323 Noel-Baker to Australian Government

Cablegram 295 LONDON, 23 November 1948, 10.50 p.m.

IMMEDIATE SECRET

Your telegram of 23rd November No.303, repeated External Wellington No.219. [1] Fourth Session ECAFE. Associate Membership for the Indonesian Republic. We agree with you that it is desirable if possible to avoid a recurrence of a political dispute in the commission on this issue. As the work of the commission is primarily economic we would favour a solution which would mean that the commission could carry out its economic functions as far as possible without interruption. We also agree with you that in the light of the possibility of a general settlement of the constitutional issues under negotiation between the Netherlands and the Republic, a revival of friction on this issue would be unfortunate.

2. If therefore a compromise solution satisfactory to all parties does not prove possible if the postponement were to provide an alternative acceptable to the interested parties and to the commission as a whole we would support a proposal on those lines.

We consider in any event that there would be much to be said for postponing consideration of this item at least until later in the session to give the commission more time to consider it and to continue its constructive work.

3. With regard to the proposal made in the last paragraph of your telegram under reference [2], at first sight we wonder whether such a gesture would be constitutionally permissible and whether it would really serve the purpose for which it was intended.

Perhaps this could be discussed more fully by our Delegates at Lapstone when we have had time to consider it further. We would therefore like for the time being to reserve our position on this but if there are any significant developments between now and the beginning of the session we will of course discuss with you further.

1 Dispatched on 23 November, it conveyed the substance of Document 322.

2 The last paragraph of Cablegram 303 raised the possibilities of admitting the Republic's representative to ECAFE as a consultant on Indonesian matters or of reviving an Indian proposal made at the second session of ECAFE in Baguio to admit the Republic of Indonesia's representative as an observer without the right to speak or vote.

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