444 Burton to Officer

Cablegram 156 CANBERRA, 1 December 1947, 5.45 p.m.


You will appreciate that Kirby's position is, as Commissioner, not subject to instructions. We have, however, been in the closest personal touch, as he, on occasions, seeks advice. The time has arrived when the utmost pressure must be put on the Dutch if 'cease fire' negotiations and discussions on the substance of the dispute are to succeed. For many weeks now, Dutch have stalled, while the Indonesians have co-operated to the full, and this may not be unrelated to the fact that there will be some doubt regarding the Australian position after the end of the year when we are off the Security Council.

2. Kirby urges that, through you, and also through the United States and United Kingdom Governments, The Hague authorities be persuaded to take a greater and more direct interest in these negotiations. He is convinced that no satisfactory agreement can be negotiated if The Hague make Van Mook and Spoor their responsible representatives, both men being far too deeply involved in the origins of the dispute. [1] While there should be full agreement by all Dutch authorities to any settlement so that there will be full support in carrying through its terms, on the other hand, men like these two mentioned have no contribution to make that cannot be made by others equally experienced. They are likely to prejudice success by reason of the fact that they are, in effect, personally and directly related to the events which led up to the dispute. It may be possible for you in general terms to suggest that long-term Dutch interests might be best promoted by taking the logical step of removing from position of power those representatives who have their own actions and position to justify.

3. The Hague authorities should know, too, that it was our intention in taking the matter to the Security Council to have an effective and quick settlement. As yet, there has been no agreement on 'cease fire' despite clear decisions of the Security Council, but, on the contrary, Dutch authorities have continued to pursue mopping up operations and the use of food and other resources for the purpose of getting a greater area and greater numbers under their control. On the question of substance, there has been almost no progress or even attempt to reach agreement.

Our understanding is that local relations with the Committee and with Kirby are very good, but these local circumstances would not prevent us from insisting that a too great period has lapsed with[out] effective action, and that the matter should be referred back to the Security Council so that we can attempt to obtain binding decisions before the expiration of our term on the Security Council.

4. A firm and frank talk with Dutch authorities is at this stage indicated but in no way should Kirby's independent position be prejudiced. His reports have in general been critical of the Dutch, but his present good relations with Van Vredenburch should not be compromised.

1 See Document 440.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]