415 Burton to Makin [1]

Cablegram 1017 CANBERRA, 21 December 1948, 5.20 p.m.


Your 1290. [2]

Conversation you refer to took place ten days before present police action and at a time when advices were being received through you that State Department did not consider risk of police action as being serious. Conversation was in relation to Lapstone vote and in an endeavour to persuade Cowen not to take what we regarded as a disastrous step, that is voting with the Dutch.

While Lovett might resent my comments, it is a great pity that our advice that the Lapstone vote would be interpreted as a green light to the Dutch was not heeded. As you know, back in October we sent through Cowen a long statement of our views [3] and fears on Indonesia seeking United States comment. We received none and you recently reported that they assumed no comment was necessary as Critchley was in contact with Cochran. The fact is we have been giving persistent warnings and urging United States pressure, but it is only recently that any pressure has been exerted and, even then, not in any determinate way.

2. You might explain to Lovett the context of my conversation with Cowen. At the same time, you might assure him, in answer to your paragraph 4 of 1288 [4], that we have no intention at Paris of suggesting United States responsibility but wish to co-operate very closely with United States in the strong belief that the fundamental European conflict can be won or lost in this area without far closer co-operation and consultation between U.S.A.

and Australia than has been the case up to date.

3. As Lovett will know, I am seeing Poster daily in Cowen's absence and he will no doubt report our desire to co-operate closely with the United States, our pleasure at the United States' prompt action and invitation to us to be associated with it, but, at the same time, our concern that not only in relation to Indonesia but South-East Asia matters generally there is not a far greater exchange of information than has been up to the present.

1 Addressed to Makin only.

2 Document 411.

3 No record of this statement has been found but see Document 277.

4 Document 403.

[AA:A1838, 854/10/4/3, i]