414 Department of External Affairs to Heydon and Makin

Cablegrams 2153, 293 CANBERRA, 23 May 1949, 5.45 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL

We have received long reports from Critchley on the progress of negotiations. While there has been no major hitch up to date, progress has been very slow and there is obviously stalling in Batavia, particularly by Army groups. Many of the problems, particularly those related to a cease-fire, Critchley thinks can only be settled by agreement on the 'highest level'. It is to be expected that there would be a slackening of efforts when the Assembly ceased. Critchley anticipates that The Hague Conference might not take place until July or even August which he says would be most serious from the point of view of Republican support of the present leaders. This would mean too that negotiations would still be in progress at The Hague during the next Assembly. We believe that this might not be entirely accidental as throughout the Dutch have been careful to arrange a conference at times when the matter is likely to be raised in the Security Council or in the Assembly.

2. Please discuss those aspects with the United Kingdom authorities emphasising to them that the recent progress should not mislead us into believing that the problem is solved and that constant pressure on The Hague is necessary by the United Kingdom Government if a settlement is to be reached.

3. Washington only. Glad if you could make similar informal approach to United States authorities.

[AA : A1838, 401/3/1/1, vi]