69 Lord Cranborne, U.K. Secretary of State for Dominion Affairs, to Mr A. W. Fadden, Prime Minister

Cablegram 629 [1] LONDON, 14 September 1941, 7.42 p.m.

MOST SECRET

My telegram 549 of 7th August. [2]

As you will have seen from my telegram 295 of 6th September [3], we have addressed a note to the Netherlands Minister [4] indicating the extent to which we feel able to meet the Netherlands Government's request for 'ratification' of the staff conversations held at Singapore earlier this year. [5] 2. It is thought that our note removes the obstacle [to] [6] making a specific approach to the Netherlands Government for authority for the despatch of Australian land units to Ambon and Koepang as soon as a further move is made by Japan. In view of developments in the situation both political and military which have taken place since receipt of your telegram 430 of 10th July [7] we should, before taking action in this sense, be glad to learn that it would be in accordance with the Commonwealth Government's wishes. If so we suggest that the formula should be 'whether the Netherlands Government would be prepared in principle to agree to the proposed move before the outbreak of hostilities with Japan in the event of a further deterioration in the situation'. [8]

1 Repeated to the N.Z. Prime Minister as no 363.

2 On file AA:A981, Japan 185B, ii.

3 On file AA:A1608, B41/1/9, i.

4 Jonkheer E. Michiels van Verduynen.

5 See Document 34, note 2.

6 Corrected from the London COPY in PRO:FO 371/27780.

7 Document 3.

8 The Commonwealth Govt replied (cablegram 649 of 3 October) that it 'would be glad if approach could be made to Netherlands Government for authority for the despatch of Australian Army and Air Force Units to Ambon and Koepang on basis of formula suggested but supplemented to include the despatch of advance parties in uniform immediately'. In cablegram 690 of 14 October Cranborne inquired as to the size and composition of the proposed advance parties and whether it was essential that they should be uniformed. In providing the requested details (cablegram 684 of 16 October) the Commonwealth Govt commented that in view of the size of the proposed advance parties it was considered that the wearing of uniform would aid the maintenance of discipline. All cablegrams are on file AA:A1608, AA27/1/1

[AA:A3195, 1941, 1.17883]