405 Cutts to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K217 BATAVIA, 20 December 1948


It appears from your telegram No. 325 [1] that the United Kingdom Government was not exactly informed regarding the final breakdown of the direct talks in Indonesia. The disposal of the Republican Army was not one of the points of disagreement leading to the breakdown, and it is unlikely that the Republic would have made a basic issue of the absorption of the T.N.I. into the Federal Army as individuals rather than as complete units. The question of a unified command did indeed give rise to difficulty but the issue upon which agreement was finally found impossible was whether the Crown Representative should be empowered to use the armed forces for internal security purposes against the wishes of the Interim Federal Government. Hatta's letter of 13th December (K.209 [2]) makes it clear that the Republican attitude on this point was not inconsistent with recognition of Netherlands sovereignty (see K.198, K.200, K.201, K.202 [3] and the Republican report on the direct talks annexed to the Committee's Special Report of 12th December). [4]

1 Dispatched on 16 December, it conveyed summaries of Chifley's reply (Document 372) to Attlee's comments on the Indonesian situation (Document 369).

2 Document 370.

3 Documents 341, 346, 348 and 350.

4 i.e. the report of the Republican Delegation dated 7 December (see Document 366).

[AA:A4357/2, 48/254, vi]