262 Brookes to Dunk

Cablegram 93 BATAVIA, 21 May 1946


Van Mook gave Sjahrir the Dutch modified proposals which are described as a protocol.

2. Van Mook has not informed any of the British authorities what is contained in the protocol. He gave rather a frank, off the record, talk to the press beforehand about this. Jenkins of the Argus is keeping me fully informed about such matters. For example at the press conference Van Mook said that he would propose to Sjahrir that a joint Dutch-Indonesian operation should be conducted to re-establish law and order in Sumatra.

3. A British officer saw Sjahrir after the meeting and was shown the protocol. The protocol was revised in medieval Dutch legalistic language. There are very few supported statements in the modified form and much talk about the holding of an Imperial Conference at a date unspecified, the purpose of this Conference being to discuss with the de facto Government of Java and representatives (nominated by the Dutch) of outer island possessions framework of the contemplated set up of the Netherlands Empire. The British officer had to read the document in a hurry and found it very vague. Sjahrir's comment was that the protocol offered the Indonesians 40% less than agreed upon at the negotiations under Inverchapel's direction. [1] He said that the wording of the protocol would make it very difficult for him although he desired agreement, and stressed how often the phrase 'Holland's historical ties with the Indonesians' featured in it.

The use of the word 'tie' in the present circumstances he said is unfortunate. Further, exclusion of mention of the President of the Republic made his own position more difficult.

4. Sjahrir left for the interior this morning and is not sure whether he will return or if he returns whether he will remain long. He has promised to inform the British beforehand what he proposes to do.

5. The Indonesians believe one of the first steps of an independent British Indian Government will be the recognition of their Republic. All believe that Pandit Nehru will be appointed Foreign Secretary.

6. In the light of the above, I respectfully suggest that the Australian Government might consider very seriously what the Government of India's attitude to the problem of the Indonesians is going to be and, therefore, might weigh up the pros and cons of taking constructive action first.

I refer you to paragraph 3 of my telegram 94 [2] and to the inconclusive results of the Dutch elections.

1 See Document 177.

2 In paragraph 3, Brookes reported that every forward thrust into the interior by the British and Dutch authorities weakened Sjahrir's position there, and that, if his position in Java, continued to be weakened, the hope of 'any moderate and stable Government deteriorates in proportion'.

[AA:A1838/2, 403/3/1/1, i]