Chifley to Mountbatten

Cablegram unnumbered CANBERRA, 14 October 1945


1. Have just received, this Sunday afternoon, your signal. [1] While appreciating your difficulties, this movement has already commenced and must proceed.

2. The decision to return the Indonesians to Java and Sumatra was made with the agreement of the Dutch Authorities after the Minister for Immigration and I had discussed the whole matter with them and indeed was urged by them, although it seems that they would have preferred forceable expulsion on Dutch ships.

3. We proceeded to give effect to the decision following the allotment of the ESPERANCE BAY by P.S.T.O., S.E.A.C.

4. Quite apart from these aspects, we do not propose to retain these elements in Australia and must return them to their own territory. The present political situation in the N.E.I. may continue for some time and we cannot have the Indonesians here indefinitely.

5. I suggest that their arrival should not create an undue strain either on the food supplies of the area or on your capacity to control the political situation there, particularly as our suggestion is that the 1,400 are to be landed at three scattered points in Dutch Timor, Java and Sumatra respectively.

6. The ESPERANCE BAY left Sydney on Saturday, October 13th. The remaining Indonesians will be embarked at Brisbane on Monday October 15th. I trust that on arrival in N.E.I. waters you will find yourself able to facilitate entry and cover their landings in Java and Sumatra in such a way as to avoid punitive action by the Dutch or other incidents. Such action would be regarded here as a breach of faith and lead to further industrial trouble.


1 Document 309.


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