20 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 62 BATAVIA, 29 March 1947, 5.45 p.m.


Your telegrams 38 [1] and 45. [2]

1. Sjahrir has not been available until today.

2. Representation. Sjahrir considered that Australian representation with the Republic would be most effectively carried out by a representative living at Djokjakarta. His functions would be diplomatic but his description should be what he called 'neutral', e.g. Commissioner. The Republic would like to send an Indonesian to perform similar functions in Australia, replacing Campbell. He added that he was asking Campbell to come over here soon for consultations.

3. I asked whether any other countries had made similar moves. He said Munim (see my telegram 49 [3]) was here on a special mission, as much to convey the good wishes of the Arabian League as to represent the Egyptian Government and would shortly return to report. He expected an approach from some Arabian States such as the Hedjaz, which formerly made a lot out of pilgrim traffic from Java. He was in touch with Nehru and expected formal relations with India; meanwhile, Indian officials over here on the 'Rice for India' transaction, were in effect performing diplomatic functions. China had tentatively discussed the matter some time ago but nothing had happened for 3 or 4 months.

4. At Linggardjati part of the official correspondence between the delegations had dealt with representation abroad. The Dutch had proposed the appointment of Indonesian personnel to serve at some of their missions, e.g., in India, the Philippines, Arabia and so on. The Indonesian reply had been that they would be pleased to help with Indonesian personnel in that way but in that event they would require that such personnel should be also able to represent the Republic directly.

5. He added that he would like to visit Australia 'even more than India'. He felt that Australia was very close in all ways. I said that I would tell you of this.

6. I referred to the reports that the Dutch were proposing to establish a delegation or agency at Djokjakarta. He said that, at present, the Dutch wanted to send a delegation there to look around but, no doubt, they would later have liaison officers there.

7. Trade Commissioner. They thought that the Trade Commissioner should come to Batavia and that separate negotiations with the Dutch in respect of his work with them, were desirable in the course of which it would be made plain that he would also be dealing directly with the Republic Authorities and trade.

8. Bipartite discussions are now proceeding to clarify the economic and export position generally and to future on disappearance of the Dutch economic 'blockade' regulations [4] in particular. (See my letter B.13, 30th January.) Until some progress is made in these discussions, I cannot give a precise answer to paragraph 3 of your telegram 45 but shall report as soon as possible. When I asked Sjahrir how likely he thought a satisfactory solution was, he laughed and said that if that fails the whole of Linggardjati would fall to the ground.

9. Report on the Dutch views on Trade Commissioner follows as soon as possible.

10. Discussions are also proceeding for establishment of organisation of joint secretariat contemplated by Article 17 of the Agreement.

1 Document 15.

2 Dispatched on 27 March, cablegram 45 sought an early reply to Document 15, raised the question of the appointment of an Australian Trade Commissioner in the NEI, and inquired as to the prospects of the Dutch and Indonesians arriving at an agreement which would permit Australia to trade with the Republic of Indonesia without submitting to exclusively Dutch controls.

3 Dispatched on 21 March, it reported that a Consul-General for Egypt accredited to the Republic of Indonesia, Abdul Munim, was visiting Djokjakarta. The individual concerned was Mohammed Abdul Menem, Consul-General for Egypt at Bombay.

4 The regulations, proclaimed on 28 January, prohibited the export of all goods from and the movement of certain goods within the NEI without a permit from the Dutch authorities. The purpose was to prohibit the export by the Republic of commodities produced on seized Dutch estates and the import into Republican territory of goods which could be used for military purposes.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/10/1, ii]