489 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 295 [1] PARIS, 28 December 1948, 10.25 p.m.


Security Council 28th December. [2]

Consideration of Indonesia did not commence until late this afternoon after Council had decided to defer voting on British resolution calling for cease-fire in Negeb, until tomorrow.

In addition to Colombian resolution reported last night Council was faced with Chinese resolution as follows-

'The Security Council noting that the Netherlands Government has not so far released the President of the Republic of Indonesia and all other political prisoners as required by the resolution of 24th December, 1948, calls upon the Netherlands Government to set free these political prisoners forthwith and report to the Security Council within 24 hours of the adoption of present resolution.'

The meeting began with a Netherlands statement to the effect that the Dutch Government was not yet in a position to inform the Council as to its attitude as consultation was still proceeding between Holland and the Netherlands East Indies. The Indonesians then claimed that Dutch had no intention of releasing prisoners and that it was the Republic's view that the violation of the truce had been made for the very purpose of capturing them.

Palar urged adoption of Chinese resolution. China said that by now Council might have hoped that Dutch would have cleared up doubts.

The release of prisoners would have been simple thing and it was inescapable duty of the Council to adopt Chinese resolution which might retrieve in part the authority and prestige of the Council.

The Netherlands claimed that the Chinese resolution differed from that of the 24th in that note [of] censure was introduced and asked for delay until he could give statement tomorrow that might clear up the matter.

Syria contended that there was no connection between tomorrow's statement and resolution.

United Kingdom agreed in principle with the Chinese resolution but felt it would be better to accede to request of Netherlands for delay and he would, therefore, abstain.

U.S.S.R. said that Council was facing overt sabotage on both counts by Netherlands who were counting on their protectors in Council to take them under their wing. Quite correctly Netherlands felt they could flout Security Council.

United Kingdom found it possible to propose cease-fire in Palestine which U.S.S.R. supported. Why does representative lapse into reticence on Indonesia? This policy was one of favouritism and prejudice as opposed to principle and it undermined the Council.

Chinese proposal supported but U.S.S.R. felt it should go further and propose end to military action and immediate withdrawal.

United States regarded matter of prisoners as a situation calling for special action and was prepared to vote immediately for Chinese proposal.

India pointed out that prestige of Council as well as that of Holland which was claimed by Van Royen was involved in this matter. Clearly the word forthwith had not yet been understood by the Dutch. Only two days remained in Paris before Council adjourned until 6th January and time was precious.

Hodgson pointed out that a resolution of the Council now five days old had been infringed and reminded Council of mandatory character of article 25 of the charter. There might well be note of censure in proposals now coming before Council. He confessed himself unable to understand attitude of United Kingdom either today or yesterday. Could it be said that waiting for Netherlands to make up its mind protected prestige of Council. Council had new resolutions before it in the hope that members might reconsider their views on the need for positive action and the Chinese resolution was to be commended.

Malik intervened again to state that Dutch claim that prisoners were only under house arrest was totally irrelevant. Point was that prisoners were detained. As to Dutch promises of statement tomorrow it should by now be clear to them that Security Council was becoming rather impatient.

Falla defended United Kingdom attitude on resolutions by claiming that he had abstained on Ukrainian withdrawal proposal because the appeal was one sided.

The Chinese resolution was then put to vote and passed by 8 favour, o against, 3 abstentions (France, Belgium and United Kingdom).

Council then passed to Colombian resolution [3] which was introduced by its sponsor with statement to effect that all hostilities should be settled in first place by withdrawal of troops to stabilise position for negotiations. It was possible that withdrawal had been defeated because delegations did not have information that this proposal was designed to provide. This method might avoid objections of Dutch to Good Offices Comm[ittee] carrying out such functions.

U.S.S.R. opposed because of nature of body to carry out Security Council functions. Officially Security Council did not know what nations had consular representatives and in any event adoption of resolution would affect resolution of 24th by duplicating information function which had been given to Good Offices Committee. The mention of withdrawal in the Colombian proposal was positively misleading as it led to erroneous impression that Council was doing something that it was not. Colombia pointed out that while it would prefer straight out withdrawal proposal this seemed impossible and even this admittedly imperfect resolution might achieve something.

Syria supported Colombia because of mention of withdrawal in last sentence. He criticised both United States and U.S.S.R. for motives leading them to frustrate will of Council on withdrawal.

Netherlands said that if Syrian interpretation was correct then he would oppose it very strongly. Consuls were accredited to Netherlands and it would be wrong to afford to them a right of supervision. To bring back a reference to withdrawal through the back door would be harmful and incorrect.

Belgium and France announced that they would support resolution because question of competence of Council was not involved even if interpreted as Syria had stated.

United States also announced support in view of Colombian assurance that resolution did not cut across or cast a slight on excellent work of Good Offices Committee but merely sought to supplement it. The resolution was then passed with slight drafting changes by 9 votes to 0 with two abstentions (U.S.S.R. and Ukraine).

1 Although this cablegram was received 20 minutes later than Cablegram 296 (Document 490), it precedes the latter in its series and therefore appears before it in this volume.

2 The full text of the discussion on Indonesia in the Security Council on 28 December is given in United Nations, Security Council official Records, Third Year, No.136, 394th Meeting, PP.48-83.

3 See Document 481.

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