26 Department of External Affairs to Ballard

Cablegram 57 CANBERRA, 8 April 1947, 4.20 p.m.

IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

(c) Proposed discussions on questions of trade, shipping and representation. [1]

1. Discussions will be exploratory, but if they develop favourably we would hope to reach definite conclusions and arrangements without delay. All proposals and commitments will of course be subject to reference to Canberra.

2. To assist you we will be sending early next week a party of five or six officials to participate in the discussions.

3. The party of officials will be drawn from Departments of External Affairs, Treasury, Commerce, and Supply and Shipping.

4. Please see Van Mook and inform him confidentially that you are instructed to enter into exploratory discussions on trade matters and trade representation with him and his officials and for this purpose a party of Australian officials will arrive early next week. We are anxious to have no advance publicity about these talks which are to be regarded as exploratory in the first instance and on an official and non-committal level. You should also inform him that opportunity will be taken to meet representatives of Republican Government.

5. You should tell Sjahrir on his return that officials will be arriving next week and that you have informed Van Mook. As you will see from telegrams Sjahrir has concurred in the desirability of avoiding publicity at this stage.

6. We will approach the Netherlands Legation for visas. Precise dates will be sent you as soon as known. Meanwhile please advise urgently what accommodation you can obtain for about six persons, including one stenographer (female). Also what supplies including food, medicines, entertainment etc. should be brought. Can local transport be arranged? We would hope that talks could be completed within two weeks of arrival but a longer period might prove necessary.

1 See Document 25.

[AA:A3196, 1947, 0.5496]