265 Chifley to Teppema

Letter CANBERRA, 9 August 1947

During your informal discussions with me you referred to two statements which Colonel Hodgson had been reported to have made at New York.

I understand that you raised these matters with the Secretary of the Department of External Affairs and, as a result of enquiries he then made, I am now able to give you the correct facts.

Colonel Hodgson at no time used the expression 'sovereign' state.

His argument was that the hostilities constituted 'conflict between two states in international law'. He expressly pointed out that a state did not have to be completely sovereign in order to be a party in warfare.

Colonel Hodgson states that he has never said that the Dutch had 'deliberately' held up the message to the Republican authorities from the Secretary-General of the United Nations. He did use the expression 'the communication was held up by the Dutch authorities', which was a fact reported from our representative at Batavia [1] and later confirmed by the direct communication from the Republican Government to the Security Council. [2] Colonel Hodgson points out, however, that this phrase should be understood in its context. He was demonstrating the inadequate way in which the communication was sent to the Republican Government. He queried the whole handling of the communication, including the measures taken by the Secretariat. He made it clear, in answer to a complaint by M. van Kleffens [3], that his only motive in drawing attention to the delay was to emphasise the dislocation in communications and the difficulties which both parties might find in complying immediately with the call for cessation of hostilities.

I am quite sure, from the very full reports which have been received from Colonel Hodgson at New York, that, throughout all these discussions, he has maintained a completely impartial attitude and has made no statements likely to prejudice consideration of the issues involved.

1 See Document 233.

2See Document 240.

3 See Document 263, note 3.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, ii]