462 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 290 PARIS, [24 December 1948], 9 p.m.


Security Council 24 December. [1]

When Council met this morning Soviet put in draft resolution as follows-

'S.C. condemning aggression of Netherlands Government which has again started military operations against Indonesian Republic in violation of Renville Agreement of 17th January 1948- (1) requires immediate cessation of military operations, (2) requires as first step towards settlement of conflict withdrawal of Netherlands troops to positions they occupied before renewal of military operations, (3) requires that Netherlands Government shall set free immediately President of Indonesian Republic and other Republican political leaders arrested by Netherlands military authorities, (4) resolves to set up a Commission of S.C. composed of representatives of all states members of S.C., (5) instructs Commission to supervise fulfilment of resolution on cessation of military operations and the withdrawal of troops and to assist in settling conflict as a whole between Netherlands and Indonesian Republic.'

United Kingdom (Dening) after defending their own part in N.E.I.

immediately after the war then said that 'hands off' attitude of Dutch had been main contributing factor. Netherlands regarded temporary break in their sovereignty caused by Japan as of no importance. United Kingdom regarded this as unrealistic view.

Situation clearly one which might lead to international friction.

United Kingdom deplored decision of Dutch who had not used G.O.C.

enough and should have reported violations they claimed to the Council through G.O.C. Two alternatives of Dutch were clearly not exhaustive. United Kingdom would support U.S. resolution. While not expressing views as to legality United Kingdom was of opinion that state of world was far too dangerous to let such a situation continue. Present resolution clearly did not exceed powers of Council, or infringe terms of Article 2 (7) of Charter.

Argument of Parodi for France was almost entirely devoted to legal aspects of competence. French view that Republic not a State in international law supported by Republican admission of Dutch sovereignty by Renville Agreement. Republic was a part of state about to be set up and any decision of Council to contrary would have far reaching effects for federal states. Argument that internal difficulties might have international repercussions was a sound one and was basis of French case on Spain but it had yet to be shown to France that there were likely to be any such repercussions from the situation in Indonesia. France regarded Dutch action as shocking and brutal but sentiment could not override competence. France would abstain.

Canada deplored action of Dutch and would support cease-fire. Next step would be establishment of conditions under which peace could be achieved. For this purpose full information would be necessary on military and political situations. Agreed with Australia that G.O.C. might be asked to assume further functions and recommend what practical steps Council might take towards settlement. He would submit a resolution to this effect. Netherlands reply to debate fell into seven sections.

1. Allegation that letter of 16th [2] was ultimatum. Letters did not pass until main stage of negotiations in November and early December had passed and both sides had admitted failure. They were in the nature of an epilogue. No decision to take military action was taken until December 18 and it would never have been taken if reply had been received.

2. Allegation of continuing intention. it would have been of great advantage to Dutch to have taken their action much earlier.

3. Infiltrations. No uprisings had taken place in Dutch territory and G.O.C.

reports disproved Republican claim about visiting families.

4. Article ten of Renville. [3] Information was given Secretary General of Republican delegation and implication of Council acceptance of reports from Cochran only in past few days was that he was able to represent G.O.C.

5. Alternatives. It was going too far to suggest that Netherlands should go on negotiating.

6. Reporting to Council. Parties had agreed not to have direct contact. G.O.C. might have reported countless violations reported by Dutch.

7. U.S. resolution. [4] Appointment of G.O.C. superseded August resolution [5] which was therefore not infringed. As to cease-fire Dutch have reluctantly concluded that military action only solution. Chaos would result from the unwise adoption of such a provision. As for future such a clause [6] would be superfluous.

Dutch deny emphatically right of G.O.C. to assess responsibility.

Quoted Van Kleffens' reasons against withdrawal as put forward in 1947. Terrorism would result. Aim of Netherlands was same as that of the Council: independence for Indonesia.

Palar said that cease-fire only would be useless. Without withdrawal Republic would be seriously damaged.

Belgium deplored profoundly turn of events in N.E.I. In passing said that Australian criticism of Belgian member of G.O.C. was unfair as Australians themselves could have brought Australian- U.S. [7] proposals to Council. Based intention to abstain on fact that Council had not seen fit to secure opinion of the Court as to competence. We can hardly claim that matter is a threat to peace if we apparently don't consider that in China to be one. Council then proceeded to vote with following results.

