481 Kimber to Australian Government

Letter CANBERRA, 5 September 1949


We have been asked to let you know for the information of the Australian Government that at an interview with the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on 13th August the Netherlands Foreign Minister told Mr. Bevin that at the conference at The Hague the Indonesians would probably demand Dutch New Guinea.

Dr. Stikker explained that his Government had come to no decision on this matter but, although Indonesians had no claim to Dutch New Guinea, such a demand, if made, would closely affect Australia.

Dr. Stikker also said that there had been discussions amongst Indonesian leaders about claiming British Borneo as part of Indonesia, but he made no comment beyond saying that the matter did not concern the Netherlands Government.

Mr. Bevin said he would draw the attention of the Australian Government to the question of Dutch New Guinea.

In the view of the United Kingdom authorities there is little to be gained by attempting to influence the course of events at the conference so far as New Guinea is concerned. The United Kingdom Ambassador [1] at The Hague, who subsequently reported that the question of Dutch New Guinea may arise at the round table conference, is being informed to this effect and that this view was being communicated to the Australian Government.

As regards British Borneo, the United Kingdom authorities have received no information confirming the report given by Dr. Stikker and they do not intend to take any action in the matter unless it is formally raised.

The United Kingdom Government would be grateful to be informed of the view taken by the Australian Government regarding the position of Dutch New Guinea, and in particular of any action they may contemplate in the present circumstances.

1 Sir Philip Nichols.

[AA : A461/2, R356/1/9]