85 Officer to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram Hague 91 THE HAGUE, 16 June 1947, 4.54 p.m.



My telegrams 88 and 89. [1] I discussed the situation this morning at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Van Vredenburch, the Political Director. I found him very pessimistic and very much on the defensive. He emphasized that the Indonesian reply was evasive and an attempt to secure further concessions, that further discussions were useless and that the only possible alternative was the use of 'limited' force. He said that there would be no decision until the report of the Commission-General was received within the next day or so.

2. I urged that his views were too pessimistic and defeatist. The Indonesian reply was a document drafted by orientals who could not give way or they lost face and should be judged as such. If it was lengthy and legalistic it was no more so than the Dutch note. On many points the divergence of the view was not too wide and now there should be, as quickly as possible, discussions round a table in an attempt to find an agreed course of action. Finally there could never be 'limited' use of force. Once it was used it would be absolute and would be condemned in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia where the Netherlands would forfeit all sympathy.

3. Van Vredenburch took my comments with good grace but repeated that it would be useless to have further discussions. He gave me the impression of a man whose advice had been disregarded and who knew of a decision of which he disapproved.

1 Documents 76 and 81.

[AA:A1838/283, 403/3/1/1, vii]