313 Teppema to Burton

Letter CANBERRA, 6 September 1947

When I last met Dr. Evatt on September 2nd at the French Legation I mentioned to him that I had gladly complied with his request, formulated on the previous day, to send a personal message on his behalf to The Hague.

This message conveyed his congratulations on the occasion of the anniversary of H.M. The Queen's Birthday and further expressed Dr.

Evart's desire to renew, during his stay in the United States, his Paris contacts [1] with Baron van Boetzelaer. Dr. Evatt felt that a full and frank discussion with my Foreign Minister, should he lead our delegation to the U.N.O., might be helpful towards a solution of the various difficulties all of which your Minister considered might easily be disposed of.

In referring you to the letter which I sent to the Right Hon. The Prime Minister dated the 3rd instant [2], which I assume has by now come to your notice, I believe I have given you a complete background of the conversation.

I arranged with Dr. Evatt that any reply which would be received in answer to my message would be passed on to you personally. He assured me that you would see to its further and safe transmission.

I therefore would ask you to be good enough to communicate to Dr.

Evatt by cable, firstly that the Netherlands Government appreciates the congratulations which the Minister interpreted [3]; and secondly that Baron van Boetzelaer to his regret most probably will not be able to proceed to New York but that he trusts that Dr. Evatt will frankly discuss the various questions with Dr. H. van Roijen, Netherlands Ambassador at Ottawa (who will be in New York) and whose acquaintance Dr. Evatt made at San Francisco in 1945.

If I may be allowed to strike a personal note I would be particularly grateful if you were to add and convey on my own behalf that I am convinced that nothing would be more heartily welcomed by my Government than an early improvement in our relations with Australia. These relations, as you undoubtedly realise yourself, suffered a further setback as a result of the rather impetuous attitude of the Australian representative at the Security Council. For the moment it looked as if the situation might be further aggravated by the somewhat tactless approach of Mr. Eaton [4], which now however happily belongs to the past.

I still believe that if we can join hands on the boycott question [5] and continue our efforts to terminate what is becoming a chronic disease all will be well between us.

May I ask you to acknowledge receipt of this letter and to confirm to me that the message of my Government has been conveyed to Dr.


1 i.e. at the Paris Peace Conference of 1946.

2 Teppema's letter to Chifley concerned the refusal of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to refuel aircraft of the Netherlands 19th Squadron at Brisbane. The Australian Cabinet decided on 2 September that RAAF personnel would not fuel Dutch aircraft.

3 The text should presumably read 'extended'.

4 In a note sent to the Department of External Affairs on 2 September, the Netherlands Legation in Canberra complained that Eaton's desire to visit Djokjakarta without delay created an impression that the Australian Government considered consultation by members of the Consular Commission to be superfluous and that each consular representative would proceed with investigations as he deemed fit. The Legation also expressed the hope that Eaton would refrain from any activity until provisional recognition of his appointment as Consul-General had been granted. Eaton's proposed flight to Djokjakarta had in fact been approved by the Consular Commission at its first meeting on 1 September (see Document 309). Accompanied by the French Consul-General, Eaton flew to Djokjakarta on 3 September. Provisional recognition of Eaton's appointment was granted on 4 September. Eaton did not formally assume duty as Consul-General until 15 September.

5 The Waterside Workers Federation ban on the loading and unloading of Dutch shipping in Australian ports remained in force.

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