259 Critchley to McIntyre

Letter BATAVIA, 1 March 1949

I enclose as Annex I [1], copies of the memoranda delivered to the United Nations Commission by the Netherlands Delegation in connection with the recent proposal for a Round Table Conference at The Hague.

2. If the Dutch in making their proposal had a good case to put forward-and I am not prepared to say they had-it has certainly been presented badly.

(1) The Republican leaders are prevented from returning to Djokjakarta, the one place in Indonesia they wish to go.

(2) The more positive aspects of the proposal have been put forward in the vaguest possible manner-a manner which is indeed calculated to arouse distrust. If a sweeping gesture was to be made it should have been made in a definite form. For example, in talks with the Commission, Koets and Beel agreed that the U.S.I.

should have full powers over its Army in Indonesia and that Dutch military interest would be mainly to ensure an agreement on the position of Dutch troops prior to their evacuation. But if this were so, why didn't the Dutch make it clear? (3) Beel said he was looking to the help of the Commission. In fact, however, Gieben was on his way to Bangka with the invitation hours before the Commission ever knew of the statement. The rejection came from the Republican leaders before the Commission had any possibility of contacting them. In any case I do not believe the Commission would have been justified in the circumstances in exerting any pressure on the Republicans to accept.

3. The Dutch invitation as presented was entirely unacceptable.

This should not prevent us, however, from seeking a more satisfactory basis for resuming negotiations, providing the 'federalists' do not accept the Dutch invitation and proceed to The Hague without the Republicans. It has been widely rumoured that the B.F.O. has accepted in principle and will make this decision formal this morning.

4. My other enclosures with this letter are an article by Isaacs on Djokjakarta (Annex II [2]) and notes on information obtained from Isaacs dealing with impressions in Indonesia over the period February 4-25, 1949. They are the views of one man, but Isaacs is an extremely competent observer. His article on Djokjakarta is confirmed by such information as I have been able to obtain from other sources and his general impressions are interesting.

1 The three memoranda, delivered by the Netherlands Delegation to the UN Commission for Indonesia on 27 February, announced, inter alia, the intention of the Netherlands Governments to convene a Round Table Conference at The Hague consisting of 'all parties concerned with the Indonesian question' and its unwillingness to re-establish the Republican Government in Djokjakarta (see also Critchley's summary in Document 253).

2 The article by Harold Isaacs, dated 18 February and entitled 'In the Reconquered Land of the Indonesian Republic', described military activity in the Djokjakarta area. Critchley's notes on information obtained from Isaacs over the period 4 to 25 February discussed Dutch and Republican attitudes to the situation in Indonesia after the second Dutch Police Action.

[AA : A1838, 401/1/2/6, i]