320 Department of External Affairs to Netherlands Legation

Note CANBERRA, 8 September 1947

The Department of External Affairs presents its compliments to the Royal Netherlands Legation and, in acknowledging receipt of the Legation's Note (C.15/4351) concerning the reported activities in Melbourne of Dr. Raden Usman Sastroamidjojo [1], has the honour to inform the Legation that, in this as in other matters, the Australian Government would be pleased to exercise its benevolent influence in a manner designed to promote good relations between the peoples of the Netherlands and Indonesia. The Department is not aware, however, of any of the objectionable activities referred to. The fact of speaking is not in itself objectionable, and what was reported to have been said appears not to be objectionable. [2] The Department points out, however, that it is difficult to impose restraints on Dr. Usman or any other Indonesian in the face of public charges made by Dutch authorities, for instance, those reported in to-day's press as being made by Dr. van Mook. [3] In our view it would be proper that no such statements of this nature should be made from either side pending the findings of the Committee of Three.

1 Dated 2 September, the note directed the attention of the Department of External Affairs to a press report that Usman would address the triennial conference of the ACTU in Melbourne. In continuation of its earlier representations (see Document 300), the Legation requested the Australian Government to exercise its influence to limit Usman's activities.

2 No record of any statement by Usman at the ACTU conference has been located. On 5 September, the conference called for the withdrawal of Dutch troops from Indonesia and for the World Federation of Trade Unions to take control of the transport of goods to the NEI.

3 In a Radio Hilversum broadcast addressed to the American people on 5 September, Van Mook condemned the Republic of Indonesia as the principal cause of corruption, violence and chaos which had threatened to make Indonesia 'one of the most rotten spots in the world'. According to Van Mook, international investigation would show that 'make believe' was the only remaining strength of the Republic and that the Dutch 'police action' had been 'a necessary cleaning up measure'.

[AA:A1838/283, 401/3/10/7, i]