28 Eaton to Evatt

Ministerial Dispatch 2/1948 BATAVIA, 21 January 1948


I have the honour to report that the general feeling since the signing of the truce agreement between the Dutch and Republicans is of wondering what is going to happen next, rather than any great relief and jubilation at the results obtained.

2. There is no doubt that the present Republican Government has staked all on the work and advice of the Committee of Good Offices, and this has resulted in at least a mild upheaval in Republican circles on the signing of the truce agreement. [1]

3. The more or less Dutch terms of the agreement seem hard to the Republicans, but on the other hand there are many Republicans of good standing and intelligence who consider that if the political principles agreed upon are carried out faithfully and with sincerity by the Dutch the Republicans will win out in the end. I think it is realised how essential it will be for the Committee of Good Offices to remain in being and be able to enforce the proper implementation of the accepted principles.

4. The Dutch authorities are viewing, as a 'flagrant violation' of the first of the six additional principles accepted, the decision of the Republican Parliamentary Working Committee to approve the draft bill in connection with the Republican-Egyptian Treaty of Friendship. The principle is 'that sovereignty throughout the Netherlands Indies is and shall remain with the Kingdom of the Netherlands until, after a stated interval, the Kingdom of the Netherlands transfers its sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia. Furthermore, the status of the Republic of Indonesia will be that of a state within the United States of Indonesia.' The Republicans, on the other hand, consider that there is no reason to break off or cancel any friendships already established and also state that the Treaty will be placed before the Federal Government of the United States of Indonesia, when formed, for general ratification.

5. Dr. van Zeeland left Batavia for Holland on 19th January. The day before we had a morning's shooting together and he was very frank in his talk with me. Van Zeeland told me that he was really going to place the exact political and military position before the Dutch Government and press for sincerity and understanding in dealing with the Republican point of view. If he is sincere, and I think he is, his visit to Holland will be of benefit.

6. Dr. van Zeeland asked me if he could let it be known to my Government his sincere appreciation and admiration of Mr. Justice Kirby for his great work, particularly during the most difficult last week leading to the truce agreement when Judge Kirby was Chairman of the Committee. He also expressed admiration for what he called the 'solid work' of Brigadier Neyland.

7. I have learnt that the Canadian Government is intending to establish in the near future representation in Indonesia. It is quite probable that Mr. Cosgrove, a Canadian who was in the Indies prior to the last war, will be appointed to a diplomatic or trade post here. This, together with the aerial mapping of the Indies by the United States, as reported in a Departmental Despatch [2], gives an indication of the interest America as a whole is taking in Indonesia.

8. I consider that my plan, submitted in a Departmental Despatch, for the establishment of an Australian Information Bureau and Trade Commissioner's office should be approved and implemented at an early date. [3]

1 In Cablegram 13, dispatched on 22 January, Eaton inserted the following at the end of paragraph 2: 'important meetings are being forced in Djokjakarta and by the end of the week we shall know whether Prime Minister Sjarifoedin and his cabinet will remain in power or will fall. Republican opinion in Batavia is that a stable Government will remain in power.' 2 In his Departmental Dispatch 2/1948 of 21 January, Eaton reported the mapping of the NEI by the United States Air Force.

3 In his Departmental Dispatch 1/48 of 7 January 1948, Eaton recommended the establishment of an information Bureau and a Trade Commissioner's Office.

[AA:A4231/2, 1948, BATAVIA]