Skip to main content

Historical documents

130 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr John Curtin, Prime Minister

Cablegram 786 LONDON, 27 November 1941, 4.53 p.m.


My telegram 767 of 18th November. [1]

Ambon, Koepang and Namlea.

The Netherlands reply now received points out that A.D.A. [2]
conversations at Singapore in February referred to the despatch of
Australian troops after outbreak of war in the Pacific. The
Netherlands Government however concur in the despatch at an
earlier stage, provided that the Netherlands Authorities deem this
desirable having regard to the political and military situation
but this is not the case at present.

2. Despatch of troops without absolute necessity might lead to
undesirable incidents with the population, which in turn might
have unfavourable repercussions on Netherlands-Australian
relations. This applies in particular to the population of Ambon.

Therefore despatch of foreign troops should in the opinion of the
Netherlands Government be postponed as long as possible.

3. The Netherlands Government feel that the despatch of air force
personnel would be more acceptable than army personnel, and
despatch of air force personnel as indicated in paragraph 1 of
your telegram 684 of 17th October [3] is accordingly agreed to.

4. Besides despatch of the above air force personnel, the
Netherlands Government agree to the despatch to Koepang of 30
(repeat 30) Australian infantry in addition to 14 said to be
already in Dutch Timor.

5. The Netherlands Government desire that details should be
arranged direct between the Netherlands East Indies and Australian

6. They similarly desire that the Netherlands East Indies and
Australian Authorities should decide when arrival of the main
bodies of Australian troops is desirable and suggest that the
United Kingdom Authorities in Singapore should help in co-

7. The Netherlands Government intend to inform the United States
Government of the broad outline of these arrangements.

1 On file AA : A1608, AA27/1/1.

2 Anglo-Dutch-Australian.

3 On the file cited in note 1. The cablegram was actually dated 16

[AA : A1608, AA27/1/1]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
Back to top