244 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1028 WASHINGTON, 14 September 1948, 7.48 p.m.


State Department today asked us to explain to you the circumstances in which the new plan [1] for political settlement was conveyed by Cochran to the Netherlands and Republican authorities on 11th September without prior consultation with Critchley. (We understand similar action is being taken through the United States Ambassador in Canberra). [2]

2. According to the Department spokesman (Lacy of South East Asian Division) the United States was convinced that some step had to be taken immediately to support Hatta otherwise there was danger of substitution of Communist Government. Cochran was therefore instructed to submit proposals immediately in Batavia and Djocjakarta simultaneously. The Netherlands Embassy in Washington was also requested to advise The Hague so that the Netherlands authorities in Indonesia could not present distorted picture condemning proposals before the Netherlands Government could consider them. We understand copy was given to Critchley.

3. Lacy professed to be hopeful that the new plan will be acceptable to both parties. He described changes from the Critchley - Du Bois plan [3], which gave recognition in the preamble of Netherlands Sovereignty in the interim period, as 'Tinsel' to make the plan more palatable to Netherlands. He admitted that even the present draft had been difficult to get through the States-General, but hoped that Netherlands would accept.

4. The United States are clearly concerned at growing Communist strength in the Republic, and Lacy cited with approval the provision in the draft by which the High Commissioner with the concurrence of the Prime Minister can assume wide powers in the event of break down of internal order in any state. He said such power was essential to support Hatta which could naturally not seek Dutch assistance.

5. Lacy said the United States felt it was preferable on this occasion that the press should not be informed. So far no publicity had been given.

6. The United States have not yet received any reaction from either party. Lacy undertook to advise us of any developments which might not be known to Critchley.

1 See Documents 237 and 238.

2 See note 2 to Document 239.

3 Document 173.

[AA:A1838, 403/3/1/1, xviii]