NETHERLANDS INDIES EFFECT OF NETHERLANDS ROYAL DECREE VESTING IN ROYAL NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT CLAIMS AND RIGHTS REGARDING ASSETS BELONGING TO RESIDENTS AND COMPANIES OF NETHERLANDS INDIES: POWER OF COMMONWEALTH TO REQUISITION GOODS IN AUSTRALIA AND PAY COMPENSATION TO ROYAL NETHERLANDS GOVERNMENT: GOLD AND BANK CREDITS
I refer to the question of the disposal of goods now in Australia or to arrive in Australia and consigned either to the Royal Netherlands Indies Government or to persons or companies domiciled in the Netherlands Indies: also to the question of the transfer to the Royal Netherlands Government of certain gold held in Australia on behalf of banks in the Netherlands Indies and of certain credits in Australian banks in the name of certain banks in the Netherlands Indies.
With regard to the goods and other property mentioned, the provisions of the Royal Decree dated 8th March, 1942, with regard to the vesting in the Royal Netherlands Government of all claims and rights regarding assets belonging to residents and companies of the Netherlands Indies have been brought to my notice.
I understand that with regard to the disposal of the goods in question, it is desired that the Commonwealth Government, in pursuance of its powers in that behalf, should requisition the goods and should pay the Royal Netherlands Government the compensation payable upon such requisition. I understand, further, that after such requisition the goods will be disposed of, either to the Royal Netherlands Government or to the Government of the United States of America, or will be retained by the Commonwealth Government.
It appears that by virtue of such requisition, the unloading of those goods from ships and the distribution of the goods when unloaded and of goods already in Australia and subject to the Royal Decree will be facilitated, and possible deterioration of the goods will thus be avoided and the movement of shipping speeded up.
I understand that the Royal Decree of the 24th May, 1940, has been recognised by the British Government.
In the light of the above facts I have had the matter examined, and am satisfied that in all the circumstances of the case and having regard to the terms of the Royal Decree dated 8th March, 1942, there is sufficient justification for the Commonwealth Government taking action to requisition the goods as proposed and becoming responsible for the payment of compensation for those goods to the Royal Netherlands Government or to some person duly authorized by that Government.
With respect to such of the requisitioned goods as will be made available to the Royal Netherlands Government or the Government of the United States of America, payment will be due to the Commonwealth in respect of those goods and I assume that such discharges and receipts as are required will be given by those Governments.
With regard to the gold and credits held in Australia on behalf of residents or companies of the Netherlands Indies the Commonwealth Government is prepared to advise the Commonwealth Bank that it considers that Australian banks would be justified in transferring the gold and credits to the Royal Netherlands Government.
[Vol. 34, p. 375]
(1) John Albert (Jack) Beasley. Born 9 November 1895, Werribee, Victoria; died 2 September 1949, Darlinghurst, NSW. Federal Member for West Sydney (Australian Labor Party; Lang Labor; Australian Labor Party (Non-Communist)) 1928–1946. Minister for Supply and Development 1941–1942; Supply and Shipping 1942–1945; Defence 1945–1946. Vice-President of Executive Council 1945. Appointed to Privy Council 1946. High Commissioner to the United Kingdom 1946–1949.