376 Department of External Affairs to Eaton

Cablegram 300 CANBERRA, 14 October 1947


Moore has handed us copy of the draft [report] [1] and has indicated that, while draft in the form in which we have it was agreed to by the Committee, signing still remains, and that the French Consul has meanwhile indicated that he may wish to make amendments.

2. There can be no objection to purely verbal amendments, but this would seem unnecessary at this stage. You should not, however, agree to amendments in substance, as the report as it now stands has previously been agreed to by all members of the Committee.

3. We understand from Moore that French Consul has hinted that he would sign present draft, if he had some undertaking regarding our attitude on French Indo-China. We had already informed the French Minister, who approached the Government regarding the French Indo- China situation, that we were disappointed to learn of the changed attitude of the French Consul at Batavia [2], and that, if the French Consul persisted in seeking amendments of the Indonesian report merely from the point of view of placing France in a better position regarding French Indo-China, consideration by Australia of the French Indo-China situation would be greatly prejudiced.

Far from allowing the French Consul to make a bargain of this nature, therefore, you should make it clear that you expect him to keep to his original views, as otherwise he cannot expect an equally objective consideration of French Indo-China by us. In any event, he should surely be made to appreciate that it is incongruous for him to be taking this line now after he has signed his original reports.

4. It is left entirely to your discretion as to whether you consider you should add a minority report, but our view is that there is no advantage in this from the point of view of consideration by the United Nations. You should communicate to us your own views on the Joint Report for the information of our representatives at New York. You may, of course, be able to use your willingness to drop the idea of a minority report in persuading the French to drop the idea of amending the present report.

5. You should remain at Batavia until the Committee of Three arrive. We will keep you informed of their moves.

6. Please see Gani and explain to him the nature of the Committee of Three. Oesman is, we understand, reporting to Gani on this matter and clearly does not understand the position. We regard the three members of the Committee as being in the capacity of Conciliation Commissioners and therefore not under the instructions of their governments. Kirby will be fully aware of all the information we are able to supply him, and it was to inform him that we asked Gani previously for Indonesian views.

Kirby in no sense represents the Australian Government, and in no sense acts on behalf of the Indonesians any more than the Belgians will represent Dutch interests. Any information or views which Gani or others might wish to convey to us can be sent through you and Kirby will be informed.

7. Please cable if there are any supplies of any description which should be sent with Committee of Three.

8. While arrangements are not our concern, no doubt Committee will appreciate any help we can give them. Committee and staff will number approximately eighteen. Mrs. Kirby will also be travelling.

1 The text reads 'agreement'.

2 Eaton had reported on 10 October that completion of the report was being complicated by the French Consul-General who was 'obviously acting under recent instructions which have as background submission to U.N.O. of French Indo-China case'.

According to press reports from Saigon at this time, the Provisional Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam had requested India and Australia to refer the situation in French Indo-China to the Security Council. No such request was received by the Australian Government.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/13/1]