198 Massey to Evatt

Dispatch 3 14 8 SINGAPORE, 15 July 1948


[matter omitted]

12...it is clear where Australia's interests lie in the current emergency. Although the eventuality is remote, a Communist success in Malaya and the establishment here of a Communist state would be followed ultimately by a Communist seizure of power in Indonesia.

For if the Dutch succeed in present plans to reduce the Republic to nothing and reimpose their own rule, the moderate Indonesian nationalists, with whom we have worked and hope to work in future, can be expected to disappear. The nationalist movement would then be captured by the Communist Party, and when the Dutch were driven out, as some day they must, 'the iron curtain' would come down in Australia's most immediately neighbouring territory. If I am not misjudging our national interests I feel sure we would need to oppose this, both because it would represent the installation upon our doorstep of a regime fundamentally opposed to our own conceptions of social democracy, and because it would place control of our outer zone of defence in Chinese hands. It is a truism that our interests are bound up with those of the Indonesian nationalists, but it is perhaps less readily appreciated that they are bound up too with the less advanced and less politically conscious Malays of the peninsula. Apart from the immediate danger which it represents to our nationals in Malaya, we must realise that this insurrection offers a long-term threat to our strategic interests, because its success, in the last resort, would prevent the creation of an effective Malay- Indonesian barrier between Australia and Asia.

[AA:A4231/2, 1948 SINGAPORE]