370 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K209 BATAVIA, 14 December 1948, 11.30 a.m.


Cochran made a return trip to Djokjakarta yesterday. He brought back with him a personal letter from Hatta [1], which sets out informally the latter's views in the light of the Netherlands letter of 11th December (K.205 [2]).

2. Hatta's letter, which has obviously been drafted by the United States delegate, is conciliatory in tone and seeks to meet the Netherlands insistence on legal sovereignty without giving way on the practical need of safeguards against its abuse. It states that the Netherlands note reflects a basic misunderstanding of the Republican position and makes the following points:-

(a) The responsible officials of the Republic accept fully and without qualification or reservation the Renville principles [3] and recognise that thereunder the Netherlands is to remain sovereign in Indonesia in the interim period.

(b) A sovereign power may, entirely [consistent] [4] with its sovereignty, voluntarily subject the actual exercise of its power to self imposed restraints and limitations.

(c) To reach a fair and reasonable settlement the Republic has offered many concessions involving the waiving of benefits accruing to it under Renville. It asks the Netherlands in return to impose upon itself certain limitations on the exercise of its sovereign power. The Netherlands could give effect to these limitations in its own laws in the same way as it at present directs its officials to carry out their functions in accordance with definite standards and by the prescribed procedures.

(d) The Republic is prepared to recognise the power of high representative to veto acts of the Federal Interim Government but asks that definite standards be set up for the exercise of this power.

(e) The Republic is prepared to concede that high representative be given emergency powers and as part of an overall agreement that he be the ultimate judge of the necessity to exercise these powers. Again definite standards should be laid down to govern high representative's decision.

(f) The Republic is willing that when the high representative has invoked his emergency powers he be authorized to employ federal forces and 'if it is evident to him that these forces are insufficient, to employ Netherlands forces as supplementary forces to the extent required for the protection of public peace and security'.

3. Hatta considers that in informal talks the parties came close together on most fundamental issues and that even with the admittedly complex problem of armed forces, progress has been made. He considers that an amicable arrangement on outstanding questions can be worked out in negotiations and asks Cochran's continued presence as a member of the Committee to bring about a resumption of negotiations into which the Republic is ready to enter immediately.

4. This letter will doubtless be used by the United States to seek resumption of negotiations though final success will continue to depend on inducing the Netherlands to accept the practical limitations on the exercise of their sovereignty.

1 See note 9 to Document 368.

2 Document 364.

3 Documents 23 and 24.

4 Inserted from a copy on file AA:A4357/2, 48/254, vi.

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