46 Eaton to Burton
Memorandum BATAVIA, 6 February 1948
With reference to my telegram No.20 of 4th February concerning the formation of a new Republican Cabinet , I forward herewith a list of the new Cabinet members.
2. Hatta announced the Cabinet on 31st January. It consists of fifteen Ministers, five of whom are non-party. The Masjumi is most strongly represented, with four seats, all of which are important, and it is followed by the National Party (P.N.I.), with three seats. The Catholic and the Christian Parties each have one seat.
The Socialist Party and other left-wing elements are no longer represented and the Cabinet may be said to be strongly right-wing- in relation to domestic policies.
3. The Cabinet represents a victory for the Masjumi, for it was on account of its pressure that the new Cabinet was formed. The Masjumi refused to support the Truce Agreement unless it was given a stronger position in the Government and it was thus able to force Sjarifoeddin's resignation and the formation of the new Cabinet. The left-wing parties have strongly objected to the key positions held by the Masjumi and the National Party and rejected an offer by Hatta to give three seats to left-wing leaders, Sjarifoeddin, Abdulmadjid and Tjokronegoro. Sjarifoeddin has also resigned as Chairman of the Republican Delegation to the political talks, on pressure from his party, although it is understood that he was personally agreeable to continue in the position. His place in the Delegation will now be taken by Roem, of the Masjumi Party, who is likely to be far less capable. Other replacements in the Delegation will be made from the advisors.
4. The new Cabinet has none of the vice-premiers and vice- ministers of its predecessor, is smaller and more manageable.
Hatta will retain his position as Vice-President and, since the Cabinet is a Presidential Cabinet, he will, contrary to the wishes of the left-wing, have full authority. However, he has stated that the Cabinet will become a parliamentary Cabinet as early as practicable.
5. Hatta has expressed the view that the left wing is unlikely to reverse its decision and to join the Cabinet. This might have serious consequences as Sjarifoeddin (Socialist) and Setiadjit (Labour) are two outstanding figures among the Republicans.
However, left-wing circles have given the opinion that there will have to be modifications in the Cabinet in the near future to meet Republican opinion as commanded by the left. It is interesting to note in this connection, that three of the portfolios are temporary, namely those of the Interior, Public Works and Defence.
Hatta has assumed the portfolio of Defence ad interim because of the importance of having an outstanding personality responsible for the implementation of the truce.
6. Soekiman's appointment to the temporary position of Home Affairs is particularly significant. As leader of the Masjumi Party and a member of their board, Soekiman is strictly not permitted to accept a position in the Government, which he naturally considers inferior in influence to his position as leader of the party. Although the Masjumi Party opposed the 'Renville' Agreement, Soekiman has now, according to Hatta, accepted the temporary cabinet post in order to associate himself with the Agreement and its implementation and to share responsibility for the Government programme. The latter contains four basic points:
(1) The carrying out of the 'Renville' Agreement.
(2) The formation of the United States of Indonesia.
(3) Rationalisation, which seems to consist largely of a policy of increased efficiency in administration.
(4) Reconstruction and rehabilitation.
7. Sjahrir was apparently offered the Foreign Affairs portfolio, but refused as he considers that in his post as advisor to the President he can achieve more than as a member of a presidential cabinet.
8. Sjarifoeddin is obviously disappointed at the victory of the Masjumi and he strongly hints that Graham's courting of the Masjumi has been an influence. Some Republican circles have referred to the new 'American' Cabinet.
9. Hatta conferred with Van Mook on 2nd February, but I understand that there was no discussion of the Republic's entry into the Federal Government.