142 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K117 BATAVIA, 22 May 1948, 12.45 p.m.


Analysis of the recent developments here suggests that the Dutch policy as planned by Van Mook may be as follows (1) The Dutch have no intention of making any concessions to reach a political settlement with the Republic. They will represent breakdown in talks as resulting from the Republic's refusal to accept the sovereignty of the Netherlands and therefore a refusal to accept political agreement in terms of the Renville principles.

(2) When Good Offices Committee reports to the Security Council either admitting failure or requesting power to press its own proposals, the Netherlands will oppose extension of the powers using the old argument of sovereignty and insisting that the dispute is an internal matter. As a last resort they would rely on the French veto.

(3) Pressure on the Netherlands by the Council, and by Australia, India, America, etc. outside the Council, could be used by Van Mook to overcome political and constitutional difficulties in the Netherlands which stand in the way of any sort of settlement in Indonesia. (There appears to be a large body of opinion in the Netherlands which is anxious to retain tight control of Indonesia and which will probably hamper Van Mook's personal plans for the United States of Indonesia).

(4) These pressures together with pressures from his 'Provisional Government' will be used by Van Mook to justify the transformation of the Bandoeng Conference, which is to meet on May 27th (see my telegram K110 [1] paragraph 2) into a Constituent Assembly.

(5) This Constituent Assembly which is under Dutch championship and control will then draft a constitution for a United States of Indonesia and a Union with the Netherlands satisfactory to the Dutch. This will obviate the need for a round table conference on union.

(6) The Constituent Assembly will also arrange for a provisional parliament. Both the interim Government and the United States of Indonesia will therefore be formed without the Republic.

(7) The blockade of the Republic will continue and anti-Republican propaganda intensified in an endeavour to break the Republican Government.

(8) The Dutch will endeavour to withdraw from the limelight and emphasize that any conflict is between the Republicans and other Indonesians. Such a situation would make it easier to justify military action as a means of restoring law and order. I feel however that the Dutch believe they can get their way without military action particularly as the latter involves a risk of Security Council action.

(9) The Dutch have set up a precedent for the reestablishment of self rulers by arranging for three cornered agreements in East Indonesia between the State, the Sultans and the Netherlands.

These agreements leave the sovereignty with the self rulers except for such special matters as foreign affairs and provide for the union as a last court of appeal in the event of disputes.

According to this analysis the Bandoeng Conference is the key to Dutch policy. It is significant that this morning the Dutch by decree number one of the 'Provisional Government' banned the National Front Conference which Republican supporters were to hold in Batavia next week as a counter to the Bandoeng Conference (see my telegram K111 [2]).

1 Document 128.

2 Dispatched on 11 May. It reported that the leader of the Batavia Front Nationale, a pro-Republican movement, had accepted an invitation from the GAPKI (Federation of Indonesian independence Movements) to hold a conference in Batavia to discuss problems connected with the USI and the Netherlands-Indonesian Union. Front Nationale representatives from Sumatra, Borneo, East Indonesia and some Dutch-held parts of Java were to attend what Critchley reported was a counter to the Bandung Conference of non-Republican states (see Documents .128 and 138).

[AA:A1838, 403/2/2/2, iv]