. Trustworthy war correspondents assure me that official communiques continue to give a misleading picture of the military situation. I accept this view. I believe that the present policy or lack of policy is certain to fail to achieve any settlement, much less a satisfactory settlement. Hence I reiterate the view that immediate international action is necessary though naturally I am unable to know whether a public statement is likely to be most effective way to achieve this.

I am sending a Diplomatic bag to-morrow. I am enclosing fuller report. [3] This cable was despatched from Batavia on 21st November.

1 Not located.

2 Dispatched 19 November. It contained a proposal that the Commonwealth Govt should take over for its own use Dutch shipping, idle in Australian ports because of union bans, and supply an equivalent amount of Australian tonnage to carry relief supplies to the N.E.I. for distribution to civilians only. On file AA :

A1838/2, 401/4/4/1, i.

3 Document 405.

[AA : A1838/2, 401/4/4/1, i]