53 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K60 BATAVIA, 10 February 1948, 11.58 p.m.


Vredenburch to-day further clarified the Dutch position re additional military assistants on the basis of advice from The Hague.

2. The Dutch are prepared to accept the proportions suggested by the Committee (see paragraph 3(a) and 3(c), my telegram 89 [1]) or at the most the same proportions for pairs of countries-Australia and the United Kingdom; France and Belgium; United States and China.

3. This extraordinary suggestion with its arbitrary pairing off of countries means that the number of military assistants supplied by France and Belgium will set up a limit for all other countries or rather pairs of countries. Instead of ten, France will probably provide at the most six, Belgium is likely to supply four instead of six. Consequently to maintain arbitrary proportions the Dutch will not agree to total number of Australian and United Kingdom officers in excess of ten-sixteen [th's of the 25 originally] [2] requested by the Committee. By grouping Australia with the United Kingdom which has already provided most military assistants (ten), the supply of additional military from Australia is restricted;

furthermore this policy means that if any country fails to meet its quota this will arbitrarily reduce the total number of military assistants available to the Committee. On the present representatives, reduction will be at least from 66 to 41.

4. I protested strongly against the proposals and asked Vredenburch for an explanation. He refused to comment, saying he was quoting his Government's instructions and no explanation could be given. I have spoken to Shepherd, the British Consul-General, who was surprised at the clumsy excuse of the Dutch given for their policy, and who will, I believe, take the matter up with his Government.

5. Neylan, after discussion with Myers of the United States, has decided that a total of 54 military assistants will be sufficient to carry out the Committee's obligations under the truce. This number is based on requirements of 8 teams of military observers and two coordinating headquarters, one each at Batavia and Djokjakarta.

6. The Republic, however, are most concerned that the maximum possible number of military assistants should be available in Indonesia in the next few months to make sure that there are no breaches of the truce and that incidents are properly investigated.

7. From a political point of view, I am sure that a large number of military assistants will continue to be needed (see paragraph 3 of my telegram K.57). [3] There is no indication yet that the Netherlands will adopt a more liberal policy now that the Republic have shown their good faith in implementation of the truce and their willingness to co-operate. The Queen's speech [4] made no reference to the Republic and my impression remains that the Republicans are still regarded by most of the Dutch as gangsters and bandits.

8. The atmosphere, therefore, is far from favourable for political talks. Shepherd, the British Consul-General, informed me to-day that he gathered from Van Mook that the Dutch would go ahead with the formation of an interim Government and offer the Republic representation on a take it or leave it basis. This would not be in keeping with the Renville Agreements.

1 Presumably sub-pararaphs 3a and 3c of Document 49.

2 The characters in square brackets, mutilated in the cited copy, have been inserted from a copy on file AA:A4357/2, 48/254, ii.

3 Document 48.

4 A radio broadcast made by the Queen of the Netherlands on 5 February.

[AA:A1838, 854/10/4/2, iv]