466 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K16 BATAVIA, 15 December 1947, 2 p.m.


Received 16 December 1947

The Committee has requested permission of the parties to send its assistants to investigate conditions in Java, Sumatra and Madura and as a first step has accepted the invitation of both to enquire into the position in Madura. [1] It has also suggested that representatives of both parties should accompany its assistants and has stressed the importance of taking interpreters selected by each party.

2. The Republic has unconditionally agreed but Van Vredenburch 'on instructions from his Government' would not consent to representatives of the Republic going into territory controlled by the Netherlands. Subject to this he has agreed to the assistants proceeding to Madura today.

3. We were prepared to take a firm line stressing the importance of having representatives of both parties, particularly for enquiries in areas under dispute and which were not occupied by the Netherlands on August 4th. At an informal meeting however between the Committee, Sjarifoeddin and Van Vredenburch yesterday, Sjarifoeddin agreed to the Madura visit providing that he could suggest a number of people on the island whom the Committee's assistants could interview and from whom the Committee could select interpreters.

4. The United States Delegation have been insistent that a party should proceed to Madura as early as possible irrespective of conditions attached. Graham probably brought pressure to bear at the last minute on Sjarifoeddin who contrary to our understanding did not protest strongly against the Netherlands objection but merely stated that the Republic would have no objection to representatives of the Netherlands accompanying assistants of the Committee in Republican territory. Australians with the party will be Chesterman, Kroll and Foley. Eaton has also kindly consented to our borrowing consulate clerk Choa whose knowledge of the Malay language will reduce our dependence on the Dutch.

1 See Document 457, paragraph 6.
[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]