324 Eaton to Burton

Letter BATAVIA, 8 September 1947

I seem to have been rushing around a bit here but I am pleased that I feel I have been able to initiate a real commencement of the investigation. I have had minor opposition which I have taken no notice of, and now all is going as well as I can expect.

Among my colleagues we have a good two collaborators, the British and French Consuls-General. The Belgian is obviously pro-Dutch, the Chinese rather sitting on the fence, and the American a master of ceremonies with many Dutch friends over a period of twenty years spent in Java.

Many Dutch friends that I knew during the war are very scattered in this country but when met are very pleased to see me. However, the Dutch general attitude towards Australia and Australians is a very cold one, and this feeling in some quarters is fairly strong but I think we will get over it in time.

In comparison with the Australian press the Dutch press is bad.

You are therefore able to gauge its standard.

During my recent visit to Djocja[carta] and my 500 miles trip of East Java I received all facilities and kindnesses from the Indonesians. I was particularly impressed with the genuineness of Soekarno and Sjarifoeddin. You must however realise that Australia shines out [in] their eyes and what they expect from Australia is going to be most difficult for Australia.

I am off tomorrow morning on a visit to the Malang area on the Dutch side this time. My last visit was on the Indonesian side of this area. I will probably return to Batavia about 14th, and then planning with the Observer Officers who will arrive by that time to proceed to Palembang and Medan on about 15th. On the way back from this visit I will probably call in to Singapore for the night and visit Lord Killearn as he previously wished me to do.

Singapore is of course practically on the return route from Medan to Batavia.

The full report of the French Consul-General and myself [1] I am enclosing with this letter which is being taken down to you by Ballard leaving here tomorrow morning. The fact finding problem is not very difficult and I feel that within two weeks the consular mission should have quite enough information for the final report.

It seems to me that without an international police force the only alternatives to stop the present phase of hostilities is for either the Dutch to take over the whole of the Island and for the Republic to abandon their government set-up, or for the Dutch to withdraw to their original boundaries. Under present conditions I feel the trouble and non-observance to the cease-fire order will increase in intensity.

[matter omitted]

Yesterday I saw the Acting Lt. Governor-General Mr. Idenburg. I had a long friendly discussion with him. Ballard was present and will give you the gist of the talk. Ballard says this was the first occasion that he had had such a discussion at the Palace.

Ballard is speaking to you I believe about the conditions of our consulate office and residence here and I agree with him entirely that something must be done quickly to give the place at least the dignity of a consulate.

I do hope you are very fit. My kindest regards to Mrs. Burton and please accept the same for yourself.

One redeeming feature, there are some lovely orchids in Java.

1 Not printed. See Document 316, note 1.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/1]