341 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K294 BATAVIA, 6 April 1949, 3.30 p.m.

CONFIDENTIAL

Your telegram 63. [1]

The Netherlands policy has always been to use economic controls for political purposes and there is little doubt that most territories not under Dutch control are denied commercial intercourse and lack such essentials as medicine and clothing.

Except in North Sumatra, only a far reaching political agreement could be effective in dealing with the problem which is complicated by the military situation and the Netherlands insistence that they control all areas. In many respects the problem is one of relief supplies rather than trade.

2. In the case of Atjeh, there is an immediate trade problem capable of solution and best understood by the Republican Office at Singapore. The Republicans at Batavia, who have few facts, are making further enquiries.

3. Although the position is obscure, the Commission has a responsibility for the economic well-being of the Republican areas and I shall endeavour to have the blockade considered in the preliminary discussions which should begin about the middle of next week. I have little confidence, however, in the Dutch intentions towards the conference.

1 Document 332.

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