417 Eaton to Department of External Affairs
Cablegram 407 BATAVIA, 12 November 1947
Following document received from Judge Kirby was submitted informally to Dutch on 7th November and is referred to in paragraph 9 of his personal telegram to Dr. Burton :
'The Committee of Good Offices at this stage considers it to be desirable to state as clearly as possible what it considers to be its present responsibilities regarding the Indonesian question.
There are two resolutions of the Security Council which have a bearing on the work of the Committee. The first of these is the resolution of 25th August 1947, under which the Security Council expressed its readiness, if the parties so requested, to assist in the settlement through a Committee of the Council. This offer has been accepted by both parties and it is the Committee's conception that, pursuant to the resolution and this basic acceptance, the Committee will render all assistance possible to the parties in reaching a political settlement. In this connection, the Committee will assume any and every task devolving upon it as the result of agreements or requests made by the parties from time to time.
Nothing the Committee may do will bind either party, except under circumstances where two conditions are fulfilled, namely, (1) that both parties ask that the Committee make recommendations, and (2) that both parties state in advance that they would regard such recommendations as binding.
The second resolution of the Security Council is that of 1st November 1947, calling upon the parties concerned forthwith to consult with each other, either directly or preferably through the Committee of Good Offices, as to the means to be employed in order to give effect to the cease fire resolution, and pending agreement, to cease any activities, or incitement to activities, which contravene that resolution and to take appropriate measures for safeguarding life and property. Under this resolution, the Committee considers itself directed by the Council to offer its assistance to the parties, in the absence of any direct agreement between the parties, without awaiting a request by either party that the Committee should offer such assistance. This indicates that the Committee has a responsibility to take the initiative in this regard.
Far from conceiving its assistance as having a binding character, the Committee considers that its duties can be fulfilled only through agreement between the parties themselves. In the unlikely circumstances in which the parties might reject the Committee's assistance, the Committee considers that its responsibilities to the Security Council would be acquitted simply by reporting to the Security Council.
It is the considered opinion of the Committee that the discussions by the parties concerning implementation of the resolutions regarding the cease fire and the discussions looking toward a political settlement have a bearing on each other. It is further the opinion of the Committee that both discussions should be undertaken with all possible speed, as any measure of agreement reached in either discussion will facilitate the reaching of agreement in the other. It is believed that any insistence that either discussion shall have reached a specified stage of agreement before the other discussion is undertaken may easily result in stalemate as to both. The Committee recognizes the urgency of reaching an agreement to implement the cease fire resolution, and pending such agreement emphasizes the importance of ceasing any activities, or incitement to activities, which contravene that resolution and of taking appropriate measures for safeguarding life and property. This is a matter of days, and in the Committee's view the parties should immediately undertake discussions to that end either directly or through its good offices.
The Committee calls attention to the fact that the Government of the Republic has requested the assistance of the Committee both as to implementation of the cease fire resolution and as to discussions looking toward a political settlement. of course, the assistance of this Committee would be immediately available to the Netherlands Government, if requested.
The Committee is confident that the Netherlands Government is prepared to exchange views, either directly or with the assistance of the Committee, looking toward a political settlement while the Committee of Good Offices is at the same time endeavouring to obtain an agreement implementing the cease fire resolution.
The Committee of Good Offices would not feel justified in requesting that a ship be put at the disposal of the parties unless and until it is assured that both parties will make use of its facilities as soon as the ship is available. One of the parties has given such assurance, and assurances to that effect from the Netherlands Government would be welcome.'