23 Burton to Moodie

Cablegram 101 CANBERRA, 4 April 1947


1. It is desired you immediately seek out Sjahrir, Premier of Indonesian Republic, whom we understand is at present visiting India and go to him wherever he might be and talk to him without leaving any note along the lines indicated below.

2. You should emphasise confidential nature of discussions. We desire to avoid any publicity whatever at this stage.

3. We have been considering best means of establishing mutually beneficial commercial relations and also reciprocal representation. There have been expressions of good wishes on both sides and the time has come for action which would demonstrate the sincerity of these friendly expressions.

4. We do not want to embarrass either Indonesian or Dutch authorities at this time when they are negotiating between themselves: at the same time we do not wish to delay until those negotiations have concluded. It is very desirable that Australian- Indonesian Commercial and Diplomatic (formal or informal) relations be established quickly and in fact before other countries with less direct interests enter into arrangements.

Moreover we consider we may be able to afford some help in Indonesian-Dutch negotiations.

5. We have in mind therefore instructing Ballard to approach the Indonesian Authorities and the Dutch Authorities also in so far as he considers this necessary with a view to exploring commercial and diplomatic relations with Indonesia. For this purpose we would send to assist Ballard officials concerned with supply, shipping, commerce, finance and diplomatic relations.

6. We would propose sending these officials within about 10 days time and instruct them to explore without commitment all relevant subjects.

7. Perhaps Sjahrir would comment on this suggestion or suggest other ways and means of achieving our common objectives. We would appreciate an immediate expression of his own personal views.

8. We shall await reply from you before mentioning matter to Ballard or to Dutch authorities here whom we would have to approach on travel and other arrangements.

[AA:A1838/2, 401/1/3/2, i]