139 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K253 BATAVIA, [21 January 1949]


After consultations with Soekarno, Salim at Prapat, Sjahrir accepted an invitation by Drees for informal discussions in Batavia on January 18th. The invitation was accepted because the party at Prapat, although well looked after and comfortable, had received no information of developments following the military action and because Sjahrir's conversations could have no significance since he held no official office. A similar invitation was offered to Hatta who refused. Sjahrir described his discussions as pleasant but limited.

He is now free in Batavia.

2. Drees and Michiels and their staffs left Batavia for Holland yesterday having failed to make any progress towards a Federal Government.

3. It would appear that the Dutch are facing considerable difficulties.

(a). Guerilla resistance is stronger than themselves and the Dutch are finding themselves short of troops to control the situation.

(b). The Republic are refusing to co-operate and will not accept B.I.O. decree. [1] The Dutch have failed in overtures to Sjahrir, Hatta, Supomo, Leimena, and the Sultan of Djokjakarta.

(c). Federalists have stalled and proved unwilling to form a Government without the Republic. They are reported to have told the Dutch that they wish to consult with the Republicans' authorised representatives of the State. Present Dutch headaches are therefore:

(a). The release of Soekarno (b). The military situation (c). The restoration of the Republic (d). The political vacuum prior to the elections in Indonesia.

5. It is known that the Dutch are dissatisfied with reports of foreign correspondents.

6. The Republican delegation in Batavia has asked for a decision on its previous request to visit Republican leaders.

1 See note 1 to Document 74.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/2/2, vi b]