273 Dunk to Evatt

Cablegram 71 CANBERRA, 28 May 1946


Although I have carried out your instructions to leave Brookes in Batavia for the time being, I feel bound to advise that I am greatly disturbed at Brookes' recent cables and fear that unless he is given a period of rest in Australia, or at least, placed under some more senior Officer, he may unconsciously involve Australia in matters of serious consequence.

2. From his cables I would judge that he is a sincere young man of limited experience, not in the best of health (he has had a number of bouts of fever). He has a marked sympathy for the Indonesian cause in general and Sjahrir in particular which apparently makes it difficult for him to maintain a proper balance and judgment.

His telegrams contain frequent references to 'rumours' and 'suspicions', which are frequently unsupported by any facts. For example, in a recent telegram [1] he stated 'There have been suspicions that, apart from Spoor, Mrs. van Mook might be linked in the matter. The suspicion, which is scarcely more than a rumour, is that she was connected with the Dutch Nazi Party'.

Brookes has undoubtedly close contacts with Sjahrir who gives him much information, but it does not appear to have crossed his mind that Sjahrir may be using him for his own purposes.

3. Brookes' telegrams often refer to questions of highest policy.

He has not hesitated, for instance, to reply personally to a question by Sjahrir as to the probable reaction of the outside world if Sjahrir resigned as Premier (see paragraph (f) of Brookes' 102 repeated to you in my immediately preceding telegram). The situation has developed to such a stage that Sjahrir and Brookes are discussing together the possibility of the Indonesian Cabinet appealing to the United Nations through Australia, and it is quite conceivable that such a request may come in the near future.

4. Judge Kirby will shortly be in the area and his presence will be

useful in dealing with the murder of the three Australians. [2] Kirby is not, however, a departmental officer and can scarcely be expected to carry out the multifarious duties which would fall to such an officer. In all the circumstances I strongly recommend that Brookes should be returned to Australia for rest and consultation as soon as possible after Kirby arrives, and that in the meantime arrangements should be made for another officer of the department to go to Batavia. We could possibly send Moodie from Calcutta if you have no one particularly in mind.

1 Cablegram 90, dispatched 24 May.

2 See Document 260.

[AA:A3196, 1946, 0.10653]