258 Embassy in Washington to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 189 WASHINGTON, 28 February 1949, 7.13 p.m.


Following is text of statement on Indonesia by the Netherlands Ambassador [1], 26th February. [2]

The significance of the passage in the Netherlands communique [3] in respect of consultations with the Republican leaders on the location of their residence is this.

At the present time it is not yet possible for military reasons to travel and reside everywhere in Indonesia, with the result that some restrictions in the matter of travel and residence are still enforced for the time being, restrictions which apply to everyone, not excluding the Republican leaders. The restoration to them of their full freedom of movement (subject only to the limitations which apply to everybody) does not depend, however, on whether or not they choose to participate in the Conference.

The invitation addressed to all parties to participate in the Conference is unconditional, so that the parties are completely free to decide on the size and constitution of their delegations, nor does the Netherlands Government wish to lay down any conditions with regard to voting, convinced as it is that no settlement can be made which is not freely subscribed to by all parties present.

It is stated in the communique that the Netherlands Government is prepared to consider, together with the parties concerned, any solution proposed to the Conference on its merits. This means that the Netherlands Government wishes to put no plan on the table on the basis of 'take it or leave it'. This also applies to the terms of the proposed union between the Netherlands and the United States of Indonesia, terms which will be formulated in voluntary common consultation so that both partners in the union will find their interests reflected in the terms to be adopted. The only limitation insofar as the Netherlands is concerned is the tenor of the constitution which embodies (since the revising of last fall) the results of previous consultations.

There will be formed a Federal Government for the whole of Indonesia with sufficient authority to take over Sovereign Rights from the Netherlands. The question how this Government will be constituted is to be answered by Indonesia. Due regard will have to be given, as a matter of course, to important groups in Indonesia in proportion to their significance.

'The proposals of Mr. Cochran, providing for a participation in the Indonesian Federal Government by the Republican Territories for one third and by the Federal Territories for two thirds, offer a starting point for the negotiations on this subject. Likewise the principal minority groups of the population of Indonesia should have an appropriate representation therein.' Inasmuch as the Netherlands are now prepared to transfer their sovereignty over Indonesia on a date more than one whole year earlier than the date mentioned in the Resolution [4] of the Security Council, the Netherlands Government is going even farther to meet the desire of Indonesian nationalism than the Security Council itself. The Netherlands Government is of the opinion that in leaving the decision to organize its political system after the transfer of sovereignty to Indonesia itself, it makes an important contribution to the possibilities for further controversy, and it will, however, be unavoidable that the Netherlands, as long as they remain responsible for Indonesia (a matter of a few months if the present plan is adopted by the Indonesians), should continue to possess wide powers. To wield such wide powers may always lead to friction, a contingency which can be avoided by the adoption of the Netherlands proposals.

A definite date for the transfer of sovereignty cannot be fixed unilaterally by the Netherlands Government, because this is also dependent upon the wishes of the other parties concerned. The Netherlands Government trust that the discussions will lead to an agreement by May 1st next. A further period of about six weeks is deemed necessary for the ratification of such an agreement as provided for by the Netherlands Constitution.

Inasmuch as the transfer of sovereignty (as also was the case in many other Asiatic countries) will take place before the Indonesian elections will be held, the new Government of the Federal States of Indonesia should be sufficiently representative to enable Indonesia to accept its commitments for the implementation of the arguments [5] entered into.

Since it definitely is not the intention of the Netherlands Government to divest itself prematurely of its responsibility in Indonesia, it will be prepared to assist the new state for a short time, but only if requested by the new state.

The Netherlands will in no way thrust their assistance upon the United States of Indonesia as the future relationship between the Netherlands and the United States of Indonesia should be based upon the real and voluntarily recognized common interests of both parties.

It is not necessary that all details will be worked out on the date of the transfer of sovereignty but an agreement on the main principal points should have been obtained to such an extent that a settlement of the remaining points after the transfer of sovereignty will not encounter insurmountable difficulties. The necessity of more or less detailed arrangements for the period preceding the transfer of sovereignty will decrease as the parties succeed in shortening the interim period.

As satisfactory agreements for both parties with regard to this interim period were so difficult to arrive at it seems of great importance to shorten this period as much as possible and bring about as quickly as possible the final constitutional organization.

1 E.N. van Kleffens.

2 See Document 255.

3 See Document 249.

4 Document 168.

5 The word 'arguments' should presumably read agreements'.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/3, iv]