436 Burton to Johnston

Memorandum CANBERRA, 26 November 1947

I desire to acknowledge receipt of your memorandum 38/104/92 of 19th November, 1947 [1], on the subject of a request from the Republican Government of Indonesia for landing rights in Australia.

2. The attitude of the Australian Government towards the Republican Government of Indonesia cannot be finally determined until a settlement has been reached in the current dispute between the Netherlands and the Republican Government. As you are aware, the situation in Indonesia was brought before the United Nations Security Council, which has set up a Committee of Good Offices (with Australia as one of its three members) to investigate all aspects of the dispute and to assist both parties in reaching a satisfactory settlement. The Committee's investigations are still proceeding. In the meantime the Australian Government, while having in practice accorded de facto recognition to the Republican Government [2], is not in a position to contemplate the granting of de jure recognition.

3. Having regard to these factors, it would scarcely be appropriate for the Australian Government to enter into formal negotiations with the Republican Government for the purpose of concluding, for example, a bilateral agreement for reciprocal air transport services. For the same reasons it is felt that it would be premature of the Australian Government at this stage to take any active steps to sponsor the Republican Government's endeavour to secure membership of the International Civil Aviation Organization.

4. Whilst we have told Republican representatives informally that we do not think it would serve any useful purpose to sponsor their request for membership of I.C.A.0. at the present time, we would like to help them overcome any urgent communications difficulties which may be hampering them administratively. It is for this reason that we think that, without going to the length of negotiating a bilateral agreement at this time, the Australian Government might be prepared to grant on application landing rights in Australia for individual Indonesian aircraft.

1 Document 426.

2 See Document 110.

[AA:A1838/1, 716/26/6, i]