86 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K83 BATAVIA, 24 February 1948, 10.06 p.m, Received 25


Dubois has returned from Djokjakarta after talking to Hatta and Sjarifoeddin (still a powerful influence). Soekarno, genuinely ill, was unavailable. The Republican reception of Dubois' message from Neher [1] was friendly but both Hatta and Sjarifoeddin pointed out that the Republic had already stressed the urgency of early discussions and the formation of an Interim Government and had offered to cooperate. [2] The official reply from Van Mook had not accepted this offer and they therefore felt that before they could take any further action it was up to the Netherlands to make it clear that there was a change of attitude.

2. Dubois assures me that Van Mook emphatically denies that there has been any intention on the Netherlands part to present the Republic with an ultimatum on the participation in an Interim Federal Government or that he intended to issue a statement last week on the lines of my telegram K.74, paragraph 4. [3] This is difficult to accept. It would be a mistake to believe yet that the Netherlands have given up the idea of forming an Interim Federal Government without the Republic.

3. American policy appears close to the Dutch. They are seeking a settlement with Democratic trappings but will probably assist the Dutch to keep important discussions off the record and outside the Committee.

4. The Netherlands are delaying discussions and have not appointed their representatives to the main Committees, despite the urgings of the Republic and Good Offices Committee. Their private explanation is that they will be able to take more definite action when Van Vredenburch returns from The Hague. Because of the Dutch delaying tactics it has been impossible to discuss the Dutch restrictions of the Republican Plebiscite Movement (see my telegram K.68 and K.81). [4] The Security Council's attention should be strongly drawn to the contrast between the Dutch policy of proclaiming an independent state of Madura and proceeding with the Third West Java Conference for setting up a new state of West Java as compared with the policy prohibiting the Republic from organising a peaceful Plebiscite Movement.

5. Hatta is sending Sjahrir, at present on his way to Singapore, a personal request to return to Djokjakarta. Hatta has also requested that I go to Dubois to consult him as soon as conditions are favourable.

1 See Document 81.

2 See Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, vol. VI, Washington, 1974, pp.104-5.

3 Paragraph 4 of Document 73.

4 Documents 67 and 84.

[AA:A1838, 403/3/1/1, xv]