328 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 1091 CANBERRA, 11 September 1947, 6.50 p.m.


Press Reports state that Van Mook saw Secretary of State yesterday [1] and that in a press conference later he stated United Nations intervention had done little more than to delay a proper solution, that the communist party in Indonesia had means of communication with the outside world and that the bulk of the people were not hostile to the Dutch etc.

2. It would seem to us that the Dutch are at the moment endeavouring to ascertain what support they would obtain from the United States if they went ahead with complete military occupation of Indonesia and suppressed the independent Republican movement.

3. From an Australian point of view nothing could be more serious.

It is agreed by all observers that the Republican movement is firmly founded and Eaton reports enthusiastic support not only at Djokjakarta but also in Dutch occupied area. The Dutch have throughout chosen to ignore the fact of the strength of this movement and an attempt to suppress it will lead to strife over many years with serious repercussions in Australia.

4. Eaton who has been in the interior confirms other reports that the independent movement is not in any way sponsored from outside, is not communist-led and that conditions in the Indonesian areas are not as described by the Dutch. There is a measure of law and order which could be greatly improved if opportunity were given.

5. Without however going into further details on the merits of the case you should remind the Secretary of State that Van Mook can give only one side of the picture, that the Dutch have not been in Indonesian territory, that other observers have been there, that the Dutch attempt to justify their previous military action and future military action by asserting Indonesians are an irresponsible people should be regarded only as evidence of one interested party. The facts on Indonesia are little by little coming to public knowledge and the more they do so the less clear cut the issues will appear to be and it would be most unwise for the United States or any other Government to encourage the Dutch into believing that further military action would be condoned and that the United Nations could be prevented from demanding the imposition of whatever sanctions might in its view appear to be required to restrain either party which breaks its 'cease fire' order.

1 Van Mook's meeting with Marshall took place in fact on 8 September.

[AA:A3300/2, 441]