399 Critchley to Burton
Letter BATAVIA, 14 May 1949
RESIGNATION OF BEEL The news of the week in Indonesia is Beel's resignation which has now become public. From the papers and cuttings which are included in the bag, you will find much comment; but you will be interested to notice how few tears are being shed. Inflexibility is not the chief quality required of Dutch administrators today.
There was much talk of Spoor also resigning, but it now seems certain he will stay on. For one thing, there is no other job for Spoor to go to. If only for financial reasons, he would be loath to resign. Van Royen has told Roem that Spoor has promised to carry out the Government's decisions 'as a soldier'. The comment might well be made: 'about time!'.
Beel has resigned because his promise that Dutch troops would not be withdrawn from Jogjakarta will now be broken-a promise which was fully backed at one stage by the Netherlands Government. With the coming of Van Royen one cannot help feeling that new winds are at last blowing in Indonesia. But the resignation of Beel and the past activities of Spoor and others not only underline the difficulties of the past but warn that the future will not be easy.
SUB-COMMITTEE FOR PEACE AND ORDER The new winds in Indonesia have gently fanned the work of the sub- committees, which were established last Monday. There has been progress but no startling results. Sub-committee 2 on 'Peace and Order' held its first meeting last Tuesday, 10 May. At the outset the situation was tense. The Netherlands delegation dug up an old bone by urging the Republican delegation to give directions for the cessation of guerilla activities before the return of the Government at Jogjakarta. This nonsense, however, was quickly squashed by the Commission and the Dutch delegation's ready acquiescence revealed it had been flying a trial balloon, and my guess is a military balloon at that.
This initial difficulty solved, the next problem was to find a formula which would permit a cease-fire order for the Jogjakarta Residency and pave the way for the restoration of the Republican Government. The Dutch had made it clear they were opposed to a cease-fire order in one area so long as the Republican delegation claimed it could not issue an order for the whole of Indonesia. A possible impasse was overcome by our suggestion of 'a suspension of arms' in the Jogjakarta Residency. A 'suspension of arms' means the same thing as a cease-fire but can be agreed upon by local commanders without authority from the Government. Sub-committee 2 completed its Tuesday meeting by requesting sub-committee 1 on 'return to Jogjakarta' to take up this question as early as possible and to make necessary recommendations to the parties for the implementation of the 'suspension of arms' in the Jogjakarta Residency.
In the subsequent meeting an attempt was made to reach agreement on a cease-fire order. An Australian draft (attachment I ) with a few minor modifications was acceptable to the Republican delegation. On the other hand, the Netherlands delegation disliked reference to the resolution  of 28 January and did not seem to relish an early initiative from the Commission. The Netherlands delegation therefore proposed what might be termed an 'under the table' discussion with one or two members of the Republican delegation.
In the course of these subsequent conversations it has presented its own draft (attachment II ). Needless to say this draft was opposed by the Republican delegation. As you will see it is an unfortunate reminder of the old colonial mentality which sees the Dutch as the maintainers of law and order and the Republican supporters as the disruptors of the peace. However, by dint of patience, in their private discussions Leimena, as [leading] Republican [representative], and Dr. Gieben, as [leading] Netherlands [representative] on this sub-committee, have reached the following understandings :-
1. the cease-fire order should be issued simultaneously by both governments, 2. as far as possible the orders should be identical, 3. a preamble as in the Netherlands draft, for example, would not be included in the order as such, but would be used in an exchange of letters or in some other formal expression of agreement on cease-fire, 4. reference to radio broadcasts, propaganda, etc., included in the Netherlands draft would also be left out of the cease-fire order, but these subjects might be included in another context, 5. the order should be as short as possible.
The outstanding points of disagreement were the Netherlands objection to an order merely to cease fire and stand fast and the desire of that delegation to list in detail the guerilla activities which must be stopped. Naturally, the Republicans feel that if guerilla activities are to be listed in detail it is equally necessary to list in detail the military activities of the Netherlands against which the Indonesians raise objections.
The 'under the table conversations' will be continued tomorrow when it is hoped to draft a new cease-fire order which will dovetail the Australian and the Netherlands drafts. Leimena also hopes that the conversations will extend to considering 'areas of responsibility' and other issues which must arise if the cease- fire order is to be properly implemented.
SUB-COMMITTEE ON RETURN TO JOGJAKARTA Sub-committee 1 on 'return to Jogjakarta' flew to the Republican capital on Wednesday and met in the 'Kepathian' that same afternoon. Without discussion it was agreed to accept the Australian provisional agenda (attachment III ) as a basis for the sub-committee's work. It was also agreed that the various items on the agenda should be considered initially by three working groups, each group consisting of the representatives of the 2 parties. Items 1, 2, 3, 12 and 13 were allotted to the 'political working group', 4, 7 and 8 to the 'economic working group' and 5, 6, 9, 10 and 11 to the 'technical working group'.
