366 Eaton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 346 BATAVIA, 4 October 1947, 2.30 p.m.



The British Consul-General and self decided to despatch following telegram to our respective Governments.

'In the course of its investigations the Consular Commission has borne in mind the possibility of finding some way of securing the reduction of casualties and relief of tension pending the constitution of Three Power Committee. The following two suggestions have been discussed with the Military Sub- Commi[ssion]. [1]

(a) The establishment of a demarcation line between the Dutch and Indonesian troops.

(b) The cessation of mopping up operations by the Dutch in exchange for the cessation by the Republicans of attacks on the Dutch patrols.

2. As regards (a) the Military Sub-Commission report that on the assumption that rapid military defeat of Indonesian troops which have been isolated by the Dutch actions between July 20th and the present date is inevitable, it would be possible to fix a demarcation line. They consider it should approximate the present Dutch position and that a demilitarised zone not exceeding ten kilometres in breadth should be created between the positions of the two forces. The supervision would be essential to ensure that the zone is and remains demilitarised. Repatriation of isolated troops with arms, equipment and all other warlike stores should be allowed.

3. In my opinion there are two strong objections to this course:-

(a) Actual demarcation line would necessarily be a matter of some considerable time, and (b) That it would entail sacrifices from the Republican side only.

It seems unlikely that the Republican Government would be willing or able to agree without some substantial quid pro quo.

4. The Military Sub-Commission consider most unlikely the suggestion of (b) would be accepted by the parties though if it were they think good results would be obtained. I do not altogether share their pessimism. Both sides have I think reached the point where they would willingly make some gesture in order to relieve the tension and to prepare the way for the Three Power Committee. It would be certain to require strong pressure from an outside source to induce them to make up their minds to take the plunge, but once taken, it seems to me that this would offer the quickest and most promising interim progress. It could only be carried through if accompanied by positive propaganda on both sides. At present the propaganda is inflammatory and efforts to get it toned down have had only a very partial effect.

5. Both sides have indicated their willingness to consider suggestions, but the Commission feels it cannot pursue the matter in the present circumstances because (a) Their terms of reference are only to report and not to make recommendations, and (b) Any negotiations might well be prolonged and would be almost certain to involve Three Power Committee at the outset of its task in developments which it might not find helpful.

6. The Commission accordingly decided that it could best help by refraining from discussing the matter with either side at present and that the above suggestions should preferably be put before their individual Governments rather than referred to the Security Council where the debate might equally embarrass the Three Power Committee.'

1 The discussion took place on 2 October.

[AA:A1838/283, 403/3/1/1, xi]