418 Ball to Department of External Affairs
Cablegram 21 BATAVIA, 27 November 1945
For some time now Dutch women and children ex-internees have been beseeching me to gain asylum for them for some months in Australia. Their condition is pitiful. This morning the Combined Red Cross Authorities have made an appeal in the press to support a campaign to find a place outside Java to which these women might be sent to recuperate. This morning the Catholic Bishop of Batavia  called on me to make a special appeal to Australia emphasizing that Australia was particularly attractive because it is close and because of its climate and political stability.
I venture to suggest that if Australian leaders were to visit these camps they would be so deeply moved that they would be prepared to make great sacrifices to rescue as many of these people as possible. I understand that we have undertaken to accept a maximum of 10,000 on condition that the Dutch provide accommodation and that this condition effectively limits the number to 6,000. I feel this to be a humanitarian appeal of the most urgent and genuine kind. I believe that a very generous Australian gesture would bring us great goodwill and have no political implications. There are approximately 190,000 Dutch and Eurasian men, women and children who want temporary asylum. I would respectfully venture to suggest that we might offer to take 50,000 instead of 10,000. But if action is to be effective it must be immediate. 
I await very eagerly any advice about the project of sending food and supply ships from Australia here.