99 Eaton to Burton

Departmental Dispatch 6/1948 BATAVIA, 5 March 1948

SUBJECT: THE THIRD WEST JAVA CONFERENCE As reported in my telegram No. 45 of 28th February [1], the third West Java Conference has now become the first session of the Provisional Parliament of West Java. During the last week the important developments have been the formation of parties within the Parliament and the debate on the State Regulation.

2. There are now four parties, the National, Indonesian, Indonesian Federation and the Unitarians. Little information is yet available on the composition and strength of these parties, but it is reported that the Indonesian Party, led by Puridiredja and Soejoso, is more or less sympathetic to the Republic and with a membership of about forty commands a substantial majority.

3. On Monday, 1st March, the debate on the State Regulation commenced, Soejoso's motion calling on the Conference to declare its recognition of the 'Renville' agreement apparently having been by-passed. The subject of the debate was a draft Regulation submitted by the Preparatory Committee of the Conference. This Regulation envisages a presidential system of government constituted by a Wali Negara and executive and representative bodies. The Regulation provides that the Wali Negara must be an Indonesian who is at least twenty years old and who has resided in West Java for five years. He is to be elected and to hold office for four years, being eligible for re-election on retirement. The executive body is composed of from five to nine ministers, appointed and dismissed by the Wali Negara. Its function is to advise and assist the Wali Negara, who in turn is pledged to keep his ministers informed on all important affairs. The State administration is carried on by eight Departments: justice, Administration, Police and Public Security, Finance, Economic Affairs, Social Affairs, Traffic and Highways, and People's Health. The Wali Negara appoints the departmental heads and they are responsible to him alone. Legislative power rests with the Wali Negara and a representative body of one hundred members, seventy-five of whom are elected and twenty-five appointed by the Wali Negara. This body holds only two sessions yearly, but at these sessions the Wali Negara. can be over-ruled by a two-thirds majority.

4. As might be expected, during the debate on this Regulation there was strong criticism of the position assigned to the Wali Negara and many speakers called for the establishment of an executive responsible to the Parliament. Finally the Parliament gave its temporary approval to the Regulation, having appointed a Sub-Committee to consider various amendments and report back in two months' time.

5. Yesterday, 4th March, the West Java Conference elected Raden Adipati Ario Wiranatakusumah as head of the West Java State. Raden Wiranatakusumah is at present head of the Republican Supreme Advisory Council and resides at Djokjakarta. He was Home Minister in the first Republican cabinet under President Soekarno and was Regent at Bandoeng before the late war. The election was apparently carried out in a tense atmosphere and resulted in fifty-four votes for Raden Wirantakusumah against forty-six for Raden Hilman Djajadiningrat, the present Dutch appointed Civil Governor of West Java.

6. Last night I attended a function at which many Dutch and Republican officials were present. The election of course was a topic of conversation, and I gauge the first reaction as a shock to the Dutch, who nevertheless point out the democratic procedure of the Conference for such a result to occur. The Republicans are jubilant and foreign diplomats generally regard the appointment of a Republican as Head of the West Java State as the best thing that could happen for the present confused political situation in Indonesia.

1. Not published.

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