222 Department of External Affairs to Officer

Cablegram 71 CANBERRA, 12 August 1948, 2.20 p.m.


Usman, who, as you know, has been in Australia representing Indonesian interests with the full knowledge and consent of the Dutch, has issued invitations to a party as Representative of the Republic. Up to date he has been received in Canberra without any question being raised as to status. He considers he has to reciprocate, and has invited all the diplomatic community to his party next Tuesday. Teppema has taken exception, and is endeavouring to persuade members of the diplomatic community not to attend. Already the press are watching developments.

Embarrassment is being caused to everyone concerned, whereas, if Teppema treated it as a matter of course and himself attended, it would pass off without notice and without implication. Please explain background to the appropriate authority and endeavour to have an appropriate instruction sent to Teppema. There is no sinister motive behind the party and the only harm that can come is through certain representatives not attending.

2. We have received reports [1] of Bevin's discussions with Beel and others and his emphasis on the need for early settlement particularly so as to avoid a left wing change in the Republic. We shall send further information on this for the information of the Minister if you have not a full report. Please advise. [2]

3. The present may be a critical stage, particularly if the new Government endeavours to obtain a quick settlement, and Teppema's completely unreasonable attitude is just the kind of thing to make negotiations more difficult.

1 Dispatched on 9 August, Telegrams Q156 and Q157 reported discussions between Bevin, Beel and other Netherlands politicians and officials at The Hague on 19 and 20 July. They noted Beel's optimism about the prospect of a settlement in Indonesia and the UK Government's decision to limit its arms embargo on Indonesia to 'lethal' material.

2 Officer replied, in a cablegram dispatched on 12 August, that he required the full details.

[AA:A1838, 403/3/1/1, xviii]