119 Quinn to Department of External Affairs

Memorandum Hag 3 THE HAGUE, 20 January 1949

With reference to my memorandum No. 24/49 [1] regarding the treatment of Republican leaders on Bangka Island, liberal opinion in Holland has been surprised and indignant at the recent disclosures that orders for their release from house arrest had not been obeyed. Shortly after the publication of the G.O.C.

report [2] on conditions on Bangka, the Government issued a statement expressing regret and promising an immediate investigation.

2. The criticism in practically all sections of the press centres around Dr. Beel, the representative of the Crown in Batavia. He is variously represented as being either too weak to insist on his subordinates obeying orders or extremely ill-informed as to what is happening in his territory. Particular chagrin is felt at the loss of face which Holland has suffered internationally over the matter and Labour papers have been particularly caustic. In an editorial comment Het Vrije Volk, the organ of the official Labour party, stated that 'a new blunder had been added to a series of unforgivable blunders'.

1 Not published.

2 See Document 98.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/2/2, vi b]