70 Critchley to Kirby

Cablegram unnumbered BATAVIA, 16 February 1948


1. My view is (a) that the Republic are prepared to co-operate fully. This is shown by their unexpectedly successful co-operation in withdrawing 25,000 of their troops from Dutch controlled Java and by Hatta's ready agreement to my suggestion that he should write to Van Mook expressing the Republic's willingness to participate in a Provisional Federal Government [1];

(b) that the Dutch, who continue to regard the Republicans as bandits, are determined to go ahead and organize Indonesia as far as possible without them, and that eventually the Dutch are likely to offer the Republic, at best, participation in a federation on Dutch terms. This is evidenced by Dutch reluctance to start political talks and by the fact that Hatta's letter of co- operation, instead of drawing a warm response, seems likely to hasten the Dutch formation of a Provisional Government without the Republic;

(c) that therefore the major problem is to force the Dutch to co- operate. A wide discussion in the Security Council should help, but a bitter attack might have the reverse effect.

2. Obviously the Americans here, whatever their motives, are anxious to avoid an acrimonious debate. They would argue that a sharp attack on the Dutch would worsen the atmosphere and make conditions for the Committee even more difficult. They have exerted considerable pressure on Roem to induce him to send off a cable to the Indonesian delegation at Lake Success stressing:

(a) that Political talks should continue as soon as possible;

(b) that the Security Council discussions on the report of the Committee should be brief so as not to delay negotiations;

(c) that Republicans at Lake Success should not attack the Dutch first;

(d) that the representatives, before taking action, should consult the Committee of Good Offices.

3. Roem, who appears to be very sensitive to American pressure, was not given an opportunity to consult Hatta, the Americans stressing the urgency of an immediate signal.

4. This American telegram could easily be aimed at Australian policy and at spiking your guns. I pointed out to Roem that long discussions in the Council might well be to the advantage of the Republic, particularly as there are a number of important issues, such as the Dutch policy of forming new states in Java on which world attention should be focused; also that it would be unfortunate if his instructions were construed by the Republic's representatives as limiting discussions on such matters.

5. Unfortunately Roem is not the ablest of the Indonesians. He did not disagree with me but appeared very much in doubt and more than ever anxious to consult Hatta. He did stress, however, that the instruction to consult the Committee would provide an opportunity for the Committee, and by implication for you, to advise the delegates irrespective of other sections of the telegram. He is now in Jogjakarta, and after consulting Hatta, may send a further telegram to New York. I shall advise as soon as I learn of Hatta's reaction.

6. To sum up, I favour, subject to reactions as you gauge them at New York, the widest possible discussion in the Security Council of all the issues and particularly of those where Dutch lack of co-operation is likely to create difficulties.

7. (P.S.) I have just seen Antara press statement [2] to which you referred. Hatta's publicity is aimed at getting in first; not only to demonstrate Republican co-operation, but also to forestall awkward Dutch demands in relation to sovereignty. For example, the Republic has always said that it would be prepared to give up its foreign relations when it joined a proper Interim Federal Government.

1 See note 2 to Document 59 and Document 60.

2 Antara, the chief Republican news agency, reported on 12 February that Hatta had asked that the Republican and Netherlands Governments confer on the question of Republican representation in the Interim Federal Government which would, in due course, take over the foreign representation of the Republic.

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