354 Sjarifuddin to Chifley

Letter DJOKJAKARTA, 26 September 1947

It is with great pleasure that I received the news of Mr. Kirby being appointed by your Government as Australia's representative to the Three Power Commission. I am convinced that a good understanding of the Indonesian problems will serve Mr. Kirby a great deal in representing the Republican point of view in the coming negotiations as well as in finding a sound base of close cooperation between the Governments of both our countries.

In view of present and future relations between the Commonwealth of Australia and the Indonesian Republic I would like to request your attention for certain points which might be of essential importance for you. I believe that in this all [sh]ould be done to achieve practical ways of cooperation so as to serve the urgent interests of both our countries in facing common developments.

It should be well known to you from our reports as well as from those of the consular representatives of Australia in Indonesia, that the present situation is highly untenable, both militarily and politically. It will also appear from the consular report on the observance of the cease fire order that no practical solution can be found so long as there is no real demarcation line which could enable the troops from both sides to cease fire and stand fast.

This could be easily understood by reading the military report which the Republican Government has submitted to the Consular Commission.

It is most essential [to understand] that Dr. van Mook's statement [1] of fixing a 'demarcation line' one sidedly (August 29, 1947) has increased hostilities on both sides. You may understand that the Republican Government cannot accept any 'new boundary' whatsoever without its consent. Consequently, the general political and economic situation, especially in the occupied areas, is aggravating constantly. Hostilities from the part of the Dutch have been extended to destructive actions against the Republican civil administration, the Republican police forces, public services and other institutions in occupied territories which the Dutch claim to be their territory. In addition the naval blockade of the Dutch is hampering any trade with other countries while at the same time preventing productive forces in the Republic from creating new means of existence. Early in September 1, 1947 the Republican Government issued a statement denying the Dutch right to exercise civil or military authority in the areas lying within the 'Van Mook line'.

According to our opinion the only solution should first be found in a political settlement of the conflict, following the withdrawal of the Dutch troops to the demarcation line of October 14th, 1946, or, at least to the position before the outbreak of hostilities on July 21, 1947.

I would like to emphasize that in the near future firm and solid relations, with the Commonwealth of Australia should be achieved.

The Republican Government has always been of the opinion that such relation could only benefit both our countries and thereby contribute definitely to the efforts of stabilizing the economic and strategic position of this part of South East Asia. Any relation of that kind can only be based on the recognition of a free and independent Indonesia, granting the population the essential human rights and admitting foreign capital invest[ment]s, thus securing a minimum amount of peace and stability.

This, of course, should be seen as a part of a broader scheme in which the countries of South East Asia and the South Western Pacific could achieve political and economic stabilisation and oppose any kind of expansionism. I am convinced that the Republic by virtue of its agricultural and mineral wealth can certainly constitute a positive factor. Exchange of goods between Australia and Indonesia might [prove] quite advantageous, also in view of the relatively short communications.

But to establish the abovementioned relations it is essential that the political prerequisites should be fulfilled. The Republican Government has nominated Australia as its representative to the Three Power Commission in the firm belie[f] and conviction that a close understanding between both our Governments can be achieved.

I would suggest your Government to consider the early possibility of preparing a concrete form of cooperation, in particular on the field of trade and cultural exchange. Such an agreement would not harm our relations with other countries, even with the Netherlands, on the contrary, it would open all kind of possibilities on the basis of a good neighbour policy in South East Asia.

I would also suggest you to appoint an Australian representative to come to Jogjakarta and discuss all kind of matters with the Republican Government.

I hope that the coming weeks will prove a solid partnership of both our countries. [2]

1 See Document 316, note 2.

2 In a reply dated 20 October, Chifley thanked Sjarifuddin for his letter and expressed the hope that the activity of the Committee of Three would bring about a just and peaceful settlement.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/3/10/1, ii]