58 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 134 BATAVIA, 15 May 1947, 12.25 p.m.


Your telegram 110. [1]

We had already discussed Roach and Healy informally with the Indonesian Foreign Office and secured that they would be informally requested by Sjahrir not to make any statements which might prejudice the successful outcome of our talks on lifting the waterside ban. They arrived yesterday Wednesday and paid a courtesy call to the Consulate. They had already seen Van Hoogstraten and had a general idea of the purpose and positions of our talks. They gave us to understand that when an agreement acceptable to the Indonesians is arrived at there will be no difficulty in lifting the ban. Out impression was that they would be glad to be done with it. Oesman informs us that they subsequently had a talk with Sjahrir, at which Oesman was present and in the course of which Sjahrir's wish that there should be no embarrassing statements was made clear, and Roach and Healy agreed to avoid such statements.

2. The only danger is that Roach and Healy or their associates might either in anticipation of conclusion of the agreement or immediately on its conclusion make some statement designed to give the Waterside Union the credit for cessation of the ban. Sjahrir already understands the undesirability of this, and we are taking steps to secure that the Australian Government will receive first information of the Dutch-Indonesian Agreement and joint message immediately agreement is signed. It would be as well, however, for you to prepare the Australian press with background information of our talks for release when the Dutch-Indonesian Agreement on goods in Australia is over. Latest information is that conclusion of the agreement is expected about Friday.

3. For clarification requested in your paragraph 2 see my immediately following telegram. [2]

1 Dispatched on 13 May, it referred to press reports announcing the arrival of Roach and Healy in Java and directed Ballard's attention to previous cablegrams which had indicated the dangers to be avoided (see Documents 43 and 51).

2 Paragraph 2 of cablegram 110 sought clarification of several aspects of the Dutch-Indonesian trade negotiations. Dispatched on 15 May, cablegram 135 from Ballard provided the request clarification, adding that the Australian mission had concentrated on the question on the shipping ban. It was the mission's considered conclusion, Ballard advised, that settlement of that problem was all that was possible for the moment.

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