445 Burton to Kirby

Cablegram 14 CANBERRA, 1 December 1947, 6.15 p.m.


Many thanks your K.2. [1] I have sent a personal message to Officer at The Hague [2] including point in paragraph 11, and also requests to London and Washington [3], and at all three posts appropriate pressure should be applied.

2. Development reported in your paragraph 6 is encouraging, but, at the same time, it would seem to me that in this or in any other matter the Committee should not accept conditions imposed by the Dutch. This is a usual technique and on this basis there would in fact be no withdrawals for many months, if at all, as it is always possible to find one or another condition has not been fulfilled.

On the record the Dutch have made the offer and that is all that would be achieved. We have had similar experiences over shipping, and I would suggest that the question before the Dutch is whether to withdraw to 4th August positions or not to, and the conditions would be only those which the Committee itself would state. I would think at this stage a time limit on withdrawal should be set and an instruction as such should be conveyed to both parties to give effect to withdrawal by that date, regardless of the formal difficulties being put forward regarding demarcation lines etc., which, in the absence of agreement between the two parties, can be determined by the military advisers of the Committee.

3. I draw your attention to Netherlands Indies Government Information Service publication September, 1947, called, 'The Indonesian Problem: Facts and Factors'. [4] The publication of atrocity pictures, many of which are of Chinese origin, can do no good to the Dutch or any other cause at this juncture, and will only bring retaliation by publication of equally bad or good facts and factors from the other side. We have a few

pictures on our files of Australians shot at by Dutch. [5] While the report might be in part factually correct, the United Nations in due course will, no doubt, prepare a factual report and, meanwhile, it is hoped that further publications of this kind will not be print, an be regarded as falling within the scope of provocative acts which the Committee has barred. [6]

1 Document 440.

2 Document 444.

3 Dispatched on 1 December, cablegrams to Makin and Beasley (1387 and 371 respectively) expressed concern at the slow progress of the negotiations in Batavia and asked that the United States and United Kingdom authorities be approached at 'he highest practicable level to enlist their support in efforts to eliminate the influence of Van Mook and Spoor (see Document 444).

Confirmation was also sought as to whether the United States had been bringing pressure to bear on the Dutch authorities in The Hague.

4 Not printed.

5This is apparently a reference to the deaths of two Australian nationals when an Indian-owned Dakota aircraft was shot down by Dutch fighter aircraft near Djokjakarta on 29 July 1947. A Republican Air Force report on the incident, including photographs of the crashed aircraft and victims, was sent to Ballard by Sjarifuddin on 11 August and was subsequently forwarded to the Department of External Affairs. Compensation was eventually paid to the next of kin of the Australian victims by the Netherlands Government in January 1951.

6 This is presumably a reference to the appeals broadcast by the Committee of Good Offices (see Document 420, note 5) or to the suggestions of the committee regarding the termination of provocative broadcasts and other propaganda activity (see Document 433, note 4).

[AA:A3196, 1947, 0.20030]