277 Evatt to Burton

Cablegram EC46 LONDON, 1 October 1945, 12.28 a.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE

Received your telegram regarding Indonesians. [1]

Despite the trouble and embarrassment caused, it would be undesirable to use deportation power as a weapon. In the first place as your telegram clearly appreciates drastic punishment might be inflicted in Dutch East Indies, not for industrial conduct but for political reasons. A bad feature in administration in Netherlands East Indies was deportation without a trial to Dutch New Guinea and at present we should keep clear of taking a positive part in procuring similar result.

In the second place the Immigration Law probably does not contemplate deportation to territories like Papua or Nauru and attempt might be resisted in Courts, and in any event might intensify the trouble.

I agree with your general approach but if possible Immigration Department should keep clear of the matter which has industrial political and international character and should be settled by agreement.

I am not in touch with the latest development in Australia, but note [2] left with me by Dutch Ambassador here and repeated by him to Foreign Office was purely formal and his only anxiety was to get ships working.

1 Document 271.

2 Document 273.

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