219 Walker to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 175 PARIS, 31 July 1947, 6.30 p.m.


Your telegram P.178. [1]

I called at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and left the full text of the Prime Minister's statement [2] on the Indonesian situation with Monsieur Baudet, Chief of the Pacific Division. Baudet said he appreciated receiving the full statement of the Australian position which he agreed was quite clear. He would not commit himself on the French attitude to the question but said it was obvious that the Netherlands Government would claim it was a purely domestic one. He went on to say that the consequence of the Australian initiative might be embarrassing to Australia since the struggle in Indonesia was between white and coloured populations.

I pointed out that Australia's concrete proposal was that the two parties should carry out the terms of the Linggadjati agreement which provided a procedure for the settlement of any disputes.

Baudet observed that Article [17] [3] might be taken to apply to any dispute arising subsequent to the establishment of the United States of Indonesia and the Netherlands Indonesian Union which according to Article 12 may not be before 1st January, 1949. I did not attempt to argue this legal issue which you will no doubt have to deal with in the Security Council but I made it clear that Australians generally as well as the Government were very disturbed by the outbreak of hostilities and would press for the use of machinery envisaged in the agreement.

2. It is obvious that the French attitude on this question will be largely determined by their calculation of its possible significance as a precedent in relation to similar issues arising in Indo-China and other parts of the French Empire.

1 See Document 190, note 2.

2 See Document 195.

3 The cited copy reads 'Article 7'.

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