12 Massey to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 28 SINGAPORE, 10 January 1948, 1.37 p.m.

IMMEDIATE TOP SECRET

Sharifoeddin and Agoes Salim are now in Singapore and are proceeding to Sumatra to collect Hatta and fly with him to Djokja.

Batavia's telegram No.1 [1] was received after their arrival. But we have been in touch through Oetoyo.

2. I assume that all this means that the Republic is now preparing to do the best it can for itself with the Dutch in view of the meagre prospects facing it if the Commission retires from the scene. I do not know, of course, how you appreciate the possible future for Australian interests in the Dutch dominated United States of Indonesia but in view of the recent Malayan Netherlands East Indies commercial agreement chief beneficiaries economically will be the United Kingdom and it is too much to hope that there will not be powerful discrimination against Australia.

3. You should also know that the Indonesian public here has now taken on a sour note. Sjahrir for instance recently put out statement through Antara, that Australia was not championing the Indonesian cause in spite of Australian public opinion's support and that the main hope for the future of Indonesia lay in close association with India. [2]

1 Dispatched on 9 January, it reported, that Sjarifuddin and Salim had left Batavia in a Committee of Good Offices aircraft and that the NEI press was reporting that the Netherlands Government was reserving its 'freedom of action' unless a cease-fire agreement were reached quickly.

2 According to an Australian Associated Press Reuter report of 28 May, Antara, the chief Republican news agency, had quoted Sjahrir as saying that Australia had adopted a 'neutral' policy in the Indonesian dispute while India had 'thrown in its lot' with the Republic to a much greater extent.

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