184 Attlee to Chifley

Cablegram 161 LONDON, 29 July 1947, 4.52 p.m.

TOP SECRET PERSONAL

Indonesia.

Thank you for your telegram no 200 of 28th July. [1] Though we have still had no final reply from the United States Government, it, now appears improbable from the oral discussion which took place in Washington that they will fall in with our suggestion. In these circumstances we are not disposed to attempt the task of mediation alone.

We are obliged to you for delaying action while we have been trying to bring about mediation.

When the question of Indonesia was raised before with the United Nations in London [2], you will remember the attitude of the Ukraine and the Soviet Union and the attempt which was made to discredit us all and to damage us in the eyes of the Asiatics in general.

We do not feel that an appeal to the Security Council would necessarily put an immediate end to hostilities which may in fact be prolonged.

No doubt these considerations have been in your mind and if, after weighing them, you decide to refer the question to the Security Council as you are free to do, we do not wish to dissuade you in view of the fact that our attempt at mediation is unlikely to prove successful. The Indian representative has been to see us and it seems that India contemplates similar action at an early date.

Our attitude will be explained to him later today.

As regards United Kingdom attitude in the Security Council, we should certainly not ourselves take any action which would prevent a recommendation put forward by Australia from being heard and considered by Security Council. It is of course difficult to define our attitude precisely in any given contingency until we see how matters develop.

1 Document 174.

2 On 21 January 1946, the Ukraine had called on the Security Council to investigate alleged military actions against the local population by British and Japanese forces in Indonesia. In ensuing debate in the Council, the representatives of the Ukraine and the Soviet Union accused the United Kingdom of wagging 'war' in an attempt to suppress the national liberation movement of the Indonesian people. A Ukrainian proposal for the establishment of a commission of inquiry was defeated on 13 February 1946 as was an Egyptian proposal calling for the prompt withdrawal of British forces from Indonesia. Consideration of the matter when closed.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, i]