241 Brookes to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 79 BATAVIA, 12 May 1946


Your telegram 46 [1] and my telegram 60 giving text of G.O.C.

letter to Sjahrir. Below is Sjahrir's reply which was handed to Mansergh this morning. Begins.

To Lieutenant General E. C. Mansergh, C.B.E., M.C. Headquarters AFNEI.

In reply to your letter of May 1st, I beg you to convey to the Australian Government the repeated assurance, that the Government of the Indonesian Republic deeply deplores the fate befallen members of the Australian war crimes investigation party. [2] My Government is of the opinion that there has been committed a crime of the most detestable sort.

I want to make it quite clear to you that in my opinion the affair is a matter of honour of the Indonesian Nation towards a great nation which cherishes most sympathetic feelings towards Indonesia and their pronounced and democratic aspirations for freedom.

On account of this, I have personally ordered to be set up a special committee of investigation with explicit orders to make vigorous efforts in investigating the circumstances of the murder.

I ordered that it must not fail to keep me daily informed of any progress made in this respect.

At the present moment we are fortunate to be able to inform you of recent results of energetic enquiries related to this matter i.e.

that two Japanese operating under false Indonesian names have been arrested; they have been in touch with three Indonesians connected with the case; from possession of the arrested persons the lost documents and a photographic apparatus have been recovered. My Government has already issued a statement with regard to the results mentioned above.

We are endeavouring to do the utmost to have enquiries completed as far as possible in order that the criminals can be brought to justice without delay.

In the light of the seriousness in which we viewed the matter from the outset, [we] deem it the more deplorable that a less appropriate term in the Vice Minister's letter [3] has caused dissatisfaction to arise on the part of the Government. [4] Therefore I can be only grateful if our strenuous efforts can be accepted as proof of the seriousness with which my Government have been dealing with the case from the very start. May these efforts be conducive to eliminate the wrong impressions which a less appropriate term has caused to arise.

I should be very grateful if you will be kind enough to send a copy of this letter to the Australian Commonwealth Government.

Yours sincerely, (Signed) W. S. Sjahrir, Minister for Foreign Affairs. Ends.

Regarding paragraph 5 of Sjahrir's letter, I have already sent you the text of the statement in my telegram 75. In my telegram 75 I said that I would advise you further regarding the last sentences of Indonesian communique, this is covered in my telegram 76. [5]

The G.O.C. has passed a copy of Sjahrir's letter, set out above to me, and is replying to Sjahrir to the effect that he has forwarded a copy to me and doubtless, I will inform the Commonwealth Government. Without specific instructions from you I shall not acknowledge the letter officially, but if questioned by Indonesians before receiving instructions from you I propose to inform them that I have signalled the letter to the Commonwealth Government.

1 Presumably cablegram, 26 (Document 220).

2 See Document 196.

3 See Document 204.

4 See Document 209.

5 Document 240.

[AA:A838/2, 401/3/10/2, ii]