352 McIntyre to Burton

Minute CANBERRA, 6 December 1948

Two points occur to me in connection with your suggested telegram [1]- (a) The suggestion of an international police force to keep order in Indonesia does not of course solve the question of who is to control all armed forces in Indonesia on which the negotiations are said to have come to a standstill. The question at issue is not that of a police force to keep order, but that of who is to control the Netherlands armed forces (which the Dutch want to keep in Indonesia) and the Republican army (which the Republicans want to keep [in being] [2]), and how the two forces can exist side by side. I think an international police force would simply add to the confusion unless the wider question is settled, in which event there would not be much for it to do. The idea might conceivably be useful as a debating point in the Security Council, though I am not sure how.

(b) I take it you feel sure that Australia could contribute a component to any international police force in Indonesia if the idea was taken up. [3]

1 The reference is to a draft cablegram dated 6 December to the Australian Delegation, United Nations in Paris. The draft cablegram read: 'Once again discussions are on the point of break- down. This time reason is said to be control of armed forces.

Please advise soonest when Lie's proposal for small international police force is likely to be dealt with and whether suggestion should be made at Security Council that this force should be used in Indonesia or whether suggestion be put that separate force composed of nationals of countries taking pan in mediation be handed police responsibilities under Committee of Good Offices.' Neither a final version of this cablegram typed in the External Communications Branch of the Department of External Affairs nor a copy received by the Australian Delegation, United Nations, Paris has been found. It seems, therefore, that the cablegram was not sent.

2 The words 'in being' were added by hand and the words 'together as a unit' struck out.

3 An annotation on the minute in McIntryre's handwriting reads:

'redraft to suggest an allied O.I.C. [Officer in Command] of all forces who within stated period arrange for two groups to work together'.

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