1 Ballard to Evatt

Dispatch 1/1947 BATAVIA, 6 January 1947


I have the honour to trace, in roughly chronological sequence, the development of political feeling and events in this area since the departure of the British forces. References to the Den Pasar Conference [1] are incorporated here solely for the sake of continuity in the narrative; that subject will be dealt with in a separate despatch.

2. The departure of the British forces on 30th November 1946 did not precipitate any special events in Java and Sumatra. There were some rather formal expressions of thanks from Dutch official sources and in the press, and the Dutch were obviously glad to see the last of A.F.N.E.I. [2], but the main effect of the departure was to bring home to both Dutch and Indonesians the fact that responsibility lay where indeed it always had lain, namely on their shoulders. The various bipartite committees set up during the Killearn negotiations became dormant.

3. Early in the month, delay in reaching a decision at The Hague came in for criticism by the Dutch, not only because of fears that the initialled agreement [3] would prove to be no advance on the position reached in March, but also because of a growing feeling that the people at home did not have a full understanding of the local position. This delay also caused the postponement of the conference at Den Pasar, designed to set up the new Negara, or State, of East Indonesia. On the Indonesian side the Masjoemi decided to oppose the draft and Soetomo also beat up opposition to it among his followers. The Masjoemi's decision cannot have been unanimous as Dr. Roem, one of the Indonesian Delegation, was present; moreover there are indications that the meeting, if not actually packed, was at least manipulated and that the party is not unanimous on the matter and may well be threatened with an internal division. At this stage Sjahrir had behind him the Socialist Party, the Socialist Youth, the Communist Party and Soekarno's Nationalist Party.

4. The news of Jonkman's declaration at The Hague [4] caused relief by removing the danger of outright rejection of the agreement, on the assumption that unilateral modification, which was felt to be even more dangerous, was not in prospect. It was on receipt of this news that Dr. van Mook decided to-go to Den Pasar, where his deputy, Dr. Hoven, had been holding the fort among the delegates who had been waiting for about a week for the formal opening of the conference, using the opportunity to present their first resolution, which found very wide support, claiming practically a hundred percent independence for East Indonesia.

5. In the Indonesian press the Masjoemi rejection decision continued to receive prominence. The opinion was expressed that it would not mean a split in the Cabinet, but the possibility rather of a party split was speculated on.

6. On the 11th of December martial law was proclaimed at various places in the Celebes-Mandar, Pare-Pare, Macassar, with the expressed object of putting an end to terrorism and violence.

Apparently the earlier banning of the Partai Nasional Indonesia had not had the desired effect. Dutch naval intelligence reports about midDecember confirmed the existence of warm national feeling in the East including Menado and Ambon.

7. By mid-December the delay at The Hague had undoubtedly stimulated extreme opposition in the interior and Benteng Indonesia (Fortress of Indonesia) emerged as a focal point of the opposition being, said to co-ordinate the opposition of 24 parties, which is not after all a very high proportion of the more than 130 parties said to exist in the interior. Soekarno and Hatta were preparing for a large scale speaking tour in favour of the agreement in the new year, and Sheikh Jamil Jambek, the most influential Masjoemi leader in Sumatra, declared his support of the agreement.

8. Some reference was apparently made in the debate in the States- General to a Partai Rakjat Pasoendan, said to have been formed to advance the interests of the Sundanese people of West Java, who are of course historically distinct from the East Javanese. The party appears to have been formed actually inside the Dutch perimeter at Bandoeng and claims a membership of 6,000, all inside the perimeter, and also a youth movement in the same area. Its object of reviving the ancient Sundanese state seems to have no future.

9. Meanwhile at Den Pasar Dr. van Mook had made his opening speech, promising that East Indonesia would not be on a lower level than the other states of United States of Indonesia, and an incident had occurred involving the expulsion of seven Indonesian journalists for alleged breaches of the spirit of Linggardjati in having taken with them Indonesian publicity material.

10. The Dutch Army Information Services seemed during the month to be preparing the public for increased military activity, and the feeling among younger officers has been intensely anti-Commission- General; moreover Dr. van Mook's repeated references to alleged Indonesian breaches of the truce and the necessity of repressing terrorism could be taken as support for this possibility.

Indonesian news sources are not wholly reliable, but although all the perimeters were intermittently lively, on the whole the situation has remained fairly quiet except where Dutch patrolling has been denser and deeper in Java, and in Sumatra in circumstances dealt with elsewhere.

11. The town of Buitenzorg which was an awkward spot when the British were there furnished an incident after their departure.

Friction culminated in the shooting of nine Indonesians including the Vice-Mayor. A joint commission visited the town and the Dutch Commander apologised and promised that the guilty men would be punished. Later, however, all the Indonesian Civil Police were arrested, as well as the Indonesian Resident, and the Police Headquarters were raided and some small arms and ammunitions found. Another joint commission paid a visit. Dr. Roem protested against the breach of the agreed arrangements for the maintenance of the status quo, but the Dutch Commander declared that he had nothing to do with considerations of that nature and that he had acted purely militarily. He declined to produce his evidence or to let Dr. Roem inter-view the Resident. As appears later, this incident has now been settled.

