319 Burton to Teppema

Letter CANBERRA, 8 September 1947

Thank you for your letter of 6th September. [1] I wish to inform you that I have conveyed to Dr. Evatt the messages you asked to be sent.

I fully appreciate and reciprocate your desire for an early improvement in Australian-Dutch relations. However, those relations will not be improved by constant accusations that the Australian Government or Australian officials are acting in ways which prejudice our relations. You will recall that once before you had occasion to complain to the Prime Minister of certain statements allegedly made by Colonel Hodgson. [2] On obtaining the full text of Colonel Hodgson's remarks, which are on record in the minutes of the Security Council, it was shown that there was no basis for the charges made against him. In other words, it was not the statement made which was prejudicing our relations, but a misinterpretation of the facts. In the same way, your references to 'impetuous attitude of the Australian representative at the Security Council' and 'the somewhat tactless approach of Mr.

Eaton' are not such as will improve our relations. Neither officer has acted in any way without careful instructions, and any action they have taken they have taken as representatives of the Government. The policy of the Government has been throughout, as I have on several occasions indicated verbally, to do everything possible to assist a peaceful settlement in Indonesia, and the methods which have been adopted have been such as could reasonably have won the whole-hearted support of the Dutch authorities. It is a matter of great regret to us that there has not been the support and, as a consequence, there have been unnecessary delays in achieving our common objectives.

1 Document 313.

2 See Document 265.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/1/1, iv]