Burton to Evatt

Cablegram 304 CANBERRA, 5 October 1945


Indonesian seamen have unsuccessfully demanded that Indonesian military personnel in Australia should be allowed to return with them to N.E.I. Proceedings under S.5 (2) Immigration Act were taken against ninety five Indonesian seamen deserters in Melbourne but adjourned until 12th October. Similar action is being taken to-day in Brisbane against 210 Indonesian seamen deserters who broke into Camp Columbia [1] where they joined 400 Indonesian civilians employed by the Dutch who had gone on strike in sympathy with Soekarno.

After they have been declared prohibited immigrants, the official attitude will be to ensure as far as possible that only those who show willingness to return to N.E.I. will be shipped there. The others will be sent to Australian New Guinea or if possible Nauru.

The situation is being handled smoothly and we are receiving full opportunity to express our views. We expect no repercussions even from the Dutch who throughout have been wanting more drastic action than we are prepared to concede.


1 The headquarters of the provisional government of the NEI in Australia.


[AA : A1838/2, 401/3/6/1/3, i]