389 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 310 BATAVIA, 19 December 1948


Following is text referred to in my immediately preceding telegram. [1]

On December 11th 1948 the Netherlands Government informed the Committee of Good Offices that with sincere regret it had reached the conclusion that in view of the attitude of the Republican Government, which does not in fact recognize the truce agreement nor the principles for a political settlement which were signed on board the U.S.S. RENVILLE on January 17th, 1948; further negotiations and discussions either directly with the Republic or under the auspices of the Committee had become futile.

Ever since the proclamation of the Republic in Indonesia on August 17th, 1945, the Netherlands Government has patiently laboured to arrive at an agreement by which the Republic of Indonesia would become integrated in the proposed United States of Indonesia. By signing the agreement of Linggadjati and Renville principles, the Netherlands Government has given proof of its sincere desire to proceed as quickly as possible with the creation of a sovereign federal state in Indonesia.

The failure of the Republic to co-operate in the implementation of these agree-ments prevents the creation of the U.S. of Indonesia on the proposed date of January 1, 1949. As this date approaches, the internal conditions of Indonesia become more and more critical, as a consequence of acts of violence against Indonesian and Netherlands officials and private persons, and the infiltration by armed groups and because of determined efforts made by organisations and individuals, acting under direct or indirect responsibility of the Republican Government to impede political, social and economic organisation of territories outside actual Republic control.

The situation has now so far deteriorated that the Netherlands Government has been obliged to authorise high representative of the crown to take without any further delay such measures as he considers necessary to re-establish conditions of peace and security in the whole of Indonesia. The purpose of the action which is about to be undertaken will be to create conditions in which the population of the whole of Indonesia can freely decide to govern themselves, without being constantly exposed to the threat and intimidations of irresponsible elements.

Since the Netherlands communication to the Committee of Good Offices on December 11th, 1948, a determined effort has been made by some powers with which the Netherlands Government is happy to entertain most cordial and friendly relations to induce the Government of the Republic to revise its attitude. For this gesture the Netherlands Government has great appreciation.

The Republican Premier and Vice President in a letter [2] which was received on December 14th 1948 reiterated his personal desire, which the Netherlands Government has never doubted, to make further efforts to reconcile the Netherlands and Republican points of view. In order to leave no possible avenue for reaching an agreement unexplored, the Netherlands Government by a communication [3] through the United States representative on the Committee of Good Offices requested formal assurances that a binding declaration would be forthwith received from the Republican Government concerning [some of the most essential points which were discussed in Mr. Hatta's letter. Before this letter had been] [4] transmitted, the Republican Government, in an official statement [5], expressed views concerning basic issues in the dispute which cannot be reconciled with the declarations in Mr. Hatta's letter. This official communication of the Republican Government confirmed the Netherlands Government's [preoccupation] that Mr. Hatta's conciliatory views were his own and not necessar[il]y those of his government.

While the Netherlands Government was awaiting a reply to their communication, the departure of the President Sukarno and six of his Ministers on an official visit to India was announced, [thereby establishing beyond doubt that the highest Republican authorities were unwilling to enter into further dicussions with the Netherlands. Dr. Hatta is Premier of a so-called Presidential Cabinet, which therefore is directly responsible to the Chief of State, so that President] Sukarno's departure and the fact that the Netherlands Government has received information that no reply can be expected have placed the Netherlands Government in a position where no intervention from part of international organisations or of friendly powers can be of further assistance and when it has no other course but to carry out on the basis of its undiminished responsibility for the state of affairs in Indonesia, those measures which are indispensable to the creation of conditions, which will enable Indonesia to take its place among other nations of the world as a sovereign and independent nation, freely linked with the Netherlands in a Netherlands Indonesian Union.

The Netherlands Government will not go back on, or revoke any of the pledges which it has formally made with regard to the future of Indonesia, but it will not permit extremist or Communist groups to prevent the realisation of aspirations of the vast majority of the Indonesian population. The Netherlands Government is deeply convinced that only by following the course of action on which it has now embarked, these pledges can be fulfilled at the earliest possible moment. The Netherlands Government sincerely hopes that the Governments of all friendly nations will understand and support this policy.

1 Document 387.

2 See Document 370.

3 See Document 381.

4 Words in square brackets in this Document have been inserted from a copy on file AA:A4357/2, 48/254, vi.

5 This is presumably a reference to an official communique of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia dated 16 December. The section of the communique on the TNI reads: 'there is no intention of seeking the incorporation of the TNI as such in the Federal army to be created'.

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