50 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 124 BATAVIA, 9 May 1947, 5.15 p.m.


We saw Sjahrir this morning and had a general discussion on the shipping ban.

2. His first observation was that he was now 'very cautious' in this matter which turned out to mean that he did not think it proper for the Republican Government to make a direct request to the Unions to lift the ban. We confirmed that it should be done through the Australian Government.

3. He referred to earlier Dutch proposal for a joint statement [1] and said that he had heard nothing of it for about a month. Gani had not yet discussed our compromise proposals [2] with him and these were then reviewed.

4. Mention of purchases Dutch intend in Australia led him to remark that these included a considerable number of trucks. The Republic wanted some of these, but trucks were among 'contraband' goods which the Dutch would not allow to be unloaded at Republican ports at present. He said that if his Government moved for a lifting of the ban, his people in the interior would want to see some concrete advantage following it and the certainty of receiving their share of these goods would be sufficient.

5. In reply to a direct enquiry he said that this one matter could be isolated from their other economic differences with the Dutch.

6. In view of Van Hoogstraten's previous statements (my telegram 123 [3], paragraph one) this offers some hope. We are hopeful of getting a joint informal discussion with both Gani and Van Hoogstraten on the matter.

1 See Document 21.

2 See Document 46.

3 Document 49.

[AA:A1838/278, 401/1/3/2, ii]