64 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 148 BATAVIA, 21 May 1947, 6.50 p.m.


Schuurman and Boon today inform us that as a result of our talk with them reported in my telegram 145 [1], the question of the ban was considered yesterday afternoon by Beel, Jonkman, Van Mook, Schermerhorn, Van Poll, Van Hoogstraten, Schuurman and Boon.

2. This meeting, in view of the fact that the Malang conference had not produced a solution, agreed on the principle of a joint message to the Australian Government. A draft message (see text below) was prepared which is not dissimilar [to] Gani's draft, and Van Hoogstraten was authorised to resume negotiations [with] Gani to secure acceptance of this draft. If agreed to by both Governments, the message would be sent, and the further agreement on details worked out between the Dutch and Indonesians.

3. We gather that the Dutch envisage publication of a joint message (as distinct from mere transmission) in advance of conclusion of negotiations on details.

4. We are very doubtful whether the Indonesians would subscribe to a message in these circumstances and will advise further. We feel that they will regard this as another instance of Dutch failure to implement the understanding arrived at verbally.

5. Schuurman and Boon were reminded that this present proposal goes no further than the old proposal of March (see my telegram 64 [2] paragraph (1)) and failed when questioned on this to establish any new element in it. They were also reminded that Van Hoogstraten and Gani in our presence verbally agreed on the subject of- (a) the principles of a joint message but also (b) the precise principles and conditions to govern (c) detailed allocation and distribution of goods.

It was understood at that time that both (a) the message and (b) the conditions would be officially agreed on before formal request would be made to the Australian Government, the conditions of course to be kept secret.

6. Their answer was that the conditions and details were very complicated and would take a long time to work out; if the message were sent meanwhile a start might be made with shipment, the Indonesians being in a position to hold up the rest of the move if at any stage allocations, distribution etc. were unsatisfactory.

7. Possible courses of action seem to be as follows- (1) Persuade the Indonesians to agree to terms of the message and procedure in paragraph 6 above, relying on sanction stated therein.

(2) Persuade both parties to agree on the terms of the message but to withhold official transmission and publication until agreement of conditions and detailed allocation is concluded.

(3) Continue to press the Dutch to agree on (b) conditions before publication of message.

8. Difficulty is that the present Dutch position is the decision of highest possible authorities while the Indonesians at present talks have insisted on guarantees of assistance which Gani obtained verbally-from Van Hoogstraten in the form of (b) conditions above which the Dutch have now receded from.

9. Following is the Dutch draft message as read to us. (They have not mentioned and apparently have not made any draft conditions.) Begins-

'The Netherlands East Indies Government and the Republican Government would both appreciate the good offices of the Australian Government to effect immediate lifting of the shipping ban.

Both Governments call attention to the fact that this immediate lifting (of the ban) is in the interests of the whole of Indonesia as goods which are now in Australia will also help to meet the needs of the Republic on the basis of an agreement to be concluded between the Netherlands East Indies Government and the Republican Government.'

1 Document 63.

2 Document 21.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/1/3/2, ii]