380 Kevin to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 494 NEW DELHI, 17 December 1948, 9 p.m.

IMPORTANT SECRET

Our 493.

Following is text:-

'At our request you have frequently informed the United States - His Majesty's Government of our concern over developments in Indonesia. These developments have been considered somewhat in isolation as a matter between the Republic of Indonesia and the Netherlands Government. In view however of recent events, not only in Indonesia but in China and other parts of South East Asia, the Prime Minister thinks that you should convey the view and apprehensions of the Government of India to the State Department - His Majesty's Government in somewhat the following terms:-

Begins. 'The Government of India are deeply concerned over the breakdown of negotiations for a political settlement in Indonesia.

Apart from immediate issues involved, they view it in the larger context of developments in China and all over South East Asia.

There can be little doubt that the whole of this vast region will be powerfully affected not only by the failure of these negotiations and what might follow, but also by the attitude taken up by the Netherlands Government. Their refusal to recognise the urgency of granting national freedom to Indonesian people and their desire to continue in some form or other, both political and economic domination of Indonesia, raises a vital question for the whole of Asia. Not only the Netherlands Government but also the French Government have been engaged in the conflict with national aspirations in South East Asia. Both of these Governments are associated with the Western Union in Europe which is being helped in many ways by other powers. This help provided under the Marshall Plan or in other ways thus seems to be utilized for purposes opposed to movements for national freedom in South East Asia and in attempt to maintain colonial domination. Intense popular feelings roused against Netherlands Government in Indonesia and elsewhere as well as French Government in Indo, China have thus a tendency to become hostile to the concept of Western Union and Marshall Aid Plan. This is most regrettable. We [1] that United States - United Kingdom Governments have strongly advised Netherlands Government to desist taking military action.

We appreciate this but it is clear that this advice and our negative attitude has not produced much result and friendly feelings existing in South East Asia for the United States - United Kingdom Governments are being affected.

It will be remembered that even proposals of Good Offices Committee were not accepted by Netherlands Government.

The issue is no longer one of coming to compromise about some relatively minor matter but more basic one of the Colonial Powers' agreement to grant National freedom without any reservation whatever. Once this is done, it will not be difficult to determine the nature of association which would exist between these territories and countries with whom they have had long connections. The United States of America - United Kingdom are in the best position to judge how this can be done. If this is so done and the situation deteriorates still further there will be far reaching consequences not merely in South East Asia but elsewhere. Anti Social forces which are already on the march will be let loose and the precarious balance existing in the world today will be affected. Government of India view this prospect with considerable concern and we therefore earnestly urge action as indicated in this telegram should be taken before the situation gets altogether out of control.

1 A sign here indicates 'word mutilated'. The sentence should presumably read 'We understand...'.

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