356 Burton to Evatt

Draft Cablegram E104 [1] CANBERRA, 8 December 1948


We have always maintained there could be no solution to Indonesian problem unless United Kingdom was prepared to press Dutch acceptance of reasonable proposals. We have frequently been informed that United Kingdom has pressed Dutch. The instruction to the United Kingdom delegation at Lapstone was not to vote against Dutch or India and Pakistan and this confirms what we have always said was the case, that is while there might be pressure Dutch are encouraged to believe that when they are put on the spot before the Security Council or elsewhere United Kingdom will help them.

In the present circumstance United Kingdom policy cannot be justified if matter comes to public attention. Dutch are insisting on disbandment of Republican Army while maintaining strong Dutch army prior to political settlement. This demand is on all fours with police action as it aims to leave Republic without last hope of self-defence. Meanwhile 35 million persons are being blockaded and deprived of goods essential to life.

It is commonly reported now that failure of Good Offices Committee is due to United States and United Kingdom refusal to do more than urge the Dutch and to take any overt action such as voting. We have endeavoured up to date to avoid embarrassment to western countries but stage is reached when we cannot afford in relation to other countries in the area to allow matter to drift further.

Troops are being increased in Batavia and there are no signs of any real intention on the part of the Dutch to come to a reasonable settlement.

I think it would be most helpful if at this critical stage you could once again impress upon United Kingdom and U.S.A. the way Indonesian situation is drifting. Moreover, it is most irritating to find that Australia's vital interests in a rapidly changing South East Asia do not appear to be receiving the same active consideration which we ourselves at all times have given the particular problems which the United Kingdom Government faces in Europe. The Lapstone instruction which places good relations with the Dutch above good relations with four British Dominions who are unanimous amongst themselves and who are vitally concerned in the matter is hardly conducive to British Commonwealth co-operation.

1 Final versions of this and the following cablegram (E105 Document 357) have not been found but there is evidence to suggest they were dispatched on 8 December.

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