329 Department of External Affairs to Eaton

Cablegram 266 CANBERRA, 11 September 1947


Evidence is accumulating that Van Mook has been sent to United States to try out United States reaction to further military moves, and that a final decision will be taken at The Hague before Van Mook returns to Batavia. The Dutch, in making their choice between withdrawal and advance, must be aware of the time factor if the decision is to advance. Physically, movement will be impossible as soon as the rainy season sets in, but, perhaps more important, there is building up, as a result of Consular observance of the 'cease fire' and the appointment of the Committee of Three, a political situation in which it is even more difficult to justify military action.

2. However, there is little doubt that, as previously, the Dutch will cling to any expressions of views which are not positively discouraging, and we fear that, encouraged by United States and United Kingdom voting at the Security Council, they may he led to think that further military action would not necessarily be followed in the Security Council by the imposition of effective sanctions on the Netherlands East Indies and on Holland itself.

3. We have done what we can in United Kingdom and the United States to warn of this danger, but such a warning would best come from the representatives of these and other countries at Batavia.

You might take opportunity, therefore, in discussions with Consular group to emphasise the need for maintaining the 'cease fire' position and, if possible, meanwhile arrange for troop withdrawals at least until the Committee of Three meets and makes some firm recommendations. You should drop the hint that this considered view, if agreed upon by all, should be communicated back to their Government and from their Governments to the Dutch, so that there will be no doubt in their mind that, in the view of the Consular group, there is no justification in the present situation for further military action.

4. While your main duty is to observe the 'cease fire' order, you are also acting as Consul-General and have, therefore, a duty to report on these broader issues, and for this purpose you should seek the co-operation as far as possible of your military assistants who will agree with us that, whatever the merits of the case, in Australian interests everything possible must be done to avoid long term fighting in Indonesia.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, i]