494 Critchley to Burton and Kirby [1]

Cablegram K32 BATAVIA, 30 December 1947, 5.50 p.m.


On Saturday night the Committee met the Dutch ministers (Beel, Drees, Jonkman and Neher), Van Mook, Vredenburch and Abdulkadir. I shall forward as soon as possible a comprehensive summary of the attitude of the ministers. [2] In brief the Netherlands want the world to know through the Committee that it is committed to the following policy on Indonesia.

(a) Indonesia will have full sovereignty based on the establishment of a United States of Indonesia which will be a member of the United Nations [3] and have equal status with the Netherlands.

(b) Policy will continue to be in accordance with Linggadjati, United States of Indonesia and Netherlands will be equal partners united in a union.

(c) Indonesian peoples will have self determination according to the principles of the United Nations.

(d) The United States of Indonesia will consist of a number of Negaras of equal status, the number being determined according to the wishes of the people.

(e) Sovereignty will belong to the federation and not the individual Negaras, therefore, there will be no foreign representation for Negaras, only for the United States of Indonesia.

(f) Consequently the Republic will have to give up aspirations to independent sovereignty as such and co-operate in the formation of the United States of Indonesia.

(g) The Republicans will not only participate in the administration of the Negaras but also in the United States of Indonesia. (The Dutch Prime Minister announced the [4] intention of using moderate elements in the Republic.) (h) Present movements towards organisation of political units are spontaneous.

(i) The Netherlands are obliged to hurry and much stress is placed on the vital importance of speed. They are being pushed by the peoples of Indonesia, East Sumatra, Borneo etc. to form the United States of Indonesia.

(j) The Netherlands will be responsible for Government over the intermediate period.

(k) It is intended to transfer authority to an interim federal government formed by Indonesians and including Republican leaders.

2. In answer to a query they all made it clear, on the prompting of Van Vredenburch and Van Mook, that an effective truce and restoration of law and order must precede a political agreement.

All three members of the Committee stressed that military and political proposals must be regarded as part of an integrated approach.

3. The Netherlands also presented a long paper on the latest plan.

[5] The principal objections are to- (a) The exception of West Java in paragraph 2 of annex 1. [6]

(b) The proposal for an immediate stand fast on present positions in this area.

(c) The attachment [of] annex 2 on political considerations. [7] They say 'as an agreement with the principles of the solution offered in these suggestions seems impossible, the annex should be withdrawn and memoranda requested of both parties should be taken as a starting point for political discussions'.

(d) The publication of annex 2 in its present form on the argument that 'the fear and unrest created by the policy of coercion [by] the Republic would be greatly increased if points 2 and 3 were put forward at this stage as essential to the attainment of a just and lasting settlement'.

4. The Netherlands delegation agree to paragraphs three, four, six and seven of annex one and there is also agreement with sections of other paragraphs such as paragraph five, annex one. These could probably be extended in consultation.

5. In general it may be concluded that the Netherlands would accept the truce proposals on basis of the Van Mook line but will not withdraw her forces and will not accept the political principles suggested by the Committee.

6. The Republic will probably accept the Committee's plan today or tomorrow but will make most of the points set out in paragraph three of my telegram K.31. [8] All elements in the Government and parties are behind this acceptance including the Masjoemi.

7. The Committee arranged for Sjarifoeddin to have a private conversation with Beel yesterday. However, Sjarifoeddin has been obliged to remain in Djokjakarta to clean up a small conspiratorial element in the community, police force and army which is spreading propaganda that he is pro-Dutch. The Republic suspects that this element is Dutch inspired. Sjarifoeddin's stay at Djokjakarta has been explained by sickness which is at least partly true. Setiadjit saw Beel in his place and received little beyond an appeal that the Republic must accept truce and co- operate with the Netherlands in the next few days.

8. There are rumours that a further police action is contemplated on 2nd January. As far as I can gather this is an old plan of the Dutch and I hope does not take full account of recent developments. Certainly the Committee's presence in Indonesia must be an important brake.

9. My immediate objectives are- (a) To get a report to the Security Council as early as possible with paragraph 5(e) of my telegram K.26 [9] in mind. This procedure depends on American support and Graham and Van Zeeland are still hanging back.

(b) Publication of latest plan and response of parties as soon as possible. Graham's support seems assured.

(c) Full exploration immediately of Netherlands position to see how far we can get them to accept the Committee's plan.

10. With regard to (c) the Committee agreed today- (a) To prepare a paper by tomorrow morning seeking a reconciliation between the Netherlands proposals for a political settlement and the Committee's own principles. This does not imply any withdrawal of the Committee's plan on which it is agreed we stand firm. But although the Netherlands in their reply rejected annex 2 their comments on individual principles offer scope for compromise and clarification. This clarification will be necessary whether the Netherlands are acting in good faith [10] or not. Moreover, I am hoping that a carefully prepared paper will strengthen the Committee's position and make a Dutch refusal difficult.

(b) That the Committee should endeavour to see the Netherlands ministers again before their departure and if possible after consideration of the Republic's reply.

1 Kirby left Sydney by air on 29 December and arrived in Batavia on 31 December.

2 Not printed.

3 A sign here indicates 'probable meaning of mutilated group'.

4 A sign here indicates 'probable meaning of mutilated group'.

5 See Documents 488, 489, 490.

6 See Document 489.

7 See Document 490.

8 Document 491.

9 Document 482.

10 A sign here indicates 'probable meaning of mutilated group'.

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