59 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 140 BATAVIA, 17 May 1947, 8 p.m.

MOST IMMEDIATE SECRET

This afternoon Saturday Van Hoogstraten informed Forsyth that he had received instructions from The Hague not to agree on message or conditions concerning the ban until after the Trades Union Conference at Malang and until after details of the allocation of goods had been completed.

2. You will have seen the press reports on Campbell's statement at Malang on Friday that Australian Trade Unions had decided not to lift the ban but on the contrary plans for a world wide ban on Dutch shipping are being formulated by the Australian Unions. [1]

3. Forsyth twice reminded Van Hoogstraten that Trade Union settlement of the ban question would be most unfortunate from the Australian Government standpoint but Van Hoogstraten said he had no option under the instructions above, and could not not take any further action until the Malang Conference ended.

4. Later Gani said there had been no progress in the question of agreement concerning the ban and that it would be taken up again on Monday. He did not appear to know of Van Hoogstraten's new position.

5. We have arranged to see Gani tomorrow and had already after receiving the news in paragraph two above asked for an interview with Sjahrir which we expect will take place tonight.

1 Campbell's statement was in fact made on Thursday, 15 May. On 16 May, the President of the Australasian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), P. J. Clarey, denied knowledge of any plan for a world- wide ban on Dutch shipping and stated that Campbell had no authority to speak on behalf of Australian trade unions.

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