36 Department of External Affairs to Officer

Cablegram 41 CANBERRA, 16 April 1947


Your 54. [1]

1. We have regarded your previous telegrams as refusal by Dutch to grant visas to Australian officials. As we have already indicated, we regard it as most serious and we have therefore instructed you and Ballard to refer requests for visas for officials to Canberra.

That instruction holds.

We would be quite prepared to send officials in the least ostentatious way and, if necessary, few at a time. It was made quite clear to Charge here and by you to Dutch that we desire the utmost secrecy. But refusal has resulted in delay of several days and the possibility that, in spite of all precautions we have taken, there may be leakages from Batavia or elsewhere. You must remember that we have had to book passages and make other necessary arrangements associated with the departure of officials.

3. We are now being pressed both by Republican Ministers and agents in Australia to assist in promoting trade. Unless we can make arrangements immediately with Dutch and Indonesian officials for the restoration of normal trade, it will be difficult to resist the pressure of these agents whom we and the Dutch would not wish encouraged.

4. We are most disturbed at the way in which visas for officials sought by External Affairs have been refused, and in using this term we are stating the actual position. We would be willing to arrange movement in way suggested, if immediate instruction is given to Charge at Canberra to issue any visas which the Department of External Affairs may seek for Australian officials.

5. Pending receipt of general instruction to Charge at Canberra please obtain approval for visas for Messrs. W. D. Forsyth, C. J.

Carne, E. B. Richardson and R. A. Hetherington, all Australian Government officials.

6. Your telegram 55 [2] just received. We desire avoid any embarrassment and any publicity as already stated. Please urge strongly in interests Dutch-Australian relations action along lines of paragraphs 4 and 5 above. If this is done, we on our part will co-operate fully and in particular endeavour to avoid embarrassment in relation to question of representation as suggested in paragraph 4 of your 50. [3]

1 Document 33 2 Document 34.

3 Document 28.

[AA:A1838/2, 401/1/3/2, i]