498 Quinn to Department of External Affairs

Departmental Dispatch Hag 69/48 THE HAGUE, 30 December 1948


While there has been surprise as well as pain discernible in reactions in the Netherlands to the course of the Security Council debates on the Dutch action in breaking the truce in Indonesia, the general effect of external censure has been to weld public opinion in favour of the action into a coherent whole. Apart from the Communists, only the Left Wing of the Labour Party, through HET PAROOL, continues to utter audible protests.

2. Dr. van Royen's claim that the Netherlands point of view had not been properly comprehended in Paris, and that the Security Council had shown partiality in ignoring the positive points in his statements, has been given wide publicity. The Netherlands delegate has been generally represented as the dignified and scholarly spokesman of a small but independent Power courageously defying the far from disinterested strictures of the majority of the Council and the Powers accredited to it.

3. The remarks of the Australian delegate to the Council have been given wide newspaper coverage, and various photographs have been published drawing attention to the chance fact that his place was alongside that of Dr. van Royen. In some papers an attempt was made to give an unfavourable 'angle' to the Australian statements in the Council, their vigour not being without effect on a people so sensitive to criticism and so bent on self justification as the Dutch. There have, however, so far been no noteworthy adverse comments on the Australian Government's policy by any Netherlands Government spokesman or any influential organ. Even news of the boycotting of Dutch ships has been published with little or no commentary or rehearsal of past history. I am moreover informed by the Immigration Attache that there has been no perceptible falling off in applications for passages to Australia or diminution in public interest in the Australian migration scheme.

4. There has been disappointment at the continued lack of sympathy for the Dutch cause in the United States, and the E.C.A. decision to suspend Marshall Aid procurement orders for Indonesia. The United Kingdom is regarded here, as a result of its less positive attitude in Paris, as having shown 'more understanding' of the Dutch position. The decision to send the Netherlands Ambassador in London, Jhr. E.F.M.J. Michiels van Verduynen, to Indonesia may legitimately be interpreted as a recognition that the Netherlands Government needs a skilled and moderate publicist for Dutch policy as well as a senior official to ensure consideration by the local authorities in Batavia of the wider international issues present in the minds of the Government at The Hague. In its comment on Jhr. Michiels' appointment, the Liberal NIEUWE COURANT Suggests that Dr. Beet acted on his own authority without consulting The Hague in the removal of the Republican leaders to points outside Java and in the recall of the military observers of the Committee of Good Offices to Batavia. The conclusion drawn by this paper is that Michiels' mission will be to keep some kind of a restraining influence on Dr. Beet's administration.

[AA: A4231/2, 1948 THE HAGUE]