126 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 109 BATAVIA, 6 May 1948

Your telegram No. 108. [1]

On May 1st 'Aneta' published a Reuter report dated April 29th that Tjoa had 'called for an immediate session of the Security Council to consider the "alarming situation" in Indonesia' and had accused the Dutch of violating the terms of the cease-fire agreement and of imposing restrictions on plebiscite propaganda in Netherlands- held territory. Within an hour of its appearance, Van Vredenburch, as acting chairman of the Netherlands Delegation, brought this report to the attention of the Committee of Good Offices by letter and asked that it be discussed by the Steering Committee as soon as possible. Accordingly a meeting of the Steering Committee was held yesterday at which Van Vredenburch also referred to an article in the New York Times of April 30th in which Tjoa was reported as having accused the Netherlands (inter alia) of a tight naval blockade of the Republic and of delaying the negotiations.

In this article Tjoa was also attributed with an attack on the Committee of Good Offices for not having dealt with or acknowledged many protests by the Republic during the past two months.

2. At the meeting, Van Vredenburch launched a most heated attack on Tjoa's reported statements, claiming that they contained many offensive inaccuracies and that any approach to the Security Council, official or unofficial, constituted a breach of the procedural agreement between the parties that reports to the Security Council would only be made after reference to the other party and to the Committee of Good Offices. He demanded that the Republic repudiate the reported statements.

3. Roem replied that he had received a telegram from Tjoa that he had been incorrectly reported by Reuter, as he had not asked for a special meeting of the Security Council but had merely held a press conference at which he had given details of conditions in Indonesia. Roem also contended that- (a) Tjoa had not acted on any instructions from the Republican Government but had addressed the press in an unofficial and personal capacity, which he was entitled to do;

(b) Even as reported, Tjoa's statements did not constitute a breach of the procedural agreement which covered only reports to Security Council;

(c) The Republic could not repudiate Tjoa's actions until it had received further particulars from him, particularly in regard to the New York Times article which the Republican delegation had seen for the first time at the meeting.

4. After a most acrimonious discussion it was agreed that the Committee should [issue] a press release [2] referring to the Netherlands objections to the reports and to Roem's statements thereon.

5. Van Vredenburch held a press conference in Batavia on May 3rd in which he blamed the Republic for the disappointing progress of the negotiations at Kalioerang, gave the Netherlands view on several of the important issues now under negotiation and disparaged the Republican attitude on some points. Following are excerpts from the 'Aneta' report of his conference:

(a) 'The Republic is apparently, and incorrectly, of the opinion that "time is on her side". Incorrectly, because it should be clear to everyone that Indonesia can only be benefited by a speedy solution of the conflict which has been kept pending for so long.' (b) Regarding foreign relations:

'What the Republican government has done in this field has not been conducive to raising the reputation of Indonesia abroad.' [3]

6. Van Vredenburch's unseemly haste to protest to the Committee regarding Tjoa's reported statements, his subsequent press conference, and his uncompromising attitude at yesterday's meeting, combined with recent unilateral press communiques by the Netherlands regarding alleged truce violations [4], cast considerable doubt on Dutch sincerity and seem to be another attempt to cloud the real issues with petty complaints which are given a disproportionate importance in order to create an impression that the Republic is guilty of bad faith. In view of these developments, closely following the turmoil over the Jogja station 'incident" the atmosphere at present is anything but favourable.

7. Republican reports indicate that Dutch restrictions on Republican propaganda in anticipation of the plebiscite are not confined to East Java but apply to all Netherlands-occupied territory. As far as West Java is concerned, this will emerge from the Committee's recently presented report. [6]

8. Discussions on the plebiscite have now reached a deadlock. The Netherlands insist that the plebiscite must be held throughout the whole of Java, Sumatra and Madura (including Republican areas) not less than six months and not more than twelve months after the signing of the political agreement, while the Republican view is that it should be held in Netherlands-occupied territory only and not less than six months and not more than twelve months after the Renville agreement. The Netherlands interpretation appears to be more in line with the actual wording of No. 4 of the six additional principles [7], but the history of the negotiations and the logic of the situation would seem to support the Republican interpretation. The proposals set out in my telegram no. 106 [8] would, if accepted, overcome this deadlock by avoiding the plebiscite altogether.

9. The Committee of Good Offices is preparing a progress report on the negotiations, which should be presented to the Security Council within a week. The report on Madura will probably follow a few days later. [1]

10. Will comment later on penultimate sentence your telegram.

1 Dispatched on 4 May, it conveyed the text of Document 124.

2 Released on 6 May. It reported, inter alia, a statement by Roem that Tjoa had not been given instructions by the Government of the Republic to ask for a special session of the Security Council, that Tjoa had spoken 'personally and unofficially', and that Tjoa's statements did not reflect, 'in several respects', the views of the Republican Delegation.

3 On 5 April publicity was given to an alleged Republican violation of the Truce Agreement.

4 Roem replied to Van Vredenburch's allegations in a letter to the Chairman of the Committee of Good Offices on 7 May. He protested against the Netherlands Delegation's 'switch' to a policy of freedom of publicity and rejected Van Vredenburch's accusation that the Republican Delegation was 'conducting a policy of delay'.

5 See Documents 114 and 115.

6 See Document 115.

7 See Principle 4 of Document 24.

8 Document 125.

9 The report of the Committee of Good Offices on Madura in fact preceded its Second Interim Report (see note 4 to Document 131).The text of the report on Madura is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, Supplement for June, 18 May 1948, PP.25-41.

[AA:A10158, 118]