161 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K124 [KALIURANG], 3 June 1948


The Americans now appear to accept an analysis of the Dutch policy on the lines of my telegram K.117. [1]

2. The Committee intends to forward the Republic's protest against the BANDUNG Conference along with its own comments and comments of the Netherlands by the end of this week. [2] The Committee's stronger attitude (see paragraph 5 my telegram K.120 [3]) seems to have had effect. Van Mook in his opening speech at Bandung said that the Conference was not a constituent assembly and described it as a consultative body-quite a marked difference from earlier public statements.

3. The Americans with the State Department's backing accept the need for the Committee to take a strong initiative as quickly as possible. They have accepted as a basis my revised proposals for a political settlement and a detailed scheme for elections to the constituent assembly. We hope to have a plan accepted by Committee so that a comprehensive plan or a series of leading questions can be presented formally to the parties next week.

4. The Committee's activities in the next month will be crucial.

The Dutch endeavour to keep things as quiet as possible during this period and are unlikely to force a breakdown of talks before the elections are held in Holland.

5. Military Situation. On present information Dutch military strength is 120,000 plus or minus 20,000 with paratroops and amphibious supporting elements. Offensive units have regrouped and would be able to commence military operations at short notice. The Americans now realise the possibility of another police action and it is intended that military observers of all nations should obtain as much data of Dutch military activities as possible. Our own report based on the investigations our own observers initiated three weeks ago should be ready in a few days.

6. Neher and Vredenburch are to see Hatta tomorrow not as members of a delegation but as representatives of the Netherlands Government.

1 Document 142.

2 The text of the report of the Committee of Good Offices to the Security Council on the Federal Conference opened in Bandung on 27 May, including the Republican letter of protest on 23 May and appendixes and annexes, is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, Supplement for June, pp.91- 118. The covering letter of the report is dated 4 June 1948.

3 Dispatched on 23 May, it reported that Dutch police had searched the houses of members of the Delegation of the Republic in Batavia. Paragraph 5 of this cablegram reported that the Committee of Good Offices, despite Dutch opposition, had issued a press statement making clear its own position on the search.

[AA:A1838, 854/10/4/2, vi]