273 Evatt to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram EC34 LONDON, 28 September 1945, 8.45 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

The Netherlands Ambassador called on me yesterday and left the following memorandum.

'The crews of some of the Netherlands ships that are lying ready to sail from Australia to the Netherlands East Indies went on strike in connection with the prevailing unrest amongst Indonesian crews and also with the reports about difficulties in Java. Owing to agitation by Australian Communists, the movement has infected Australian dock-workers who now refuse to load the ships. Dr. Van Mook is approaching the Australian Government and the Australian Army authorities with a view to- (1) Obtain loadings of the ships with the help of the Military and, (2) Point out to the Trade Unions that their attitude is inadmissible as the transport forms part of a military operation and that the cargoes consist primarily of necessary equipment and relief The first two ships which are destined for Batavia carry all the Nica and Nefis [1] personnel, they could sail with temporary Netherlands crews. The strike however prevents the loading of any of them.

The Netherlands Government desire to draw the attention to the assistance rendered to Australia by the same Netherlands ships during the past years and also by other Netherlands ships such as the Hospital ship ORANJE. It should also be borne in mind that the Netherlands Prisoners of War and Internees would be the first to suffer by the action.'

1 Netherlands Indies Civil Administration and Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service.

[AA : A1838/2, 401/3/6/1/3, i]