489 Chifley to Williams

Letter BATAVIA, 16 September 1949


I desire to refer to your 2/173 [1] of 5th September, 1949, on the subject of negotiations about Dutch New Guinea at the round table conference between the Dutch and the Indonesians at The Hague.

This subject has received consideration and it is desired to advise that Australian policy in this matter is not to attempt actively to influence any negotiations at The Hague on the future control of Dutch New Guinea. The Commonwealth considers that this must be left to the Dutch and the Indonesians to work out among themselves. It is our hope that the present status of Dutch New Guinea would be left undisturbed at least for the time being. [2]

1 Document 481.

2 In a Conversation with Teppema, reported by the latter on 1 September, Burton expressed surprise that the Netherlands Government had not made it clear at the Round Table Conference that West New Guinea did not belong to Indonesia. He said that Australia and other countries participating in the South Pacific Commission assumed that West New Guinea would be excluded from the transfer. He added that Australia and the Netherlands should establish a joint arrangement for the defence of West New Guinea after the RTC had concluded. See Rijks Geschiedkundige Publicatien, Officiele Bescheiden Betreffende de Nederlands- Indonesische Betrekkingen 1845 1950, vol. 19, The Hague, 1994, pp.671-2.

[AA : A1838, 309/1/1, i]