464 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN1222 NEW YORK, 13 December 1947, 3.15 p.m.


Security 540.


1. Palar, Indonesian representative, urgently sought our advice today on following situation.

2. During debate on 27th October [1] regarding Dutch action following the cease fire order, the Indonesian representative claimed that Dutch had abrogated the Linggadjati agreement. He said that the Dutch statement of 1[2]th August [2], affirming the intention of the Netherlands Government to organise a sovereign democratic United States of Indonesia 'in accordance with the purpose of the Linggadjati agreement'. . . referred to the Dutch unilateral interpretation of that agreement which was the cause of the armed conflict in Indonesia. He asked the Netherlands representative to confirm or deny this.

3. On 31st October [3] Van Kleffens said he had asked his Government whether it still considered the Linggadjati agreement valid, but said that the making of an answer should be dependent on the Republic of Indonesia equally disclosing its hand. He asked whether the Indonesian representative was prepared to submit an identical question to his Government. The President expressed the hope that Palar would obtain a similar statement.

4. Palar insisted that the Dutch had abrogated the agreement and said that his Government was 'now free to be bound or not to be bound by the agreement'.

5. Yesterday the Secretary-General informed Palar that Van Kleffens was ready to hand Lie his Government's reply in a sealed envelope if the Indonesian statement could be similarly deposited for simultaneous release.

6. Palar suspected that the Dutch wish to secure some tactical advantage by forcing the Indonesian Government to make a statement of its position regarding which the Indonesian Government is divided. He is very much out of touch with his Government as his communications via New Delhi are slow and he believes all communications are read by the Dutch. He does not even know whether his Government wishes to take the Linggadjati agreement as the basis for negotiations. For the same reason he is unable to explain the present difficulty frankly or to obtain instructions.

His own inclination was to preserve Linggadjati agreement as at least some basis for further negotiations. If forced to do so by developments here, and in the absence of instructions, he proposes to furnish evidence indicating Dutch abrogation of agreement and to suggest that explanation of Indonesian attitude to agreement be left to be given under auspices of Committee of Three. He intends in any case to mention Madoera [4] and also death of forty-six prisoners [5] at next Security Council meeting. He is awaiting promised memorandum from his Government on economic position resulting from recent Dutch action in Java. [6]

7. He is further confused by announcement of visit of Dutch Ministers including Beel to Indonesia. [7] He hopes that this step means that the Dutch are prepared to return to the original Linggadjati agreement but is not certain of the significance.

8. Palar suggested that he might send a message in above sense to his Government through our channels. We explained that we could not do this without authority from you but undertook to explain the position urgently to you in case you see fit in some way to convey what is in his mind to Indonesian authorities. He is badly in need of guidance before Tuesday's meeting. We have been working on the assumption that it is desirable that the Linggadjati agreement should be taken as the basis for negotiation and that with this in mind, any attempt to stress Dutch abrogation of the agreement is undesirable. Would be glad of advice as far as possible as to the present position this point including the attitude of the Indonesian Government. [8]

1 See Document 394.

2 See Document 279, note 2.

3 See Document 400.

4 See Document 457, paragraph 6.

5 See Document 455, note 6.

6 This is possibly a reference to Sjarifuddin's memorandum of 25 November (see Document 440 and note 3 thereto).

7 On 11 December, the BBC reported that the Netherlands Prime Minister would leave The Hague by air for Batavia on 13 December.

The Ministers for Social Affairs and Overseas Territories were to follow on 17 December. In a cablegram dispatched on 12 December, Officer reported to the Department of External Affairs that the principle aim of the mission was to get in touch with the governments of the various Dutch sponsored states in the NEI and to survey the general situation, but not to take part in discussions with the Committee of Good Offices.

8 The Department of External Affairs recommended on IS December that Palar not make any statement, adding that the question of whether the Linggadjati Agreement was acceptable to both parties as a basis of settlement could be left to the Committee of Good Offices to ascertain.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]