Diplomatic and Military Relations with Australia

From the Australian perspective the Netherlands East Indies were the first line of defence against Japanese aggression in Southeast Asia. In February and April 1941 Australia participated in the staff conferences held in Singapore. The pre-war plans for the defence of the archipelago involved an active role for the British Eastern Fleet, which would be sent from Europe to Singapore if war seemed likely. When the war broke out Australia took part in ABDACOM and sent ships and soldiers to the Netherlands East Indies and Singapore. Australians fought against the Japanese in Java (Blackforce), Ambon (Gull Force) and Timor (Sparrow Force). After the fall of Singapore and the Netherlands East Indies, Australia focused entirely on the United States. American General MacArthur was named Supreme Allied Commander of the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) and was given command of all Australian and New Zealand forces; he established his headquarters in Brisbane. The Australian Foreign Minister, Herbert V. Evatt, expressed criticism of the rapid fall of the Netherlands East Indies and implied that Australia would have a say in the post-war administration of the colony. In 1945 MacArthur ordered Australian troops to re-take Tarakan and Balikpapan, but his plans for an invasion of Java by two Australian divisions (Operation Oboe IV) were scrapped. After Japan's surrender on 15 August 1945 Australian troops were responsible for the liberation of Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas and part of the Lesser Sunda Islands. The Australian Labor Party government was sceptical of the restoration of the old colonial powers in Southeast Asia, and sided with Indonesia in the conflict between the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia. At Australia's request a Good Offices Committee was set up, with Australia representing the Republic of Indonesia. After the Second Military Action, Australia asked the United Nations Security Council to subject the Netherlands to severe sanctions.


Philip Dorling, Diplomasi. Australia & Indonesia's independence: documents 1947 (Canberra, 1994).
Philip Dorling en David Lee, The Renville Agreement: documents 1948; Australia & Indonesia's independence (Canberra, 1996).
David Horner, Blamey. The Commander-in-Chief (Sydney, 1998).
David Lee, Australia & Indonesia's independence; Vol.3: The transfer of sovereignty: documents 1949 (Canberra, 1998).
John Legge (red.), New directions in Australian Foreign Policy. Australia and Indonesia, 1945-1950 (Clayton, 1997).

Information o.a. in:

Access Number 2.22.21
- inv.no. 60 to 77 (Serie: Events leading to the Independence of Indonesia: developments 1945) National Archives, Kew
- inv.no. 78 to 117 (Serie: Situation in the Netherlands East Indies, 1945-1946) National Archives, Kew
- inv.no. 118 to 160 (Serie: Supreme Allied Commander South East Asia (Mountbatten Diaries) 1945-1945) National Archives, Kew
Access Number 2.05.80, inv.no. 275, 286 and 1131
Access Number 2.10.14, inv.no. 3589, 3592, 3594, 3595, 3596, 4122 and 4125
Access Number 2.13.72, inv.no. 984, 985, 998, 1011, 1014, 1321 and 1335
Access Number 2.21.123, inv.no. 33

See also:

- Indian Divisions
- Bersiap Period

- Dutch Military Actions