1. Syrian-Colombian resolution A. First two clauses adopted seven nought four [8]; abstentions being France, Belgium, U.S.S.R., Ukraine. Ukraine was absent throughout owing, Malik Claimed, to refusal of French in Berlin to give representative visa and President ruled that this should be counted an abstention.

B. Third clause defeated six nought five, Argentina joining those abstaining.

C. Cease-fire adopted seven nought four.

D. Withdrawal rejected five nought six, Canada and Argentina joining abstentions.

E. Australian amendment [9] re release of President adopted seven nought four.

F. Australian proposal to delete last paragraph rejected, only Syria supporting.

G. Last paragraph down to 1948 adopted seven nought four but last clause re assessment of responsibility rejected five nought six, Argentina and Canada joining abstentions.

H. Australian amendment re observation and report adopted seven nought four but clause re reprisals rejected four nought seven, United Kingdom in addition joining abstentions. Resolution as whole as amended adopted seven nought four.

2. Soviet resolution Taken clause by clause and each one rejected. China, Syria and Colombia sup ported paragraphs one and two and Syria all paragraphs except four.

U.S.S.R. explained that it abstained because both parties were mentioned in U.S. draft resolution. U.S. and United Kingdom explained abstentions on Soviet resolution as being dictated by fact that Council had already decided on issues raised. China stated that it was voting on merits on both cases.

Canada then submitted draft resolution as follows 'Security Council instructs G.O.C. to submit report at earliest possible date with view to enabling S.C. to decide what practicable steps the S.C. may take in view of existing situation in Indonesia to bring about speedy establishment of peaceful conditions there.'

striking out of withdrawal provisions of main resolution. Would Canadian resolution possibly lead to a recommendation of this kind? Netherlands opposed Canadian proposal on grounds that G.O.C.

would not be acting on request of parties and its action would therefore be unacceptable to Dutch. After we had pressed Canadians again for clarification pointing out that G.O.C. would not be able to function unless they knew what was meant by 'peaceful conditions' they said that what they had in mind was short term military situation in Indonesia. U.S. supported Canadian resolution on grounds that it might help to restore something in main resolution which had been robbed of much of its meaning.

Jessup said that he was not troubled by suggestion that G.O.C.

functions would be changed. Syria said that the rejection of the withdrawal proposals meant that whole resolution was useless and Canadian proposal might reassure some of those who had abstained.

He therefore proposed inserting words at end of Canadian proposal 'especially on technical possibilities of withdrawing prior to 18 December'. He also agreed to sponsor suggestion of ours that Canadian resolutions should also contain reference to continued operation of military observers. United Kingdom expressed itself in favour of Canadian resolution and Belgium and U.S.S.R. against the latter on grounds that G.O.C. was useless body which had failed. He said that S.C. should go ahead at once with withdrawal order without any further information.

Voting was as follows. Syrian amendment rejected five nought six;

those abstaining being Argentina, Belgium, France, Canada, U.S.S.R., Ukraine. Our proposal was rejected six nought five, Canada voting in favour. Canadian resolution was rejected six nought five.

We took immediate objection when it became apparent that Langenhove did not intend that Indonesia should be discussed on Monday and were supported by U.S. who claimed it was clearly unfinished business to which Rule Ten [11] applied. Matter will therefore be included on agenda of Monday's meeting.

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

1 The full text of the discussion in the security Council on 24 December is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No. 134, 392nd Meeting, pp.1-59.

2 See Document 381 and note 2 thereto.

3 See Article 10 of Document 22.

4 See Document 407.

5 i.e. the resolution of the Security Council at its 173rd Meeting on 1 August 1947 calling for a cease-fire in Indonesia.

6 i.e. a clause calling for the cessation of hostilities.

7 See Document 173.

8 Here and in the rest of his account of voting in the Security Council, Hodgson listed first the number in favour, second the number against and third the number abstaining.

9 See Document 449.

10 The full text of the Canadian draft resolution is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No.134, 392nd Meeting, p.42.

11 Rule 10 states that, if consideration of an agenda item of a meeting of the Security Council has not been completed, it will be included automatically in the agenda of the next meeting, unless the Security Council decides otherwise.

[10] This gave us opportunity to mention serious effect of