322 Burton to Evatt [1]

Cablegram 234 CANBERRA, 8 September 1947


I have a letter from Teppema [2] referring to conversations with you and asking me to convey a message that Van Boetzelaer will not be at New York, but it is hoped that you will have a free discussion with Van Roijen, Netherlands Ambassador at Ottawa, whom you met at San Francisco. Teppema then goes on to say that he would welcome better relations between our two countries but these have suffered a further set-back as a result of the impetuous attitude of the Australian representative at the Security Council and the somewhat tactless approach of Mr. Eaton. He has asked to see the Prime Minister on these latter matters. Hodgson needs no defence, and Eaton has acted most correctly and in conjunction with other Consuls and only after full recognition was accorded him from The Hague.

2. Van Mook will be at New York. It seems clear that no decision was taken at The Hague as to whether Djokjakarta should be occupied and Van Mook is now endeavouring to find out how far they can count on United States support for any action they might take.

You will have seen Van Mook's press statement couched in most provocative and unfair terms. [3] The tactics of Teppema correspond to his tactics immediately prior to the last Dutch move, and I fear an attempt to prepare the ground by making accusations against us and by winning United States-United Kingdom support for another move. These were their tactics on the last occasion.

3. This may place you personally in an awkward position at New York as any sympathy shown by you will be wrongly interpreted.

4. The need for Dutch haste is now greater, because the Consuls, on Eaton's initiative, are penetrating into areas previously closed by the Dutch from observation. Eaton's first report [4] is in my immediately following telegram. [5] It gives a totally different picture of the position in the interior and the strength of the Republican movement than that given by the Dutch.

Supporting him is a report from Ballard [which] states that in Batavia itself there are several thousand Republican officials actually starving because they will not co-operate in the new Dutch administration. [6] The Dutch have given these men the choice of working for them or of being denied all facilities for living. Eaton's report is supported by the French, and, if similar reports of Republican support are made by United States and United Kingdom, the Dutch position will be impossible. All this, in my view, supports other signs that they are anticipating further military action.

5. Dening informs me that the 'cease fire' order caught the Dutch in an awkward position, and, on purely military grounds, they must either withdraw or move ahead. Withdrawal could be accomplished only with great losses (see paragraph 2 of Eaton's report [7]).

Dening is convinced the Dutch will start a military move, doing what they can do to offset the political reactions which would follow any further military measures.

1 Evatt was in San Francisco en route to New York.

2 Document 313.

3 See Document 320, note 3.

4 See Document 316.

5 Not printed.

6 This information was in fact conveyed in a personal letter sent by Stuart to Burton on 1 September.

7 See Document 316. Also see Document 321, note 3.

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