32 Evatt to Teppema

Letter CANBERRA, 23 January 1948

I wish to refer to your letter of 17th January [1] in which you draw my attention to the settlement recently arrived at in Indonesia and to the present hold-up in the shipment of goods to Indonesia.

It concerns me that, right throughout the negotiations since we raised the matter in the Security Council, and even now that the Committee of Good Offices has been able to effect a settlement, no recognition has been given by you or by your Government to the part we have played, even though it is clear that without our intervention losses of Dutch lives and property would have been far greater. You show your concern for improving Netherlands- Australian relations, but nothing could do more to improve these both in Australia and in the Netherlands than a forthright statement from your Government of appreciation of the work of the Committee of Good Offices and, in particular, of the straight- forward action of the Australian Government in referring the matter to the Security Council and by great expenditure of man- power and money in assisting in a settlement.

At the same time, I am aware that a final settlement is as yet a long way off, and questions of trade and external relations generally are not yet determined. I hope that these questions will soon be resolved. As the present arrangement with the Republic is so satisfactory to the Netherlands, it is our hope that the Netherlands Government, in the interests of a long-term settlement, will act generously with respect to the outstanding problems.

With regard to trade, we are, of course, not only interested in removing any ban, but we are interested also in commencing free flow of trade between Australia and the Netherlands East Indies.

However, as we have always said, the commencement of trade depends upon the settlement in the Netherlands East Indies, and, as yet, questions of trade have not been discussed. As soon as there is an arrangement or understanding on this and related questions, I have no doubt that trade beneficial to both countries will commence.

1 Document 26.

[AA:A1838, 401/3/1/1, v]