433 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram K1 BATAVIA, 23 November 1947, 10 p.m.


Parts I and II.

Thanks for your telegram 360. [1] Unfortunately your telegram 349 [2] as received did not state that you had passed on my request to Evatt. Naturally I read from the remainder an implication that you had failed to do so and the whole of your telegram was read in this light. Let us start from here like good boys but I would have been helped greatly by receiving Dr. Evatt's advice some days earlier. Zeeland has left for Belgium and I only succeeded in persuading Graham to follow my plan on interpretation and report to the Council the day Zeeland left. [3] We almost persuaded Zeeland to agree but not quite and Graham has insisted we telegraph Zeeland and get his approval before following my plan to the limit. We are awaiting Zeeland's reply.

2. Cease Fire Committees are meeting in Jogjakarta, Brookes and Campbell with them. [4] I hope the Committee will present interpretation about Wednesday and if the Dutch refuse to withdraw to August 4th [positions] Graham has intimated strong probability that he will join me in report to the Security Council. I think if this course followed the Republic will agree to stand fast in present position and without reservation obey further resolution of the Security Council. This in order to show the Council and the world they are confident of the righteousness of their cause and although they would be prejudiced by such a stand-fast that they are prepared to put all their faith in the Security Council. This in the expectation that the Security Council will not see them put in a worse ultimate position because of military aggression.

3. Unfortunately I cannot prophesy with certainty on these matters as Graham's concurrence will depend on Zeeland's reply.

4. It is obvious that when substantive discussions do start the Dutch will say- (1) They are in favour of granting independence to Indonesians generally but will deny that the Republic has the support of such Indonesians even in Sumatra, Java and Madura.

(2) They will point to evidence in all Dutch occupied areas in these three islands of an apparent support of the Dutch by the Indonesian population which obviously has been induced by food and clothing they have been distributing as an inducement to win people over from the Republic.

(3) In any case they will argue that the feelings of the population in the outer islands of the Netherlands East Indies must be considered and that, therefore, independence if given should be given to a Federated States of Indonesia.

5. Pity is that external evidence available will go a long way towards proving their assertion in (2) above. As an instance of this the case of Madura is most favourable to them. Eaton has, I understand, cabled you details of this. [5]

position throughout and have been authoritatively informed that in some areas near starvation will be likely in January and February in the interval between harvests. In fact some Republicans in high positions have discussed privately with me the question of appeal to the Committee to invoke the aid of the Red Cross or similar international body to distribute food. The paradox is that food is available in three islands but it is in the hands of the Dutch who are apparently willing to distribute it but only under control of their military forces and as means of bribing local populations away from Republic support.

7. Part III following. [6]

[AA:A3195, 1947, 1.22980/82]

1 Document 428.

2 Document 422.

3 22 November.

4 On 23 November, the Special Committees were able to agree in principle to a number of suggestions submitted by the representatives of the Committee of Good Offices for the implementation of the Security Council resolution of 1 November.

Suggestions accepted by both Special Committees included the termination of provocative broadcasts and other propaganda activity; the cessation of publication of daily communiques on military operations; the prohibition of sabotage, intimidation and reprisals against people or property; the rapid release of prisoners held by both sides; and full observation by the military and civilian assistants of the Committee of Good Offices. The Special Committees were unable to reach agreement, however, with regard to proposals that existing military positions not be altered in any area without mutual agreement and that each side cease all hostile military, naval or air activity, including air reconnaissance, against or over areas occupied by the other party.

5 No such cablegram or report has been located.

6 Document 434.

[6.] I have now the benefit of further enquiry into the Republic's