12. The result of the debate in the States-General was received quietly by both sides. Curiously enough important political references came late in the month from the Dutch Admiral and the Republican Commander-in-Chief. Admiral Pinke in his message of Christmas cheer to his men warned them that Linggardjati 'may prove to be a false light as the truce has', and General Soedirman made an Indonesian-wide radio speech. He repeated the theme of ceaseless struggle until independence is achieved, and counselled unity and an aggressive spirit, saying that the Indonesians could not remain idly passive while Netherlands activities were damaging and violating Indonesian rights and property.

13. The Den Pasar Conference ended on Christmas eve with the provisional organization of the new State of East Indonesia, New Guinea being excluded thanks to Dr. van Mook's persuasion. The first President is Soekawati of Bali, the Chairman of the provisional government (analogous to speaker) is Tadjoeddin Noor and the 'cabinet formator' Nadjamoeddin. The first parliament is to meet early this year, when a decision on a flag for the new State is to be made. At Den Pasar the red and white (Republican colours) were demanded.

14. In Sumatra, General Soedirman's speech was interpreted by the irregulars as authorising them to repudiate local truce arrangements and noisy fighting broke out on all three Dutch perimeters. In his New Year's Eve broadcast Dr. van Mook again sounded the law and order note. However, he slaw Sjahrir and Dr.

Sjarifoedin and after the talk told the press that neither he nor Mr. Sjahrir has any intention of abandoning the truce. He also promised Mr. Sjahrir at this meeting to hand back the Republican buildings at Buitenzorg within a few days, and to reinstate the Republican civil administration and police as soon as the investigation was completed. Also in a broadcast on January 4th Dr. Sjarifoedin said that General Soedirman's broadcast had been misinterpreted by many Indonesians as a call to battle. He said 'our Republican Government does not mean to and will never agree to use force of arms. Only if we are compelled shall we meet force by force'.

15. The Partai Nasionalis Indonesia (Soekarno's old party) also announced its opposition to the agreement. However, by a recent presidential decree the Komite Nasional Indonesia Poesat has been increased by 150 to 413 members. Farmers and labourers, not hitherto represented as such, now have 40 seats each, the communists who had one now have 35, and generally the representation of the left wing and outer possessions is increased. The new distribution of seats is as follows:-

Masjoemi 67 Partai Nasionalis Indonesia45 " Sosialis 35 " Boeroeh (Labour) 35 " Kommunis Indonesia 35 " Kristen Indonesia 8 " Katholiek Rep. Indonesia 4 " Sumatra 50 Kalimantan (Borneo) 12 Soelawesi (Celebes) 15 Maluku (Moluccas) 7 Sunda Kechil 7 Chinese 7 Arabs 3 Netherlanders (!) 3 Kaoem Boeroeh (labourers) 40 Kaoem Tani (farmers) 40 413

This reorganization of representation makes party strength throughout the country less important, and government circles anticipate that this committee can be counted on to support it in its acceptance of the agreement. The Government has not publicly stated its attitude to the agreement and will presumably leave the next move to the Dutch, awaiting a formal communication from the Commission-General after its return this week. It has also been announced that Dr. Romme, parliamentary leader of the Roman Catholic People's Party, is to visit Indonesia in the near future.

16. The situation in Indo-China is being closely followed, especially by the Indonesians. If the French suffer a military defeat or near-defeat by the Viet Nam forces, the Republican Government's control over its young men will be more difficult to maintain.

1 The Den Pasar Conference of 7-24 December 1946 resulted in the provisional establishment of the Negara or State of East Indonesia.

2 Allied Forces, Netherlands East Indies.

3 The Linggadjati Agreement was initialled at Batavia on 15 November 1946 by Van Mook, the Commission-General for the Netherlands East Indies (NEI) and an Indonesian delegation led by Sjahrir. The text of the agreement is given in Appendix I.

4 On 10 December 1946, Jonkman announced in the States-General that the Netherlands Government intended to authorise the Commission-General to sign the Linggadjati Agreement and that the Government would consider itself bound 'only and exclusively to what has been agreed upon according to the explanation given by the Commission-General'. A 'Memorandum of Elucidation' issued by the Commission-General explained that the Linggadjati Agreement was not a treaty; it was merely a political document indicating the direction in which measures would have to be taken. The Netherlands Constitution (in which the NEI was specifically named as a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) consequently remained intact. In a further statement on 19 December, Jonkman indicated that de facto recognition of the Republic of Indonesia (Article 1 of the Agreement) would be conditional on the Republic's ability to fulfil the other articles of Linggadjati and that provision for arbitration (Article 17(2)) would not prevent the Netherlands from taking measures for the restoration of law and order in the NEI.

[AA:A4231/2, 1947 BATAVIA]