40 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram UN73 NEW YORK, 3 February 1948, 8.04 p.m.


1. As reported by Officer [1], Members of the Committee met the Netherlands Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers while we were passing through Amsterdam. The Prime Minister stated that the Opposition were planning to ask a series of questions in the nature of a censure motion on 3rd February. It would be alleged that the Committee, by its statement in paragraph 2 of (S/AC10/CONF 2/13), had recognised the right of the Republicans to continue inter alia their foreign representation. The Government had assured the Opposition that they would enter into no commitment beyond the eighteen agreed political principles. He said that unless a clarifying statement were made by the Committee, which he could use in Parliament, to the effect that the Committee had not made any pronouncement regarding the Republic's status, his Government might fall. I was satisfied from the tenor of our conversations that the fears of the Cabinet regarding their position were genuine, and this was confirmed later by officer as was also the fact that a new Government would be intransigent.

2. Van Zeeland and Graham made it clear that they would make a statement of their own responsibility if I would not join them. I therefore agreed with my colleagues that the Committee should draft in New York a statement which the Netherlands Government could use provided this statement did not refer specifically to foreign representation and simply made it clear that nothing the Committee had said could or was intended to change the position of the parties.

3. Our first work after our arrival in New York was to prepare the statement (summary in immediately preceding telegram) [3] which Van Kleffens considers will be useful to his Government, although it does not in any way affect the political principles or prejudice the position of the Republic.

4. If you consider it advisable, you might let Critchley know this background so that he can be in a position to explain the circumstances discreetly to the Republic authorities.

5. The Committee should complete the report about Friday, after return of Graham who leaves for Washington today. This morning we made formal calls on acting Secretary General and President of the Security Council. McNaughton will probably call meeting of Council on Indonesian question later next week after members have had opportunity to study the report.

1 Dispatched on 31 January, Cablegram Hag 16 reported the discussion between the Committee of Good Offices and members of the Netherlands Government.

2 See Document 33, paragraph 5.

3 Cablegram UN72, dispatched on 3 February, conveyed a summary of the statement made by the Committee of Good Offices in New York on 2 February the full text of which is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, Special Supplement No.1, pp.69-71.

[AA:A1838, 854/10/4/2, iv]