449 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 281 PARIS, 23 December 1948, 7.20 p.m.


Security Council 23rd. [1] Morning China disagreed with Netherlands as to competence. Dutch [had] complied with neither part of August resolution, tribute paid to work of G.O.C., Netherlands had spoken of unbridgeable gaps but it was difficult to see that military action was the way to bridge them or to solve political problems. Real co-operation can never be built upon employment of force. Full support United States Resolution. [2]

Australia (Hodgson) began by regretting that Council had not considered question last week and questioned propriety of Chairman both as to not calling meeting at request of Indonesia, and not calling one on Sunday after United States - Australian request had been received. Three-day delay to suit U.S.S.R. was also questioned. As was the case last year Council was called upon to take immediate and effective action. Then as now, members had tried to delay matters on grounds of competency. Republic measured up to all attributes of broad definition of a state, and United States, United Kingdom and others had recognised de facto. By agreements with it, Netherlands itself had recognised it. The reasons why reference to Article 39 had been cut out was to avoid long procedural wrangle last year.

Last year's order was for cease fire and peaceful settlement, this has two aspects:-(a) Netherlands said it would observe and act on resolution in good faith. This has been violated.

(b) irrespective of competence it was a decision of Council and Article 25 [3] applies. This binds Netherlands absolutely.

Netherlands have therefore perpetrated first clear cut deliberate violation of Charter. Full consequences of violation of Charter, if the Council faced up to the matter would be expulsion from United Nations.

Hodgson then traced history of Council resolutions and the place of G.O.C. and showed that it was a story of continuing violations of decisions of Council. Offers of G.O.C. to assist had been ignored and early in year no progress was made owing to differing interpretations. In circumstances it was clear duty of G.O.C. to formulate proposals and United States and Australian Representatives did so. [4] These proved abortive because of veto of Belgian Representative who prevented proposals from becoming document of the Committee. Dutch rejected proposals although they have never given good reasons for so doing. When Council considered matter at this time Chinese proposal to have proposals brought before Council defeated [5] and recent events may be attributable to failure of Council to act on this occasion.

Nothing then happened until Cochran proposals [6] which were amended by Dutch. Despite Indonesian acceptance of both proposals and then amendments progress was still not made.

We came then to recent tragic decision of Dutch. Fourth Report of G.O.C. [7] noted a serious deterioration in political situation, strain on the truce and economic difficulties in Republic. On 13th December Hatta's letter to Cochran [8] offered substantial concessions. Reply was delayed four days then came in form of ultimatum. [9] The Republic must accept in advance all points under negotiation'. Cochran rightly described this as a demand for surrender. [10] Republic was given 18 hours when members of Cabinet were widely separated. This was worse than Hitler's attack on Netherlands 1940. it was the same as last year when they arrested very people with whom they were negotiating. We are told that is a 'police action' but whole nature of operations proves that planning must have been initiated weeks ago. Zero hour must have had full concurrence of Netherlands Government but as late as last Friday Van Royen, no doubt because he was not informed, had told Hodgson that door was open and that negotiations would continue.

Why had Dutch taken this action? To subjugate the people, to exploit the economic resources of N.E.I., to restore a dead colonial system, or to create Federal democratic N.E.I. Although we may never know real reasons, we can assess possible consequences of loss of good will, tolerance and co-operations, unrest in South East Asia and a constant drain on resources.

Present operations may well not lead to success as there are already rumours of revolt and resignations in Netherlands areas which give lie to claims of loyal co-operation made by Dutch.

Four clear facts emerge, one failure of Netherlands to abide by decisions of Council, two disregard for political settlement outlined by Renville, three violation of Article 10 of Renville

Cochran proposals.

Long term problem such as elections and form of Government etc.

could be left aside for time being. In Australia view United States resolution does not fully meet facts. Only Netherlands should be called on, there is no reason for calling on G.O.C. to assess responsibility as the facts are clear and, in any event, this is responsibility of Council. If Council is to continue its work later it will be necessary for Indonesian political leaders, to be released while members of Council should be considering new powers and functions for G.O.C. This could be gone into later.

Australian Government was deeply concerned with question which directly affects whole of South East Asia, Dutch action towards [12] the strife and strikes, loss of trade and commerce and resources vital to world revival. It gives encouragement to extremist forces to take charge in areas vital to us.

Repercussions in N.E.I. could cause big breach of international peace.

Netherlands claim only courses were either to give in to Republic or to take police action. Council has laid down third alternative of negotiation and if necessary, arbitration, which is true alternative which should have been followed.

Text of Australian amendment-delete last paragraph and substitute- (c) Immediately to release President and other political prisoners arrested since 18th December.

Instructs Committee of Good Offices - 1. To observe and report to Security Council on compliance with sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) above and 2. To ensure that there are no reprisals or punitive action against individuals. [13]

Syria will support these, therefore ensuring a vote.

[AA:A1838, 854/10/4/3, iiib]

1 The full text of the discussion on Indonesia in the Security Council on the morning of 23 December is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No.133, 390th Meeting, pp.1-18.

2 See Document 407.

3 Article 25 of the United Nations Chance has members of the United Nations 'agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the ... Charter'.

4 See Document 173.

5 See Documents 202 and 203.

6 See Documents 237 and 238.

7 See note a to Document 319.

8 See Document 370.

9 See Document 381.

10 See Document 382.

11 See Article 10 of Document 22.

12 The word 'towards' should presumably read 'causes'.

13 The full text of the Australian amendment is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No. 133, 390th Meeting, pp.15-16.

[11], four disregard for reasonable settlement along lines of