433 Department of External Affairs to Hodgson

Cablegram P289 CANBERRA, 23 December 1948, 11 a.m.

IMMEDIATE CONFIDENTIAL

The Netherlands Military Command has unilaterally and without reference to the Committee ordered all military observers in the Netherlands-controlled territory to proceed to Batavia. The Dutch Headquarters today informed Senior Military Assistants that this was done on Beel's instructions.

This is possibly reaction to our statement that we would ask Council to instruct military observers to interview prisoners and ensure no reprisals or executions. [1] Also it is obviously part of strict censorship and means of preventing facts of the situation being reported to governments through their representatives. There can be no harm in making both points in Council.

This defiant attitude should not intimidate Council but points to the need of determined enforcement both by Council and by United States in respect of Marshall Aid to Netherlands itself Please consult United States Delegation and Government and ascertain their intentions as to keeping advisers and also Committee of Good Offices representatives at Batavia. Clearly they can be of little use if they are to be confined to Batavia where the only information available is official communiques.

1 See Document 413.

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