83 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 178 BATAVIA, 14 June 1947


My telegram [174]. [1]

Palace opinion (Van Mook and associates) has definitely hardened into regarding Indonesian reply as unsatisfactory, and Schermerhorn and Van Poll now understood to share the same view.

Schermerhorn told U.K. Consul-General yesterday that though he had returned [2] prepared, if not instructed, to persevere with negotiations and avoid force, now he had been sadly disillusioned, principally by intercepts of Republican messages which convinced him of absence of good faith on Republican side. There were thus two remaining alternatives: getting out altogether or taking strong action, of which the former was not to be thought of. He thought that any military action taken would be conducted in as humane a way as possible avoiding bloodshed if possible. He secretly confirmed recent hints that a substantial fifth column exists in the Republican camp which is prepared to co-operate with a Dutch move in the interior.

Today's press quotes Commission-General spokesman as saying that it is not yet certain whether Commission-General's advice to Dutch Government will be ready before cabinet meeting next Monday.

The present situation is thus distinctly unpromising.

1 Amended by hand. The text originally read: '147'. Dispatched on 11 June, cablegram 174 reported that the Indonesian reply to the Commission-General's proposals of 27 May was being closely analysed by the Dutch authorities in Batavia.

2 Schermerhorn and Van Poll had returned to Batavia on 12 June from The Hague where they had conferred with the Netherlands Government.

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