130 Burton to Ballard

Draft Cablegram [1] CANBERRA, 2, July 1947


Persistent reports here of Indonesian request to Australia either to intervene by way of mediation or take matter to Security Council.

2. You will have already made known [to both parties] [2] our willingness to assist in any mediation, but it would seem apparent that both parties must make [any] request. Killearn may be an acceptable proposition. [Please advise. We would desire to take initiative in asking him to mediate in personal capacity as previously.]

3. on the question of Security Council, we would not wish to reject request, but, at the same time, it would create political difficulties for us. You should make known immediately to Republican authorities for their information, and not by way of advice as to the course they should take, the procedure by which they themselves could raise the matter with the Security Council.

4. Article 35(2) of Charter states:-

'A State which is not a member of the United Nations may bring to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly any dispute to which it is a party if it accepts in advance, for the purposes of the dispute, the obligations of pacific settlement provided in the present Charter.'

[We assume Indonesia would be regarded as a State.]

5. The procedure is to send a message to the Secretary-General requesting that the matter be drawn to the attention of the Security Council. The Council will then determine the admissibility of the item to the Agenda. The Council could make recommendations for the settlement of the dispute only if the dispute is regarded as a threat to the peace or if both parties request it to do so.

6. For the information of Republican authorities, the Australian attitude, if the matter were raised, would be in accordance with procedure previously followed in all cases, that is, immediately to seek a full investigation of the facts.

7. Dutch Government at The Hague has been informed by United Kingdom Government that Australia, amongst others, may wish to take this matter to the Security Council. [3] United Kingdom Government used this information as means of bringing pressure to bear on Dutch. Republican authorities should not be under the impression that we would necessarily be willing to act on their request and the best means of communicating this to them is to give them the above information on the way in which they themselves could bring the matter before the Security Council.

1 Examination of the outwards cable register suggests that this draft cablegram was dispatched on 21 July as cablegram 195 to Ballard. Neither a final version typed in the External Communications Branch of the Department of External Affairs nor a copy of the cablegram received in Batavia has been located. As a consequence it cannot be conclusively established whether the draft cablegram was in fact sent.

2 Words in square brackets were added in what appears to be Burton's handwriting.

3 Cablegram D617 from Addison (dated 19 July) advised that the Netherlands Ambassador in London had been informed on 18 July of the United Kingdom's 'very great concern' at recent developments in Indonesia and 'that other Governments might take the matter to the Security Council or the Assembly of the United Nations with consequences which could not be foreseen'. In cablegram 150 (also dated 19 July), Addison added that in light of Document 116 it had been hinted to the Ambassador that possible countries which might take such action were Australia and India.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/1/1, iii]