435 Burton to Kirby

Cablegram 369 CANBERRA, 25 November 1947


1. Thank you for your telegram K1. [1] I think the idea of the Indonesian plea is very good from two points of view in particular:

(a) Situation described in your paragraph 5 can only be regarded as warfare. When the plea reaches the Committee one of the steps taken in response to it would be to decide that the present economic tactics of the Dutch was a matter within the jurisdiction of the Cease Fire Commission.

(b) I would think too that the plea could open up the way for proposals to recommence trade. For example, the Indonesian-Dutch agreement over Dutch owned goods in Australia [2] could be re-implemented and, if possible, retrospectively, so that trucks already despatched could be used to take food to the Republicans as well as to Indonesians under Dutch control as was originally planned. Glad of your comment on practicability of this.

2. It is important to have discussed [in the] Committee the economic warfare of the Dutch and also the general problem of economic arrangements so that these matters can be included in the report to the Security Council.

3. I would think that Republicans would have nothing to lose by taking initiative in pleading for justice rather than waiting to use same arguments defensively against Dutch claims to support of local populations. Whether or not Republicans act along lines suggested I think Committee should be prepared to report matter back to Security Council.

4. As regards question of Republican undertaking to cease fire and stand fast pending Security Council action on reference to it of cease fire and humanitarian plea, I can understand Republican misgivings at having to give such undertaking, but I do not feel that in practice they can lose much by giving it and in any event the overriding consideration at the present time is to get the substantive discussions going.

5. My own view is that while the fact of the Committee forces the Dutch hand it is probably a mistake to allow events to take their course without keeping on the pressure at other points. The first move before reference to the Security Council might be for us to share our fears with the United States and United Kingdom. Would be glad of your comments.

1 Documents 433 and 434.

2 The Gani-Van Hoogenstraten Agreement of 24 May (see Appendix II).

[AA:A3196, 1947, 0.19744]