254 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1052 WASHINGTON, 23 September 1948, 9.45 p.m.


Your 823. [1]


The Ambassador saw Butterworth, Director of office of Far Eastern Affairs this afternoon and stressed need to sustain Hatta and for continued U.S. firmness.

2. Butterworth recalled Stikker's statement on leaving Washington that he had 'not come to discuss further police action'. He attached no particular significance to Van Mook's offer of assistance [2], but said that if Van Mook and Hatta agreed on a particular course of action the United States would not regard it as their place to offer advice. (We suspect that Stikker discussed with the State Department the possibility of a request by Hatta for armed help, and that Van Mook was actually fishing for an invitation).

3. Butterworth agreed that all possible steps should be taken to strengthen Hatta's hands and said that the U.S. had in fact urged the Dutch to modify their policy of eviction of Republican families from Batavia.

4. Butterworth expressed great concern at the reservations contained in the Republican letter accompanying their acceptance of Cochran's proposals as a basis for negotiations. [3] Telegrams received by the State Department had not made clear exactly the purpose of the reservations. However, inclusion of the statement that the Republicans did not accept the proposals 'in whole or in part' seemed to indicate that the Republican Government were very luke warm even in accepting the proposals as a basis for negotiation. The U.S. regarded the proposals as extremely fair to the Republicans and thought they should be accepted unreservedly.

5. In reply to the question whether the Dutch were prepared to accept the proposals as a basis Butterworth gave no direct answer.

He said certain points in the proposals had been discussed with Stikker but that the U.S. had made it clear that the proper place for discussion was in Batavia.

6. Butterworth asked whether Cochran's proposals had the full support of Australia. We said that you were anxious that the Dutch should promptly and genuinely accept the proposals and that the U.S. should stand firm against substantial modifications. We had no doubt that Critchley was endeavouring secure equally prompt and genuine acceptance by the Republic.

7. We would appreciate confirmation that last statement is in fact the position.

1 Document 252.

2 See paragraph 3 of Document 251.

3 In a letter to the Committee of Good Offices dated 20 September (19/K/IV), the Republican Delegation accepted the Cochran proposals provided that it was understood that the Republic Government made no commitment to the underlying principles of the proposals, 'either as a whole or in part', and that it reserved the right, in the course of discussions, to take up any position which it might find desirable on the proposals

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