300 Netherlands Legation to Department of External Affairs

Note C15/4249 CANBERRA, 26 August 1947

The Royal Netherlands Legation presents its compliments and has the honour to refer to various conversations held with the Department of External Affairs concerning the continued presence of Dr. Radin Usman Sastroamidjojo in Australia.

The Legation begs to recall that the mission of Dr. Usman was strictly confined to a specific purpose with which the Commonwealth Government is acquainted and that the view of the Department, at the time, concurred with the opinion expressed by this Legation that as his mission was considered to be completed Dr. Usman should be invited to return to Java. [1] A safe conduct and complete liberty of movement in the Netherlands East Indies were arranged.

Subsequently the Legation understood that the Department had modified its views in the sense that no pressure could be applied to effect the departure of Dr. Usman whose restrained attitude, it was thought, did not justify such action.

For some weeks past however the activities of Dr. Usman have assumed a totally different character, e.g. the official invitations issued by him on behalf of the Republic of Indonesia to attend a Dinner at the Hotel Windsor, Melbourne, on August 18th in celebration of the Second Anniversary of the Founding of the Republic.

This function was attended by Right Rev. W. W. Ingram, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, as well as by Mr. A. E.

Monk, Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Considering the attitude which has been assumed by the Trade Unions, which have consistently endeavoured to embroil the relations between Australia and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the statement made by Mr. Monk, reported by the Argus on August 19th, hardly causes surprise:

'Mr. A. E. Monk, Secretary of the ACTU, said that the Australian trade union movement was proud of its efforts on behalf of the Indonesian Republic. Lately he had had some misgivings about the results of political freedom. It did not always mean the economic freedom of the ordinary man. Too often it was followed by a new struggle between the industrial powers of the independent nations and the workers.

Mr. Monk said he believed that when the new Indonesian Republic attained complete independence it would work sincerely for the betterment of its workers. For that reason the Australian trade union movement was solidly behind it.'

The Legation realises that little can be done to counteract the blind and biased prejudices which prevail in certain quarters, particularly Trade Union circles, with regard to the Indonesian situation. At the same time the question arises whether Dr. Usman, in his direct and open association with the forces which manifest extreme hostility to Netherlands interests in this country, is not only greatly exceeding the purpose of his mission, but is actually trespassing on the courtesy and hospitality which have been extended to him.

The Legation cannot but feel that the attitude assumed by Dr.

Usman and the hostile propaganda in which he indulges are clearly calculated to undermine the relations between Australia and the Netherlands by using channels and intermediaries who by their words and actions have declared themselves open to the severest criticism.

The Legation therefore cannot but consider that it would be opportune if the Commonwealth Government were to recommend to Dr.

Usman that he confine himself strictly to the purpose of his mission if this has not as yet, after three months, been terminated and that, at any rate, he abstain from political activities and hostile propaganda.

1 No record of these exchanges between the Netherlands Legation and the Department of External Affairs has been located.

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