451 Makin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1586 WASHINGTON, 3 December 1947, 9.33 p.m.



Your telegram No. 1387. [1]

I went today to State Department accompanied by the Minister [2] to see Armour, Assistant Under Secretary, on his return from New York. (Under Secretary Lovett is appearing before Congressional Committees regarding aid to Europe.) I expressed our concern at the slow progress of negotiations on the lines outlined in your telegram.

Armour said that he believed difficulties over meeting place had been to a considerable extent responsible for delay and he had received a telegram today advising that ship put at Committee's disposal had now arrived. [3]

As regards pressure on the Netherlands, he said that the United States Government (and he thought United Kingdom Government also) had taken steps 'to expedite'.

You will appreciate that the State Department are less sympathetic to the Indonesians than they were a year ago and there has been a considerable change in their attitude during last six months. It is difficult to analyse this change but one factor in it may be the influence of Kennan, Secretary of State's chief planner, and another is the pro-Netherlands attitude of Baruch who replaced Hornbeck as Ambassador at The Hague earlier in the year.

As regards American pressure already brought to bear at The Hague, my personal guess would have been that they had urged the Netherlands authorities 'to get going' but that it was unlikely pressure had extended very far.

On the other hand Armour added, and apparently with satisfaction, that he had just had a telegram saying that Van Vredenburch and Neher had been authorised by Netherlands Government to represent them in negotiations as part of the Committee which would also include three Indonesians from East Indonesia and West Borneo area (though he did not think the Indonesians would have much authority) and hoped that this move would produce good results.

1 See Document 445, note 3.

2 i.e. the second ranking officer in the Embassy, A. T. Stirling.

3 The USS Renville had arrived at Batavia on 2 December.

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