348 Full Cabinet Submission by Makin

Agendum 976 29 October 1945,

AUSTRALIAN REPRESENTATION IN THE PACIFIC Recent events in the areas immediately to the Northwest of Australia and particularly in the Netherlands East Indies and French Indo-China have emphasised the necessity for having adequate means of receiving information. Developments in these areas have a direct bearing on the problem of our own security. If a satisfactory settlement of the problems of these countries is not forthcoming then we shall be confronted with a period characterized by instability and unrest amongst native peoples.

Such a consequence must be viewed by us with some concern in view of our recent experiences in the Pacific War. In the future we shall also have very important economic interests in this area in which there are very large populations with increasing living standards.

In view of the urgency of the situation it has been necessary with the co-operation of the Services to make certain interim arrangements so that we can obtain information on the critical events occurring now in the regions to our north and north-west.

These arrangements include the attachment of a Political Representative to SEAC in the Netherlands East Indies and Siam, and of Naval Intelligence Officers to the British Pacific Fleet operating in Japanese waters and at ports in French Indo-China. A political observer has also been attached to the Australian Service Mission in Tokyo.

It is desirable that Australia, as the Dominion most directly concerned with developments in the Pacific area, should take the initiative in sponsoring a policy which will ensure stability by urging progressive policies on the part of governments responsible for dependent peoples. It should be our aim to keep the United Kingdom and the United States Governments fully informed of developments in the Pacific region and to give our interpretation of events in this area. It seems essential therefore that we should have competent representation in all these countries of such vital concern to us. These representatives will be required to observe and report upon significant political, economic and social developments.

The interim arrangements outlined above will make unnecessary appointments of Australian representatives at the present time at some posts. Immediate appointments to Portuguese Timor, New Caledonia, Singapore and Manila are required, and from an administrative point of view it is most important to enable the Department of External Affairs to look ahead and anticipate staffing needs.

Accordingly, it is recommended that approval be given to the appointment now of Australian Consular Representatives to the posts mentioned above and as the need arises to the following- Netherlands East Indies Fiji French Indo China New Hebrides Siam Shanghai [1]


1 On 30 October Full Cabinet approved that provisional appointments be made immediately in respect of Portuguese Timor, New Caledonia, Singapore and Manila. Suggestions for appointments to the other places named were to be re-submitted at a later date.

[AA : A2700, VOL. 19]