A 'Washington Post' editorial quoted in today's Australian Press may create the impression in America that Australians are aligning themselves with the Indonesian movement. In actual fact expressions of partisanship have been curiously few, and then almost entirely confined to waterside workers in the Eastern states. Certain newspapers and Opposition Members have criticised the Government for not taking a stronger line against refusals to load ships, but apart from this there has been little or no comment, and in general the tone of the press as well as of radio commentators has been fairly neutral. Up to the present the official attitude has been to treat the situation in the N. E. I.
as a domestic matter to be settled by the Dutch and Indonesians without outside interference. If the situation stagnates or worsens, it may be that Australia, as a Power with a vital interest in the future of the area, will need to bring its good offices to bear on both sides in an attempt to achieve some early compromise. Any settlement while providing for the legitimate interests of the Dutch must also satisfy the demands of the Indonesians which are equally wellfounded. Otherwise there can be no period of stability in the N. E. I. and hence no assurance of security in the South West Pacific.