8 Kelly to Burton

Minute CANBERRA, 10 March 1947

Mr. C. H. Campbell

Mr. Campbell, appointed by the de facto Government of the Republic of Indonesia to act as its Trade Commissioner in Australia, seeks permission to proceed from Australia to Java in the next ship embarking Indonesians for repatriation. [1]

2. Mr. Campbell states that he has requested the Dutch authorities here to provide him with a visa to enable him to visit the Indies.

This they are not likely to do, for one of Campbell's proposed objects is to establish contact with members of the Government of the Indonesian Republic.

3. Following negotiations between the Departments of Navy and Immigration, it has been decided that H.M.A.S. Manoora will be made available for the repatriation of Indonesians at present in Australia and it is expected that this ship will leave Sydney early in April next.

4. The Australian Consul-General, Batavia, has been asked to seek the concurrence of Dutch authorities in the Indies in the proposed disembarkation of Indonesian repatriates at Cheribon, a Republican port.

5. Campbell is not known personally to Indonesian leaders in Java.

Ballard was in fact asked if he could tell them anything about Campbell. The Indonesians informed Ballard that Campbell's appointment was 'very temporary' and that his name had been put forward by Indonesians in Australia.

6. Campbell has been closely associated with the Australian Communist Party, is Vice-President of the Australian Indonesian Association, Treasurer of the Indian Seamen's Union and Honorary Secretary of the Australia-India Association. Campbell has also taken a prominent part in the ban on Dutch shipping.

7. For the following reasons, it would appear to be undesirable that Mr. Campbell should be permitted to proceed to Java in H.M.A.S. Manoora:-Affording Campbell this concession (a) might, by eliciting Dutch opposition, imperil the whole repatriation movement;

(b) would amount to a measure of recognition of Campbell as Indonesian Trade Commissioner;

(c) would suggest to the Indonesian Republican authorities that Campbell was persona grata to the Australian Government;

(d) would probably lead to the confirmation by the Indonesian Government of Campbell's temporary appointment, and thus preclude us from insisting on the appointment in his stead, at the appropriate time, of an Indonesian Nationalist;

(e) would afford Campbell an argument for convincing the Indonesian Government that Campbell's organisations, rather than the Australian Government, were responsible for this repatriation movement;

(f) would tend to take the initiative in Australian-Indonesian relations from this Department;

(g) would follow too closely our recent assurances to the Dutch that no official recognition had been accorded to Campbell;

(h) would be inconsistent with the Government's previous decision to allow only its own officers to accompany the Indonesians being repatriated.

8. It is accordingly recommended that Campbell be not afforded an opportunity of proceeding to Java on H.M.A.S. Manoora. [2]

1 Campbell's request was made in a letter to Evatt dated 4 March.

2 Burton accepted Kelly's recommendation and informed Campbell by telephone.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/10/1, i]