452 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 568 WASHINGTON, 30 June 1949, 6.44 p.m.


Your 355. [1]


The AMBASSADOR to-day interviewed Butterworth and conveyed the views expressed in your telegram.

Butterworth was sympathetic and agreed that it was necessary that United Nations Commission should not be a mere onlooker. He said that the Department was inclined to leave to Cochran the decision as to the line the United States would take on the nature of participation of the United Nations Commission in The Hague Conference. He felt that some active participation was desirable and that it might be in providing the Chairman of the Steering Committee. The decision would have to be made later in the light of all the circumstances including the fact that the Conference at The Hague was a face-saving device for the Dutch and it would be necessary to consider and make allowances for Dutch public opinion. He agreed to convey our views to Cochran.

Butterworth emphasised that the holding of the Conference at The Hague had good and bad features. One good feature was that Representatives of many Foreign Governments were present at The Hague and would follow closely the proceedings and no doubt exert an influence. With regard to the role of the Commission, he expressed the view that the United States and Australia differed slightly, insofar as we tended to support the role of arbitration and they to support the role as Good Offices Committee. He felt that the decisions if they were to last should be the result of free negotiations between the Parties and not in any way pressed upon them by Third Parties.

Discussing the matter generally, Butterworth expressed some doubts as to whether the Indonesians would succeed in calling off all of the guerilla activity. He thought there was still a slight risk that the Dutch might use this as a pretext for stalling. He felt hopeful of an overall agreement from the Conference. He did not think that this would be the end of the Indonesian problem as he was not confident that disintegration might not be ultimate outcome. He drew comparison with the Philippines and its current difficulties despite the long preparation for independence and the introduction of considerable American capital.

1 Document 451.

[AA : A1838, 401/3/1/1, vi]