188 Department of External Affairs to Australian Delegation, United Nations

Cablegram 293 CANBERRA, 22 June 1948, 6 p.m.


Your UN549. [1] Indonesia.

Critchley reports from Batavia that United States Delegation, 'to its great regret' has received precise instructions from State Department that United States-Australia Working Paper is not to be submitted to the Security Council. Inference is that United States has decided to go slow on Indonesia for the present possibly out of deference to Netherlands Government's anxiety regarding its election prospects. It therefore seems unlikely that Good Offices Committee's reply to Security Council request for report on breakdown of negotiations will provide very much material for bringing pressure to bear on the Dutch. Position is further affected by the fact that the Dutch have agreed to continue negotiations.

2. When Security Council discussion is resumed on Wednesday, you will necessarily have to be guided to some extent by circumstances. Nevertheless, since the general nature of the United States-Australian plan has now become public, there seems no reason why it should not be discussed in the Council. We have now received full text of the plan, an outline of which is contained in our immediately following telegram. [2] Full text is being sent airmail. (Understand State Department will by now have received it by cable from Batavia). After studying it carefully, we consider that, while some points are no doubt unacceptable to the Dutch in their present form, the plan as a whole contains little that is at variance with the professed objectives of both parties and could provide a sound basis for settlement.

3. In making these points to the Council, you should emphasise that six months have now passed since the signing of the Renville Agreement, that a settlement is still not in sight, that the Republican Government has accepted the Working Paper in principle as a basis for discussion, and that the Netherlands authorities for their part, while rejecting the Working Paper outright, have at no time put forward a comprehensive plan of their own. The onus accordingly rests with the Netherlands to reveal its plans to give effect to its undertaking to set up a sovereign Indonesia within a reasonable period of time and on a basis of full justice to the Republic.

4. It is probable that there will now be increasing pressure to adjourn discussion of Indonesia indefinitely. This should be strongly resisted; the Council should keep the situation under constant surveillance during next few weeks which may be crucial.

Understand Committee's Third Interim Report [3] will be available to the Council shortly.

1 Document 185.

2 Dispatched on 23 June, Cablegram 297 conveyed a summary of Document 173.

3 See note 5 to Document 184.

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