146 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 246 BATAVIA, 24 July 1947, 4.45 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Military Situation.

Reports of detailed advance now announced in Dutch communiques will already be known to you. In the west of Java the main attack [is] on Cheribon in which stiffer resistance has been met half way from the already secured Bandoeng-Soekaboemi area.

In the middle of Java the advance from Semarang has stopped at Salatiga for consolidation.

In East Java Marine brigades landed and took the ports of Banjoewangi, Probolinggo: the latter set on fire in pursuance of the Scorched Earth Policy. Two landing ships stranded at Barjoewangi which may interfere with marine movements.

Medan. Slow progress owing to heavy opposition.

Padang. Action confined, extending perimeter to hills.

Palembang. The offensive seize of oil-fields progresses; some already taken. Seaborne attack on Djambi can be expected later.

Understand the Dutch plan is to pick Marine brigade from East Java to land at Rembang on the North Coast on D-Day plus twenty. This, with brigades from central and West Java will advance on Djokjakarta and the centre. No advance into West Java and Bantam contemplated for the present.

Present reports indicate relatively little Scorched Earth and little resistance of large bodies. This may be evidence of Indonesian intention to resort to guerrilla warfare, in which case real resistance would not begin until the Dutch lines of communication are lengthened.

Present indications are that the Dutch will carry immediate objectives without difficulty and what happens later will depend on the Indonesian will to resist.

[AA:A1838/283, 403/3/1/1, viii]