Berryman to Northcott


23 October 1945

Subject: Free Indonesian Movement Ref:. Our G/040.2/Int. of 19 Oct 45 [1]

Apart from incidents reported in the above-mentioned letter, there is evidence that the Australian Communist Party is actively engaged in further aggravating unrest among the Indonesian inhabitants in areas within the AMF sphere of responsibility and that it is also attempting to influence Australian troops against the Dutch.

2. The following reports in this connection have been received:-

(a) On 15 Oct a printed propaganda leaflet entitled ‘Hands off the Indonesian Republic’ was distributed in limited quantities in the 26 Aust Inf Bde area (TARAKAN). This leaflet has also been found at this HQ. Copy of the leaflet, which was issued by the Australian Communist Party in SYDNEY, is attached. [2]

(b) On 17 Oct cyclostyled pamphlets to the same general effect were again distributed at an Indonesian meeting at TARAKAN. These pamphlets were dated ‘BRISBANE, 11 Oct 45’.

(c) On 7 Oct four members of the 2/1 Aust Armd Regt at BALIKPAPAN produced a petition supporting the Free Indonesian Movement. The four men concerned are reported to have strong Communist tendencies and the petition was circulated within the unit and was signed by some members.

3. While it is realised that Australian personnel are entitled to hold whatever political opinions they like, it is pointed out that any further increase in Indonesian unrest may lead to disturbances in areas occupied by Australian forces and that our responsibility for maintaining law and order in these areas may necessitate the use of our troops in preventing these disturbances with the consequent risk of casualties to our forces. Thus the activities of the Australian Communist Party in encouraging the adherents of the Free Indonesian Movement may have a direct influence on increasing the possibility of casualties to Australian troops.


1 Not located.

2 Not published.


[AA : A5954, BOX 2278]