3 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram K33 BATAVIA, 2 January 1948, 5.20 p.m.


At the moment all activities on other matters are suspended whilst the committee is having a frenzied drive to have a truce agreement plebiscite [1] on Monday and a simultaneous publication of the agreement on matters of political principles as a starting point for continued political discussion.

2. The bargain contemplated in both spheres is a poor one for the Republic but I am doing the best I can in the circumstances. The position is far too vague and complicated at present to send further details but I will do so as soon as possible.

3. A meeting at the Palace last night convinced me that the above is only thing that will prevent or postpone Police action.

4. I made a determined effort to persuade the Prime Minister Beel to go down to Australia immediately but seemed to fail completely.

[2] To my surprise, I was this morning asked by Van Vredenburch, the real reason for Australia's desire for his visit. I think I might get him straight down if you cable back a convincing reason.

It is only a chance but a real chance.

5. If Prime Minister Beel's visit is urgently desired, would you cable me back this information by immediate return together with whatever is appropriate form of invitation on the appropriate level. Beel's present plan is to return to Holland on Monday.

6. The Dutch told me that they were upset by some publication of invitation in Australia and statement that no reply had been received.

7. Could I have urgent reply in any case?

1 This should presumably read: 'published'. Proposals for a truce agreement and an agreement on political principles were published by the Committee of Good Offices on 6 January.

2 On 16 December 1947 Evatt had asked both Eaton and officer to convey an invitation to the Netherlands Prime Minister to visit Australia. Beel arrived in Batavia on 17 December for political discussions. See Volume XI, Documents 469, 477 and 493.

[AA:A1838, 403/3/1/1, xiv]