229 Burton to Evatt

Draft Cablegram [1] CANBERRA, 2 August 1947


You will have learnt that Security Council called upon the parties to cease hostilities and to settle their disputes by arbitration.

2. The brief reports we have would indicate that messages sent to the several governments were effective. The only opposition finally was from France, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, all of whom abstained. The United Kingdom delegate throughout the debates did his utmost to have the Security Council side-tracked, and intrigued with the Dutch with a view to having the matter withdrawn on the grounds that the Dutch were willing to accept a United States offer of mediation.

3. This action by the United Kingdom, following upon their attitude prior to our reference to the Security Council when they publicly stated that reference should be avoided because of the delay, clearly demonstrates that support for the United Nations is a secondary concern.

4. While the resolution was satisfactory from an Australian point of view, and is apparently bringing Australia tremendous publicity in New York, we cannot be content to leave the position as it is.

We are taking steps in an endeavour to ensure that there will be in fact cessation of hostilities, and that the form of arbitration selected will be satisfactory to both parties, and that Australia shall have a part to play in the process of arbitration.

Appropriate messages have been sent to Washington [2] and London.


5. My own feeling is that we can only satisfactorily handle this position now by insisting on immediate Australian representation direct with the Republic. Our relations are such that we could, in this way, play an active part in all negotiations. I should be glad of your guidance in this, and, if you agree, we could take immediate steps to appoint a suitable representative and to receive a representative here. It is clear that the United Kingdom will make every attempt to exclude us from all negotiations, and the United States will also wish to exclude other powers in order to preserve an exclusive trading interest. Representation with the Republic direct, backed by the regard Indonesians have for Australia, would be the best guarantee of effective Australian participation, not only in these negotiations, but also in the rehabilitation of Indonesia.

1 Neither a final version of this cablegram typed in the External Communications Branch of the Department of External Affairs nor a copy received by Evatt (en route from Japan to Australia aboard HMAS Hobart) has been located. Some form of this draft was apparently dispatched in that Evatt seems to have replied to it (see Document 234).

2 See Document 228, note 2.

3 Document 227.

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