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ANMM Collection

Letter from Oskar Speck to the German Consulate, Batavia

Date: 16 February 1938
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Nancy Jean Steele Bequest
Object Copyright: © Australian National Maritime Museum
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Letter
Object No: ANMS0536[017]

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    Description
    Letter from Oskar Speck to the German Consulate, Batavia typed in German with text one side of each page only. Dated 16 February, 1938, the letter notes that the resident ambassador of Ambon has refused landing on the coast of Dutch New Guinea, offering alternative routes to Australia, although they are less satisfactory. Oskar wants to go south, taking responsibility for himself not being perturbed by the natives, as he feels the Lakor incident would not be repeated. He is asking the consulate for help in this matter, to gain him access to the south.
    Translation
    • Oskar Speck Surabaya 16 February 1938 German Consulate General Batavia I was told today that the Resident Ambassador of Ambon, making reference to a law introduced in 1933, will not give me permission to land on the south coast of Dutch New Guinea in a collapsible boat. The Resident Ambassador suggests an alternative direct route to Australia via the Aru Islands. Due to the wide distances across high seas this route is not viable in a collapsible boat. The only possible alternative would be to travel to Port Darwin in Australia via the Tanimbar Islands or Portuguese Timor. However, such a crossing would be enormously risky. I would only opt for one of these if the Dutch Government acknowledged my reasons for not accepting their proposal [on the one hand], but would still not permit me to travel along the southern coastline of New Guinea [on the other]. As their refusal is merely based on the unreliability of the natives, I am quite prepared to give a written assurance that I will accept any risk of attack in New Guinea. I see no reason to predict further incidents of that kind to occur in New Guinea, simply because I was robbed, (and as a consequence, probably would have been murdered) on Lakor by so-called civilised natives. Another point to consider is that I have already travelled through countries which were at least as dangerous as New Guinea is for a European traveller. There are already quite a number of government posts located along the southern coast of New Guinea and I would 16.02.38 Page 10 of 32Page 2 of 2 assume that they are no more than one week apart from each other. As the telegram from Ambon is pretty unclear (the Resident Ambassador also says that April is the best time for travelling along the southern coast of New Guinea), I respectfully request the Consulate General to support the progress of my journey. In the event, however, that this is not possible I would appreciate a clear and unambiguous refusal by the Dutch Government. The commissioner in charge of the matter here was unable to explain the [meaning of] the telegram to my satisfaction. By the way, the telegram is written in a very friendly manner and in such a way that the refusal is not intended to cause me any offence. The commissioner advised me to let the Consulate General deal with the matter. Thanking you in advance for your assistance, Heil Hitler
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