114 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K102 KALIURANG, 15 April 1948

Delegations were welcomed at Djocjacarta station on Monday evening by a large boisterous crowd. [1] Although no attempt was made to control excesses of enthusiasm, with the result that the delegations were subjected to many inconveniences and delays, the crowd appeared essentially good-humoured as was confirmed by Australian and American military observers who remained at the station until all passengers had left. The Dutch, however, have complained of insults, threats of violence, blows and spitting. On instructions from Van Mook, the Netherlands delegation refuses to remain at Djocja and Kalioerang, which are peaceful, unless a more satisfactory situation prevails. In the meantime the meetings have been cancelled.

2. The present crisis will probably be overcome. But this Dutch exaggeration of small incidents illustrates the difficulties in the way of a speedy settlement. I cannot avoid the suspicion that the Dutch are looking to a change of world opinion which would enable them, if necessary, to make incidents an excuse to settle the dispute by force. The Australian delegation is pressing for factual reports by the Committee in conformity with the Security Council resolutions as the best means of keeping world opinion properly informed. The other delegations, however, are unresponsive.

3. We have prepared a draft report on West Java and are seeking earliest agreement. It is already clear that we will have to submit a minority report on the Dutch economic blockade of Republican West Java. [2]

4. This minority report would be on the following lines:

(1) The Australian Representative considers the Security Council resolution requires the Committee to report on political developments in the whole of West Java and not only in Netherlands controlled areas. Additional information based on reports of Committee's military observers is therefore submitted on the political conditions in Bantam.

(2) In Bantam political conditions appear to be satisfactory and improving.

(3) At the same time living standards have deteriorated and this is accentuated by strict Dutch blockade by sea and across status quo line.

(4) The consequence is a critical shortage of urgent consumer goods.

(5) The military observers are of the opinion that the restrictions on trade, communication and travel might lead to the development of an isolated state, which would not be in the interests of progress and might finally prove an embarrassment to administration by any national government.

(6) An early lifting of these restrictions, which are in direct violation of Article 6 of the Truce Agreement [3], would therefore seem most desirable.

1 The Committee of Good Offices and the Netherlands and Republican Delegations proceeded by train on 12 April to Djokjakarta and from there to Kaliurang in order to hold three weeks of meetings in Republican territory.

2 See Document 105.

3 Article 6 of Document 22.

[AA:A4357/2, 48/254, ii]