355 Department of External Affairs to High Commisison in New Delhi

Cablegram 165 CANBERRA, 12 April 1949, 8.30 p.m.


Your 273 [1], paragraph 2.

We have now had letter [2] from Republican representative here in somewhat similar terms to that [3] of Maramis. In any informal exchange of views at Wednesday's meeting you should take the line that we are anxious to join in any practicable measures of help to the Republic, as we have already demonstrated by gifts of relief supplies, etc. Latest Republican request requires careful scrutiny before its practicability can be determined. It seems to us that the problem set out in the Republican letter is really a threefold one, and should be considered under the following heads:

(1) Provision of means for the Republican Government to carry on administration in Djokjakarta.

This mainly involves office equipment, typewriters, paper etc., but could be more widely interpreted to cover food and other immediate necessities to enable Republican Government to function efficiently and keep order in Djokjakarta. This in our view is primarily a Dutch responsibility, and it should be the task of the United Nations Commission to ensure that the Dutch discharge it.

(2) Relief Supplies.

The deteriorating economic situation throughout Java raises an immediate relief problem. Food, textiles and medical supplies are needed both within and outside Djokjakarta. As you know, we had before police action began already despatched substantial supplies of textiles and medical equipment for use by the Republic, and these are still stored in Batavia against the day when the Republic can use them. Provision of additional relief supplies is one practical way in which Governments represented at the New Delhi Conference could offer to help.

(3) Financial Aid.

This needs to be considered separately both as to amount and as to use to which it is to be put. In our view it is rather a long term than an immediate project, and one on which commitments cannot usefully be made until Republican Government is functioning and pattern of Indonesian trade becomes clear, and then only after careful study of requirements. The appropriate course might be for the Republicans as soon as they are restored in Djokjakarta, to invite a commission of interested Governments to examine their economic problems.

2. Much depends on whether or not there is going to be a satisfactory settlement in Indonesia. A joint offer of a monetary loan at this stage might have little value even as a gesture if for one reason or another it should later be found impracticable to implement it. There is also the point that if a political settlement were to be achieved any inter-national economic aid might have to be extended to cover the whole of Indonesia, and not the Republic alone, in order to avoid any charge of discrimination in favour of one sector of Indonesia.

3. It should be emphasized that until the question of restoration of capital is decided there is little point in discussing this type of assistance. We all must concentrate on the essential issues before the Assembly.

1 Document 354.

2 Document 348.

3 See Document 344.

[AA : A1838, 403/3/1/1, xxii]