409 Pritchett to Leimena

Letter BATAVIA, 18 May 1949


I wish to refer to our discussions concerning arrangements for the distribution of the Australian Government's Post-UNRRA Relief Supplies to the Republic of Indonesia.

You will remember that when we last met we agreed that this distribution should be handled by the Indonesian Red Cross in co- operation with Dr. Bahder-Djohan, and since then I have received from him lists of medicines required for Jogjakarta and for Solo.

However, in view of the recent agreement obtained between the Netherlands and your Delegations, I suggest that the Republican Government will now be in the best position to arrange for the distribution of these supplies and that it will be helpful to the Government for it to have the supplies to distribute. In suggesting this, I am assuming that it will be possible for you to make arrangements for the distribution of the supplies in those territories which are outside the Residency of Jogjakarta but which were controlled by the Republican Government before the military action of 19th December last. I have already spoken along these lines to Jhr. de Ranitz of the Far Eastern Office and he has promised to take the matter up with the local authorities and to give me their early decision. However, he pointed out that the present arrangement was for the distribution of the supplies to be arranged under the supervision of Lt. Col. Sullivan through the Indonesian Red Cross and I gathered the impression from him that possibly the authorities would not be ready to alter this arrangement and to approve the direct hand-over of the supplies to the Republican Government. Under these circumstances I feel it would be very helpful if some influence could be brought to bear in high circles; if you can find the time to spare from the other problems which must be pressing you at present, perhaps you could mention the matter informally to Dr. van Royen with a view to gaining his assistance in securing the necessary approval from the local authorities and their full co-operation in the transport of the supplies to Jogjakarta and in their subsequent distribution by your Department. Such co-operation on the part of the Netherlands would be a [mark] [1] of sincerity and good faith in the present rapprochement which could contribute much towards the general question of further Australian supplies for Indonesia (including the territories outside the Republic).

The supplies themselves were recently inspected by a member of my staff and are in good condition. Providing that the Netherlands authorities are agreeable to their being handed over directly to your Department, the only arrangements that need to be made in Batavia are the securing of a clearance from the Customs authorities and the provision of ten or eleven three-ton trucks to move the supplies from Tandjong Priok.

With regard to the textiles coloured blue or khaki, to the import of which you will remember the Government of Indonesia has hitherto objected, I have formally requested that this ban be now lifted, pointing out that in view of the recent agreement between the Republican and Netherlands Delegations it will now be possible for a responsible distribution to be arranged satisfactorily by the Republican Government. As you are aware, the objection to the import of these textiles comes from the Army authorities and they might prove difficult. You might care to mention this also in any conversation with Dr. van Royen.

Would you be good enough to let me know the results of any action you might take along the lines I have suggested? I shall of course, keep you informed of developments in my discussions with De Ranitz. I know you will agree with me that this matter has suffered too many delays already and that it is most desirable that the supplies be handed over to you as soon as possible for distribution without further objections being raised.

1 Word in square brackets added by hand.

[AA : A4357/2, 352/2, i]