54 Forsyth to Burton

Cablegram 128 BATAVIA, 12 May 1947, 3.15 p.m.


In conversation with Dr. Oesman Sastroamijoyo, who is acting Chief of the Diplomatic and Consular Section of Indonesian Foreign Office and specially attached to Sjahrir, it appeared that the Indonesians would welcome an opportunity to send a small party of officials on an informal visit to Australia. informality stressed by Oesman and he requests there should be no advance publicity. He has discussed with Sjahrir who approves of the project. Oesman is very well known to Ballard and is one of his best contacts and a very intelligent and cultured man, educated in Europe. He would be the leader and would propose to take with him two other officials Dr. Saroso of the Foreign Trade Branch of the Republic Department of Economic Affairs, and Mr. Halim, Vice Commodore of the Indonesian Air Force. Halim's visit would be confined to civil aviation enquiries.

2. Oesman asks whether the party could travel to Australia by the Manoora, embarking at Cheribon on Friday, hence the urgency of this message. Would need reply by Wednesday evening to prepare and reach Cheribon. Oesman wishes the party to go the whole way to Sydney by the Manoora as this would give me time to meet him there, since my Lancastrian Singapore-Sydney is for 27th May. By that time also shipping and repair problems, at present under discussion here, should be settled.

3. The whole matter has been discussed without commitment and Oesman agrees refusal would not be taken as an affront. I strongly recommend the proposal which, without implying any official representation, would give an opportunity for valuable contacts.

Matters such as your telegram 100 [1] and possibility Australian advisers coming to assist the Republic in technical matters could be discussed informally with appropriate Australia officials;

also, repair questions, etc. Ballard fully concurs.

4. Oesman suggested expenses in Australia be met by External Affairs Department and repayment made here in guilders to the account of the Consul-General.

5. Glad of most urgent reply. If favourable please instruct Manoora accordingly. [2]

1 Dispatched on 8 May, it asked Forsyth to inquire informally whether the Republic of Indonesia would wish to take advantage of training facilities in Australia in relation to public administration, in particular the School of Pacific Administration.

2 The Department of External Affairs replied on 13 May (cablegram 106 to Ballard) that while a visit by Indonesian officials would be welcomed, it could not be agreed without the full knowledge and consent of the Dutch authorities.

[AA:A1838/283, 401/3/10/7, i]