43 Department of External Affairs to Ballard

Cablegram 80 CANBERRA, 23 April 1947, 6.05 p.m.


Understand that Davidson of firm of Australian Enterprises [1] which we previously mentioned to you is flying to Java on the understanding that Campbell has made some arrangements which would make it possible for Davidson to arrange trade with Australia.

2. Campbell may have heard of visit of officials and may be endeavouring to manoeuvre himself into position of taking credit for arrangements which officials might make resulting in commencement of trade. He would be doing this without Sjahrir and Gani being fully aware of the implications. You should tell Sjahrir we think it undesirable that the Republican Government should enter into negotiations with non-official Australians. In fact, he should see that Campbell makes no further provocative statements as reported from Singapore and that Davidson or any other Australians of this character do not fly through to Indonesian territory for the purpose of discussions. If Indonesian ministers continue to carry on discussions of this nature which can have no beneficial effect on trade they will prejudice our attempts to arrive at satisfactory arrangement with Dutch and to break through the difficulties at present existing in relation to trade between Indonesia and Australia.

3. We realise that it is only natural that responsible Indonesian leaders should wish to maintain contact with persons in Australia who have stood by the Indonesian nationalist movement since the end of the war but we think you might point out to Sjahrir that the Republican Government should not prejudice its position in the eyes of the world or its good relations with Australian Government by using unofficially the services of persons or groups who may be cultivating the Indonesian nationalist movement for their own objectives.

1 W. J. Davidson had approached the Department of External Affairs on 21 March seeking assistance to obtain a small cargo vessel to trade with Indonesian ports not subject to an effective Dutch blockade. 'Australian Enterprises' had been appointed as commercial agents for the Indonesian Government in Australia.

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