Ball to Burton

Cablegram 12 BATAVIA, 17 November 1945


Received 18 November 1945

This is 12th telegram I have sent you since arrival at Batavia ten days ago. Several telegrams contained urgent request for your directions.

During this period I have received only one short message in reply [1] and this did not deal with any of the questions I have asked.

In particular the British have not received any financial advice or advance concerning our expenses and we are living by borrowing.

I therefore most earnestly request that you try to establish forthwith satisfactory channel of communication with me and reply to questions I have asked. The work here is associated with some danger, considerable discomfort and difficulty. These things would not worry me at all if I felt I were receiving reasonable help and support from Canberra.

I believe it is not likely that a satisfactory settlement will soon be reached between the Dutch and the new Indonesian leaders.

Perhaps the most disconcerting feature of the whole situation is that no present third party understands and can assess the Indonesian movement. British interests are first, get home and second to keep good friends with Holland. British information here not only generalised but often inaccurate. I have experienced several instances in which the British have given me official information in good faith which has been inconsistent either with my direct personal knowledge of the facts or with the testimony of reliable newspaper men on the spot. The British rely mainly for their information on the Dutch who are not only partisan but have on their own admission badly misunderstood what was really happening in Java under occupation. Example of unreliability of Dutch reports is avowed propaganda aiming to play up Japanese participation in Indonesian violence. I have good grounds for believing that official reports seriously exaggerate this Japanese participation. I apologise for repeating here some statements I have made in previous messages. The main point is that British apathy ignorance and misinformation about the Indonesian movement make it specially desirable that some other third party or United Nations enquires.

Foregoing is confirming fact that in purely military sphere Christison showing tact and restraint in dealing with both the Dutch and the Indonesians.

1 Cablegram 4, dispatched 10 November, on file AA : A1838/2, 401/1/1/1, i. See Document 375, note 1.

[AA : A1838/2, 401/1/2/1]