233 Chifley to Williams

Letter CANBERRA, 21 February 1949


Since receipt of your letter [1] of 16th February enclosing a top secret memorandum on Indonesia, the situation has changed in that the Netherlands Government has publicly made its position clear.

It is clearly refusing to carry out the terms of the Security Council resolution. [2] Republican leaders have not been released and even though they are released in the near future, it is not intended that they should be permitted to carry on any political work or re-establish themselves as the Government of the Republic.

It has been frequently pointed out that Republican forces cannot be expected to cease guerilla activity until the Republican Government is re-established and issues the necessary orders.

Meanwhile, Dutch military activity continues, and presumably the Netherlands authorities have decided it is in their interests to allow the fighting to go on, at least until guerrilla activity is either finally put down or until it becomes too expensive in terms of the lives of Dutch forces.

We understand that the United States Government regards the Dutch attitude as a defiance of the Security Council and will not recognise any counter plan as compliance with the Security Council decisions.

While the objectives which are set out in Mr. Attlee's memorandum are the same as our own, we cannot agree on the approach which the United Kingdom Government is adopting as set out in paragraph 7.

This implies that the United Kingdom Government would support a Dutch counter proposal, provided it was in accordance with the 'spirit' of the Security Council resolution. Clearly the Dutch have already argued that their counter plan is in the spirit of the resolution and has the same objectives, but no other country, least of all the Republican leaders, could agree with this. We consider that the United States attitude that the Security Council resolution should be observed, and that counter proposals of the kind put forward are a defiance of the Security Council, is the only attitude which can be adopted consistent with support of the United Nations.

The Governments of India, Pakistan and Ceylon share this view which we have expressed on numerous occasions, and we hope that the United Kingdom Government will support it.

1 Document 220.

2 Document 168.

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