145 Burton to Garrett

Memorandum CANBERRA, 24 May 1948

As suggested by the Prime Minister, I have spoken to Teppema [1], and he is sending a message to Batavia, but he indicated quite clearly that, if the ban were not removed on Dutch goods going to Indonesia, there would not be consent from Batavia on relief supplies going to Indonesia generally.

While it is clear that the maintenance of the ban does not assist the Republicans, it is equally clear from his replies to questions that the relaxation of the ban will work in favour of only the Dutch-occupied area, and therefore the Government can be readily accused of discrimination in favour of one party to a dispute against the other party.

This position is all the more apparent as a result of Australia's de facto recognition of the Republican Government and therefore a right to trade direct with the Republican Government. So far we have refrained from doing this, hoping for agreement between the two parties.

Teppema also said that he had informed the Prime Minister that it was impossible for a joint statement of Republican and Dutch authorities to be made, as was the case before the ban was previously lifted [2], as the Dutch do not now recognise the existence of a Republican Government and therefore do not admit that there is any authority which could be party to a joint statement.

The only conclusion that can be reached is that the Dutch authorities have absolutely no intention of allowing either relief goods or goods in the course of normal transaction to enter Republican territories until they have reached the agreement they seek through the Committee of Good Offices.

1 No Australian record of the conversation between Burton and Teppema has been found. Teppema telegraphed Boetzelaer on 28 May his version of a conversation with Burton on 24 May. According to Teppema, Burton alleged that the lifting of the ban would offer an advantage to the NEI since direct trade with the Republic was not yet possible. In fact, Burton argued, a lifting of the ban would signify Australian discrimination against the Republic. Teppema reported that later, on 1 June, Chifley had asked Teppema, whether the latter had not discussed with Burton the desirability of a portion of Australian relief supplies bound for the NEI also reaching the 'Indonesians'. The message which Teppema sent to Batavia presumably related to the question of the division of Australian relief supplies between the NEI and the Republic. See Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatien, Officiele Bescheiden Betreffende De Nederlands-Indonesische Betrekkingen 1945-1950, 1948, vol. XIII, The Hague, 1986, pp.738-9.

2 See Volume XI, Documents 66 and Document 89.

[AA:A1838, 401/3/10/1, ii]