253 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K275 BATAVIA, [28 February 1949], 12.55 a.m.


On Sunday, February 27th, Beel and Koets interviewed the Commission regarding the Netherlands statement of the previous day (en clair telegram [1] February 26th). In answer to questions they stated that:

(a) The Republicans would be free to reside where they pleased, subject to housing restrictions, except in Djokjakarta or its surroundings. They would be permitted to move overseas.

(b) Sukarno could nominate a delegation to The Hague Conference as the President of the Republic and after discussions with his government. The Republican delegation would not be subject to restrictions as to the size or personnel.

(c) The Commission could make suggestions and proposals to the Commission but Van Royen's objections [2] to the Commission were sustained.

(d) The question of the Army is not expected to create special difficulties. The Netherlands will not object to immediate formation of a Federal Army under the sole control of U.S.I. An agreement will have to be worked out regarding the Dutch forces until their repatriation could be arranged.

2. Beel also delivered three memoranda [3] [to] members of the Commission (a) No. 1 repeats at greater length the points in the communique [4] of February 26th and stresses the absence of conflict between the Security Council resolutions [5] and the Netherlands aims.

(b) No. 2 is a justification of the Netherlands refusal to re- establish the Republican Government in Djokjakarta. Such re- establishment, it is claimed, would encourage 'the unconciliatory elements of the Republicans to abide by their inflexible attitude', 'a new demarcation line would re-establish chaos in the field of economics, finance and communications, internal security would disappear completely and terrorism would prevail'. The Republican Government which was unable in the past to suppress terrorism, would be at the mercy of the extremists.

(c) No. 3 makes the following assertions:

(i) the release of the Republicans while subject to certain restrictions does not depend upon their participation in the Conference, (ii) the statement in the communique of February 26th that the Netherlands Government is prepared to consider the merits of all proposed solutions means that the Netherlands Government does not intend to put forward a plan on a take-it-or-leave-it basis.

(iii) a Federal Government for the whole of Indonesia which has sufficient authority to take Sovereignty from the Netherlands will have to be established. Indonesia itself must answer the question of how this government will be constituted. All the important political currents must be represented.

(iv) 'The Netherlands government, by being prepared to transfer sovereignty over to Indonesia on a date more than a year prior to the moment envisaged in the Security Council's resolution, is meeting the desires of Indonesian Nationalists to a greater extent than is requested by the Security Council.' (v) The transfer of sovereignty in accordance with the Netherlands plan will avoid the retention by the Netherlands of extensive powers (which would be necessary so long as the Netherlands were responsible for events in Indonesia) the exercise of which will lead to friction.

(vi) Regret the date of transfer of sovereignty cannot be fixed unilaterally by the Netherlands Government. They hope however to conclude the discussions by May 1st and to obtain constitutional ratification within six weeks.

(vii) The Netherlands government does not intend to dispose precipitately of their responsibility for the administration of Indonesia. They are prepared to assist the newly formed state for a short period after the transfer of sovereignty if requested.

(viii) The necessity for detailed provisions for the interim period will diminish as this period is shortened.

3. Gieben flew to Bangka on Saturday 26th with Beel's invitation to Sukarno (K.274 [6]). Koets has gone there today, February 28th, to clarify the Dutch 'offer' and endeavour to ensure the Republic that at least there is no immediate rejection. [7] I understand that B.F.O. will delay a final decision until after a meeting with the Republican leaders which they hope to arrange tomorrow.

4. Leimena and other Republicans in Batavia will fly to Bangka tomorrow. They expect to bring back a Republican rejection. All circles agree that the fate of the proposal depends on the Republican reaction.

5. Beel arranged a press conference for noon today but at the last moment substituted circulation of a number of written questions submitted in advance.

1 Document 249.

2 See Document 172 and note 2 thereto.

3 The full texts of thee memoranda are given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, Supplement for March, pp.24-249.

4 See document 249.

5 Document 168.

6 Document 247.

7 This sense of this sentence is presumably that Gieben intended to ensure that the Republic did not give an immediate negative to Beel's invitation to Sukarno.

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