322 Department of External Affairs to Landale

Cablegram 121 CANBERRA, 23 November 1948, 3.55 p.m.


Fourth Session E.C.A.F.E. Admission of Indonesian Republican representative.

You will be aware that previous sessions of ECAFE have been marked by long disputes on the question whether Republic should be granted associate membership of the Commission separately from the rest of Indonesia.

We desire if possible to avoid recurrence of this dispute at forthcoming session and so enable Commission to devote its time to its substantive work. In view of delicate stage reported to have been reached in current negotiations between Netherlands and Republican Governments, we have decided to support postponement of Netherlands and Republican applications for Indonesian associate membership rather than risk inviting breakdown in talks through revival of friction between the parties. This decision is entirely without prejudice what we may decide to do at 5th Session in 1949 if there is still no settlement in Indonesia.

At the same time we feel strongly that Republic representation should be given some official standing at forthcoming session. We understand that Republican Government will not be sending a delegation from Djokjakarta but has authorised Dr. Usman to attend in an unspecified capacity. Usman could be admitted under paragraph 3(A)(iv) of Commission Resolution No. 69(v) [1] as a consultant on Indonesian matters. If Netherlands Government were to allow this to happen without raising objection it would, in our view, be making a useful gesture at this critical stage of negotiations with the Republic. Question of jurisdiction over Republic's foreign relations need not be raised, Republic would probably be satisfied, and needless friction and consumption of time on political argument could be avoided.

Please discuss with Netherlands Government, indicating to them the course we propose to take and seeking their co-operation.

1 The clause provided that any of, or part of, Noah Borneo, Brunei and Sarawak, Burma, Ceylon, the Indo-Chinese Federation, Hong Kong, the Malayan Union and Singapore, and the NEI 'may, with the concurrence of the Member responsible for its international relations, be invited by the Commission to participate in a consultative capacity in the consideration of any matter of particular concern to that territory, part or group of territories'.

[AA:A1838, 403/2/3/8]