42 Massey to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 218 SINGAPORE, 22 April 1947, 7.26 p.m.


My telegram 217. [1]

Interviewed Vigeveno who hopes to give visas for Carne and Hetherington tonight or tomorrow. He was authorized to give visas for permanent attache's to Ballard and would not issue same to Carne and Hetherington pending further instructions. Vigeveno, sought further information as to the purpose of the visits because he said it had already been pointed out, and agreed between Australia and the Dutch authorities, who in this case claim to be representative of Indonesia, that it was undesirable at the present stage for any trade delegation from Australia to visit Batavia to discuss trade with the Indonesians ex parte. In view of your desire for the utmost secrecy, Vigeveno, was informed that Carne is an old identity of Batavia [2], therefore as Ballard is new to the area, you consider it desirable to give Ballard the benefit of Carne's knowledge of local colour. Re Hetherington, informed Vigeveno that Hetherington is a shipping man and the visit to Batavia is part of the survey he is making of the position generally in eastern areas in view of the government's ultimate intention of establishing overseas shipping services. No mention whatever has been made here regarding Forsyth and Richardson, but Vigeveno referred to a delegation from Australia of four officials and said his principals would not agree to such.

I made no comment on the matter one way or the other.

2. Unfortunately the recent public statements of Campbell [3] have caused much hardening of the Dutch attitude generally here. These statements have undoubtedly caused difficulties regarding visas. I strongly recommend that I be authorized by you to make the following public statement-Begins:-

I am instructed by the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia to announce that Mr. C. H. Campbell, an Australian who is reported as being a representative of the Indonesian Republic, has no connection whatever with the Australian Government, and has no authority whatever to make any statement on behalf of the Australian Government. Ends.

This statement would, I am sure, ease the situation although it is obvious the shipping ban is the main stumbling block which has been aggravated by Campbell's activities. [4]

Mr. Campbell in a broadcast last night referred to a meeting to be held in Java of trade unionists from various South East Asian countries. [5]

1 Dispatched on 22 April, it reported that Carne and Hetherington had arrived at Singapore on 21 April.

2 Carne had served as Assistant Australian Government Trade Commissioner in Batavia from 1935 to 1942.

3 On 15 April, the Straits Times reported that Campbell, then in Singapore en route to Java, had stated that the ban on Dutch shipping in Australian ports would end when the Indonesian Government conveyed personal instructions to him that it could end. At a press conference, Campbell also blamed the lack of Dutch defence in the NEI for the fact that Japan came so close to invading Australia in 1942 with the consequent cost of the lives of many Australian, Indonesian, American and Dutch soldiers.

4 The Department of External Affairs replied on 24 April that a public statement was considered unnecessary, but Massey was to inform the Dutch and United Kingdom authorities that Campbell had not been accorded any recognition by the Australian Government and that he had no authority to make any statement on its behalf.

5 Campbell's broadcast from Djokjakarta on 21 April concerned the attendance of Australian trade union representatives at the Indonesian Labour Congress which, convened by SOBSI (Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia-Central All-Indonesian Workers Organisation), was to be held at Malang, Java, in mid-May.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/10/1, ii]