48 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K57 BATAVIA, 9 February 1948

SECRET

1. Ever since the Committee of Good Offices came to Java it has been pinpricked by the Dutch who have sought delay by excessive legalisms.

2. It might have been expected that with the truce some of their unnecessary sensitivity would have disappeared. Recent developments, however, in particular the delay in granting permission at the request of the Committee for additional military assistants show that this is not the case.

3. Since I can find no other explanation I suspect that the delay in sanctioning the arrival of additional military assistants is deliberate policy against Australia in particular and that in a few days time the Dutch will claim that the truce having been implemented there is no longer a need for additional military assistants. This would not be the case. As Kirby has explained, even after the implementation of the truce the preservation of neutral zones between the Dutch and the Republicans will be an important task, the more so as I feel sure the Dutch will maintain a war of nerves by continually suggesting possible breakdowns of the truce.

4. Implementation of the truce is going well but is not complete.

I understand that for at least the last three consecutive days the Dutch have been surprised to learn that there were no casualties at all on their side. Under the truce agreement Republican evacuations should have been completed by midnight Saturday.

Communication difficulties have delayed news of the truce in some areas and despite Dutch claims that there were no pockets of resistance the many thousands of Republican troops which are now being evacuated are imposing heavy pressures on transport and quartering facilities. The Republic has consequently been obliged to ask for an extension of the time. No official Netherlands reply has been received but the Committee has been informed orally that there will be no shooting. We had previously obtained an assurance that providing Republican good faith was evident the Netherlands would not oppose extensions.

5. Please pass appropriate section to Kirby.

[AA:A4357/2, 48/254, ii]