424 Kevin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 500 NEW DELHI, 21 December 1948, 6.25 p.m.


Your telegram 332. [1] Following a discussion this morning with K.P.S. Menon, we are awaiting the Government of India's comment to the Australian proposals.

2. Menon showed me a strong telegram which Nehru has sent to his High Commissioner in London. This repeats the attitude already outlined in my telegram 494 [2] but goes much further, stating it to be the Government of India's intention to break off diplomatic relations with Holland which Nehru's message says specifically involves the recall of the Indian Consul-General from Batavia and the handing to the Dutch Ambassador here (Lamping) of his passports. He asked Menon whether this intention is being made public. He replied that Attlee's reaction is first awaited. He then asked me whether I thought Lamping should be told of what Nehru intends, although he was quite possibly thinking aloud. I avoided comment. He told me in confidence that the Government of India are thinking of putting an embargo on operations of K.L.M.

in and through India.

3. Menon seemed rather pleased about the American attitude (although Nehru's telegram to Krishna Menon took the line that it is Anglo-American help to Holland under the Marshall Plan and Western interference which has made the Dutch action in Indonesia possible). He said that he had heard a report that, following the Dutch attack, the State Department delivered to the Dutch Ambassador in Washington a note so stiff in its terms that the latter sought to have its strong language modified. He also referred [to] the proposed United States resolution to the Security Council [3], which seems somewhat narrower than the Australian approach.

4. I was a little early for the interview. While I was waiting for him to finish with his Private Secretary, he dictated two messages, one to Batavia and one to London which neither appeared to attempt to cloak. The message to London, after stating it to be the Government of India's understanding that Belgium and France propose to adopt a neutral attitude in the Security Council, expresses the hope that whatever line these countries adopt Britain will come out in favour of the Indonesian position. [4]

1 Dispatched on 20 December, it asked Kevin to obtain the Indian Government's comments on the Australian Government's proposals for dealing with the situation in Indonesia (see Document 396).

2 Document 380.

3 See Document 407.

4 In Cablegram 502, dispatched on 22 December, Kevin advised the Department of External Affairs that the Burmese Government intended to break of diplomatic relations with, and deny shipping and air facilities to, the Netherlands.

[AA:A1838, TS383/6/1, i]