152 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K256 BATAVIA, 24 January 1949, 10.30 a.m.

RESTRICTED

My telegram K254. [1]

Supomo, Darmasetiawan and Sudjono have reported on their visit to Bangka and Prapat from January 21st to January 23rd in company with two Representatives of BFO-Djumhana, Prime Minister of Pasundan, and Ateng of East Indonesia.

2. The party first visited Prapat where they found Soekarno and Salim comfortably housed but confined under armed guard to a small military area. The Federalists handed Soekarno a letter from the Chairman of BFO Investigation Committee inviting him to attend a meeting in connection with paragraph three of B.F.O. resolution of January 13th (see K251 [2]). Soekarno replied by a letter (which Salim countersigned) indicating his willingness to attend such a conference provided that:-

(a) He and all members of his Government were set free and (b) He and his Ministers attend the conference as the Government of the Republic.

3. On 22nd January the party flew to Bangka where the Federalists handed Hatta a similar invitation and had discussion with Hatta and Assaat. Hatta declined to give an answer until the matter could be considered by the Republican Cabinet. He specified members who would readily be available. Hatta and Assaat indicated provisionally that they agreed with the conditions laid down by Soekarno and Salim.

4. The living conditions for the Republicans on Bangka were found to have improved since the visit of Netherlands Officials on 17th January. They now have freedom of movement on the Island, and a motor car at their disposal. They have been instructed, however, that they are not to engage in political activities not in line with Netherlands' policy.

5. The Federalist Representative could not find any fault with the stand taken by the Republican Leaders with which the Prime Minister of East Indonesia is known to agree. Djumhana however, was disappointed at his failure to persuade the Republicans to return to Batavia with him for immediate talks.

6. The Republican Delegation has drawn the Committee's attention to a telegram sent by Hatta to the Committee on January 21st requesting assistance in obtaining facilities for Soekarno, Salim, Natsir and Suryadarma to proceed to Delhi. The telegram has not been received.

7. The Committee is attempting to arrange for Sjahrir and Leimena to visit Hatta at Bangka tomorrow January 25th and subsequently to proceed to Lake Success.

1 Document 145.

2 Document 99.

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