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348 Bruce to Evatt

Cablegram N40 LONDON, 10 December 1943, 4.10 p.m.


Your telegram N.5. [1]

This matter is distinctly difficult. The position as I understand
it is that the Netherlands Government have been giving careful
consideration to the problems involved in regard to the Dutch re-
occupation and resumption of administration of their territories
in the Netherlands East Indies as and when they are freed from
Japanese occupation. The result of this consideration has been
that the Netherlands Government has decided the time has arrived
when they must strengthen their organisation in the Pacific area
for this purpose. They have also decided it would be desirable
that this organisation should be in Australia as this would enable
the closest co-operation to be maintained with the Australian
Government in regard to the problems of the Pacific, in which the
two countries have so mutual an interest.

I am expecting a formal communication at any moment from van
Kleffens [2] asking me to inform the Australian Government of the
Netherlands Government's desire to strengthen their organisation
in Australia and that to this end they propose to send van Mook,
their Governor-General designate of the Netherlands East Indies,
to Australia. It is true, as you point out in paragraph 1 of your
telegram, that the implementation of the Netherlands Government's
plans requires the assent of the Australian Government, but I am
certain that it has never crossed the minds of the Netherlands
Government that the reply of the Australian Government would be
other than a cordial agreement with their proposals and an offer
of the fullest co-operation. Any other reaction from us, [whether]
[3] conveyed personally and informally by me or in a communication
direct from you to van Kleffens, would, I am certain, have the
most unfortunate repercussions on our relations with the Dutch.

As I see it, the matter having proceeded so far and the proposals
having received the endorsement of the Netherlands Government, the
time has passed when we can do anything on a personal or informal
basis and to my mind official and formal action indicating that an
expansion of the Dutch
organisation in Australia would not be acceptable to the
Australian Government is out of the question. We would, of course,
be quite within our rights in indicating that van Mook would not
be persona grata to the Australian Government. This, however,
would be a most extreme step and in any event I assume such is not
the case.


1 Document 347.

2 Netherlands Foreign Minister.

3 Corrected from Bruce's copy on file AA:M100, December 1943.

[AA:A989, 43-44/600/5/1/5]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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