89 Department of External Affairs to Ballard

Cablegram 153 CANBERRA, 18 June 1947


1. Please convey following to Van Mook and Sjahrir and follow up urgently with Hoogstraten and Gani:

As result of good offices of Australian Government in accordance with joint message from N.E.I. and Republican Governments, and with agreement of 24th May governing shipment of goods from Australia, the ban on Dutch shipping is now lifted. [1] It is consequently desired that specific shipping be nominated to transport these goods. The Australian authorities would appreciate earliest information as to the place or places of loading and the goods to be loaded in order that the movement may be arranged without delay. The Australian Government would also be glad to be informed whether cargoes of so-called 'native products' particularly sisal, tea and kapok could be shipped to Australia possibly as back-loading on the vessels employed as above.

2. For your background information, we want to be sure that the conditions of the Gani-Hoogstraten agreement [2] are observed, for example that about 2/3rds of goods, especially in the first shipment, will be for Indonesians, and that these will be unloaded at Republican ports. We would like to know as soon as possible what detailed arrangements will be made at Australian ports for the forwarding of the goods, e.g. who will represent Dutch and how cargoes will be made up, especially first shipload. Similarly we desire information as to proposed arrangements at ports of discharge. Confidentially we feel that Waterside Federation will regard first shipment as a test case.

3. It is important that first ship be nominated at earliest possible moment, so as to utilise present favourable situation.

Delay in itself might give rise to doubts, with possible unfavourable reaction on waterfront.

4. If Dutch cannot assign a vessel at once we wish to carry out the movement of the goods in a vessel under Australian control (see terms of Gani-Hoogstraten agreement).

5. As regards possible back-loading we urgently need sisal and would also be glad to have tea, kapok, timber, and native rubber.

Understand considerable stocks of these native products are available. Please ascertain precise supply position at Indonesian ports. Dutch inspection of such cargoes of native products on high seas would be most undesirable and we would like to know whether it would be possible for the functions of the officials from both sides referred to in paragraph (e) of the Gani-Hoogstraten agreement to be extended to cover inspection on shore or during loading of native products to be exported to Australia.

6. Is difficulty to be anticipated as regards loading of Dutch ships in Indonesian ports with Indonesian goods for Australia? If so, please make strong representation to Indonesian Authorities at appropriate time with a view to assuring back-loading to Australia whatever the flag of ships taking goods from Australia to Indonesia.

7. Please go into all necessary details with both Dutch and Indonesian Departments on economic affairs and report continuously by cable.

1 Following discussions with Chifley, Evatt and the Minister for Supply and Shipping, Senator W. P. Ashley, the General Secretary of the Waterside Workers Federation, J. Healy announced on 6 June that the Federation had agreed to cooperate in the shipment of goods to the NEI 'for the benefit of the Indonesian people'.

2 See Appendix II.

[AA:A1838/283, 401/3/10/8, i]