419 Department of External Affairs to Officer

Cablegram 144 CANBERRA, 14 November 1947, 3.50 p.m.

SECRET

You should know that we have been negotiating for some months with Netherlands Legation here on question of disposal of Netherlands Indies Army munitions, stores and other equipment still remaining in Australia, and repatriation of remaining Netherlands Indies Army personnel.

2. In order to settle this matter as quickly as possible we offered recently to purchase from the Netherlands Government all munitions and other stores remaining in Australia, with exception of some eighty trucks which we had been given to understand were awaiting shipment at Geelong. We indicated we were agreeable to Dutch bringing one ship to Geelong, and using Netherlands Service personnel to load eighty trucks in question.

3. Netherlands Legation agreed to purchase by Australian Government of munitions but not of civil stores and equipment.

They indicated that a total of approximately 270 trucks still remained to be loaded at Geelong and Brisbane, and proposed bringing two vessels to Australia to remove all remaining civilian equipment, together with Netherlands Service personnel.

4. Netherlands Legation was advised yesterday that:

(i) Australian Government would permit the use of Netherlands Service personnel to load no more than one hundred trucks on the M.S. Tjipondok at present at Geelong, and would purchase any other Netherlands trucks in Australia over and above this number;

(ii) arrangements must be made for immediate departure of all remaining Netherlands Service personnel;

(iii) M.S. Tasman should be diverted from proposed visit to Brisbane.

5. Above background information should matter be raised with you.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/4/3/1]