251 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 267 BATAVIA, 6 August 1947, 5.40 p.m.


Your telegrams 215 and 216. [1]

You will have reports of broadcasts of Sjarifoeddin and Soekarno [2] ordering cessation of hostilities. The first point of Secretary-General's [3] resolution has thus been complied with and the other two remain for action.

2. This interim period until the two parties and their go-betweens or arbitrators get together is as dangerous as any period so far and ought to be kept as short as possible.

3. Cessation of hostilities was no doubt the necessary first step but it would be an overstatement to regard it as creating a position which can be held for more than the briefest time. It bears some resemblance to the truce of October, 1946, which was at best limited success but lacks even the few stabilising elements which that situation possessed-actual contact between parties, presence of a third party, ascertainable demarcation lines (which even so took time to determine). In other directions the feeling is worse now and Van Mook's statement [4] that the Dutch will restore and maintain law and order with all means at their disposal may well mean that they will mop up, purge and consolidate the areas they consider they have taken over. If there are Republican pockets behind the front of the Dutch positions incidents will occur. An unconfirmed Republican report states that the Dutch took over Gumbong in the middle of Java yesterday. If they did so even peacefully, it is a likely source of dispute.

Inasmuch as there was no solid Republic defence, they will probably make no solid attacks, but isolated breaches of cease fire would not be unexpected.

4. There is, so far, no agreement between parties on first concrete step towards resumption of negotiations. Sjarifoeddin announced yesterday that the Republic would accept only arbitration by an international commission appointed by U.N.O. and no mediation. See also his reply to Secretary-General [5] given in my immediately following telegram. [6] Dutch authorities are apparently awaiting clarification of the American offer which they have accepted.

5. The American Consul-General this morning verbally conveyed the American offer to Gani and added that if the Republican Government accepted it, the United States would send a Commission (presumably American) to Indonesia. Gani answered that he would transmit message to Djokjakarta. This he is doing via Singapore. [7] 6. I spoke to Gani and Tamzil along the lines of your telegram 217 [8] and they appeared receptive, but it should be emphasised that neither they nor I have communication with Djokjakarta and that is where Republican decisions are being made.

1 Cablegram 215 dealt with an unrelated consular matter. The reference was presumably intended to be to cablegrams 216 and 217 (Documents 237 and 238 respectively).

2 See Document 240 and note 1 thereto.

3 The text should read 'Security Council'.

4 See Document 233, note 2.

5 The text should read 'Security Council'. See Document 240.

6 Not printed.

7 Following advice from Gani that his efforts to contact his government could not be relied upon, Foote broadcast the following message on Radio Batavia in the evening of 6 August: 'I have been ordered to advise you, President Soekarno and Prime Minister Sjarifoeddin, that the Government of the United States offers the same good offices to the Republican Government as have been offered to the Dutch Government.' 8 Document 238.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4, ii]