281 Forde to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 74 OTTAWA, 5 March 1949, 3.04 p.m.



My telegram 56. [1]

Have been unable discuss matter with Pearson who has been in Western Ontario for some days, and will not return to Ottawa until Monday March 7th. In view of urgency I have seen Reid, Acting Under Secretary for External Affairs, handed him aide memoire outlining views given in your telegram and verbally stressed following points- (1) Essential Security Council should not sidestep responsibility to follow up its decisions, (2) Dutch were clearly playing their old game of failing to comply with United Nations' instructions in the hope of presenting United Nations with fait accompli, (3) Dutch Cabinet change had not been followed by any change of heart, possibility of which Canadians had suggested (see my telegram 56), (4) Situation had now clarified to point at which it was more than ever obvious nothing could be gained by continued softness towards Dutch.

Reid said that while Government policy was not yet formally defined, thinking on official level was as follows:-

(1) It must be admitted Dutch offer did not cover unconditional release of prisoners and re-establishment of Republican Government as required by January 28th resolution [2] but Canadians hoped it might be possible to use Dutch proposal as basis for negotiation in the hope of securing modification of Dutch attitude.

(2) He said Dutch had invited Soekarno in capacity of President of Republican Government and had also invited Chairman of Commission, and that in these circumstances, while the Canadians stood behind January 28th resolution for which they had voted, they did not think Dutch proposals should necessarily be treated from the beginning as attempt to evade resolution.

In defending this attitude Reid claimed Canadian objective was not different from our own but expressed view that Hague Conference on basis Dutch proposal might form most practical road to further progress. He reiterated earlier Canadian line that there should be a high degree of consistency in Security Council treatment of offending nations and that in view of attitude previously taken in cases, such as Balkan States and Israel, literal execution of Security Council instructions could scarcely be exacted from Netherlands. He thought Canadian attitude embodied reasonable degree of flexibility.

Although Canadians find it hard to justify their compromising policy, I fear there is little hope of substantial change since policy is based on considerations remote from merits of Indonesia issue (see my previous telegrams and despatches). [3]

1 Document 222.

2 Document 168.

3 See Document 206 and notes 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7 thereto.

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