135 Teppema to Chifley

Letter SYDNEY, 19 May 1948


I hear that the question of lifting the ban will be raised at the meeting of the Federal Unions' Conference in Melbourne on Tuesday, 25th of May, 1948, at which, I understand, Mr Healy will be present.

In connection with our discussion of last week [1] I feel, that if you were to give Mr Healy the word to go ahead now, we may get rid of the boycott. I honestly believe, that if your desire to end the present situation is stressed, your efforts will be entirely successful.

I would have hesitated to write to you again but for the fact that the matter is too important and urgent to let the occasion go by to reach a satisfactory solution this time. [2]

1 See Document 129 2 In a telegram to Boetzalaer on 22 May, Teppema reported a conversation with Chifley held on 21 May. According to this account, Chifley told Teppema that he had conferred with union leaders in Melbourne and Hobart since his discussion with Teppema on 11 May (see note 1 to Document 129) and that Kirby had talked to the unions in Queensland. Teppema recorded that Chifley said:

'Perhaps there was a reason for [the boycott] once but it is a bloody stupid thing now'. Teppema reported that Chifley then took a piece of paper containing six telephone numbers from his desk and declared: 'You know what they are? They are the principal Union leaders and I am going to talk to these "blokes" on the phone this evening and tell them to finish with the bloody business. 'Teppema replied that, with the ending of the boycott, a solution would be found to other problems still pending between Australia and the Netherlands, given mutual good will. Chifley warned Teppema that 'it will have to be mutual because if some of our fellows are tough so are your people.' See Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatien, Officiele Bescheide De Nederlands- Indonesche Betrekkingen 1945-1950, 1948, Vol. XIII, The Hague, 1986, PP.717-18.

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