307 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K288 BATAVIA, 22 March 1949, 5.45 p.m.


Keng Po, Chinese Batavia daily, published a report on March 15th of an attack by three hundred Dutch airborne troops on Wonosari, a town about twenty miles south east of Djokjakarta. Yesterday, March 21st, the commission received a telegram from Roem requesting that it investigate the truth of the report and, if found to be true, to 'forward a protest to the Security Council against the renewed Dutch aggression showing utter contempt of the Security Council's resolution'. [1]

2. According to Republican sources Wonosari, headquarters of the Republican administration and the Military Command in Java, was attacked by three bombers and six fighters on March 10th. This was followed by a landing of nearly five hundred Para-troops, conveyed in eighteen transport planes, who were joined by infantry forces from Djokjakarta. The Republicans, forewarned, had evacuated the town the previous day. No officials or soldiers were killed or captured but sixty villagers were killed and thirty injured.

Following this attack there is terrorism throughout the region.

3. I am endeavouring to have the matter completely investigated by the Military observers so that a full report can be forwarded to the Security Council as early as possible.

4. Cutts visited Djokjakarta yesterday with the United States [2] and Belgian [3] deputies to enquire into the Republican allegations of recent political arrests and into the general political situation. The party interviewed the Dutch Commander [4], three members of the Republican Government still in Djokjakarta (Djoenda, Laoh and the Sultan of Djokjakarta), and other Republican officials. The main impressions of the visit were:

(a) The Republicans are confident that the re-establishment of their government at Djokjakarta will present no serious practical or political difficulties provided assistance is given in supply of material and equipment including arms for the police. They claim that the Republican civil administration is intact, either underground, or outside the town and that there would be no personnel difficulties. The Sultan has prepared a plan for the resumption of authority and would be prepared to assume responsibility for law and order in Djokjakarta at three days' notice. He would use the Republican police force which is intact outside the town and with which he is in constant touch;

(b) Though this confidence seems justified at present, time is an urgent factor, as economic pressure will shortly force most of Republican Civil Servants either to accept work with the Dutch, or to [le]ave Djokjakarta. Djoenda estimates that few junior officials will be able to hold out beyond the end of this month while many of the more senior ones will feel the pinch by the end of April.

(c) Every night there is heavy fire in Djokjakarta and looting and brigandage continues on a considerable scale;

(d) The Dutch Military authorities are bitterly opposed to the re- establishment of the Republican Government in Djokjakarta.

1 Document 168.

2 John W. Tunthill.

3 Paul Bihin.

4 D.R.A. van Langen.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/3/9, i]