242 Australian Government to Mountbatten

Cablegram 10 CANBERRA, 13 May 1946

MOST IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

The murder in Java on 17th April of three Australian officers Squadron Leader F. G. Birchall, Captain A. N. MacKenzie, [and] Flight Lieutenant H. M. McDonald [1] has occasioned great concern to the Australian Government. While we fully appreciate the action taken by AFNEI to investigate the murders and to institute a Court of Inquiry and also the co-operation afforded the Australian Political Representative in Batavia by the Forces under your Command, we feel that it is desirable that an Australian judge should thoroughly investigate the circumstances surrounding the commission of the crimes and report back to the Australian Government. The procedures appropriate to the trial of persons implicated in the murders may also require careful consideration.

2. Accordingly we are seeking to obtain the services of judge R.

C. Kirby of New South Wales and, if you are agreeable to attach him to your Command, we expect to be able to arrange for him to proceed to Java towards the end of May.

3. You will recall judge Kirby was previously attached to your Command in connection with War Crimes investigation.

1 See Document 196.

[AA:A1838/2, 401/3/10/2, ii]