According to a progress report from Cutts, who has been Chairman of the sub-committee, the results achieved so far in the discussions of these groups have been as follows:-
Political working group.
1. 'Suspension of Arms' order: s'Jacob, the Netherlands representative, has given verbally to the Sultan of Jogjakarta, Republican representative, the Dutch suggestions on this subject.
While the Sultan finds no objection in general, he has refused to make any commitments until he can consult the Republican commanders in the Residency. Nothing can be done about this, until the Dutch grant immunity to the Republican commanders. The Dutch local commanders have sought instructions from Batavia. Meanwhile the Dutch have issued an order to their troops to undertake no further active operations and to maintain defensive positions only. The Sultan, after being informed of this, has undertaken to have a similar order issued to the Republican forces.
2. Republican police force: The Sultan has handed the Dutch a paper on this subject. The Dutch regard the Republic's request for arms for the police as excessive and this appears to be the only likely point of disagreement. The difference may not be as serious as it sounds as the Sultan is likely to prefer to take over initially using the TNI as auxiliary police and leaving the organization of the civil police until the return of the Republican Government. In that case, arms would not be required immediately, although uniforms would.
3. Civil servants: The Sultan has suggested that civil servants working with the Dutch be given the choice of remaining on with the Republic or being evacuated and that those who chose to stay be guaranteed against victimisation. s'Jacob understands that the proposed guarantee is only one of personal safety and not of livelihood. He considers this inadequate, and unless the guarantee can be made on more general terms, considers there will be thousands of evacuees. He is therefore endeavouring to clear up this point.
The problem of civilian evacuations is being regarded seriously by the Dutch, who have guaranteed that anybody who wishes to leave Jogjakarta will be evacuated. They estimate that nearly 30,000 people will choose this. Apart from Dutch and Eurasians, most evacuees would be people who have worked for the Dutch in fairly humble capacities. s'Jacob feels that if those who remain can be guaranteed safety of livelihood, the number of applications for evacuation will be reduced considerably. The Sultan is quite reasonable on the point but regards it as essentially a Dutch problem. He will probably be prepared to give a guarantee which will satisfy the Dutch but neither he nor the Republican delegation are nearly as concerned about this problem as the Dutch. They do not accept the figure of 30,000-no one seems to know how it is calculated-but think 3000 would be nearer the mark.
4. Co-ordination: This subject has not yet been discussed. The Sultan feels it should be decided by the two delegations rather than by the sub-committee.
5. Withdrawal of Netherlands forces and restoration of Republican administration. This item, which it was thought in anticipation would have most difficult technical and political angles seems so far to be giving little trouble. The parties are agreed on the principles of a plan for withdrawal, and Brigadier Prior is helping considerably with his suggestions and persuasions. The plan for withdrawal is linked to some extent with the problem of civilian evacuations and it cannot be finalised until it is known what evacuations are necessary.
Economic Working Group The Republicans have given the Dutch a paper on the economic items (Attachment IV ). The Republican representative does not think there will be serious difficulties in reaching agreement.
Provision is suggested for the free movement of goods and persons into and out of Jogjakarta, but apart from paragraph B(1)  there is nothing about trade with the outside world. The Dutch may be expected to haggle over the quantities the Republicans have put forward under Item 7.  The Republicans are also concerned about the initial supply of Republican currency which the Government will need on its restoration. Apparently new notes will take some weeks to print, while the amount in the possession of the Dutch is not nearly sufficient. The Republican representative is therefore investigating the possibility of obtaining a loan of NICA currency to tide the Government over its first few weeks. Another point worth noting is the Republican proposal that all accounts be settled between the Republic and the United States of Indonesia after the establishment of the latter.
Technical Working Group Water. Arrangements have been made for Republican officials to start work immediately with the local Dutch water authorities so as to be in a position to take over as soon as possible.
Power and Light. The local power supply is privately owned (a Dutch firm by the name of ANIEM). The Republican representative is to discuss with the company in Batavia whether it wishes to carry on under the Republican administration or to hand over to the Republican Government. The Dutch have agreed that if necessary they can supply electricity to Jogjakarta from their power station at Djaelak near Semarang.
Irrigation. The intake for the irrigated areas around Jogjakarta is outside the Residency, but the Dutch have undertaken to maintain the supply as heretofore.
Roads. The Dutch have agreed to supply materials, equipment and vehicles necessary to repair the roads. Quantities will be discussed by Republican officials with the local Dutch road authorities.
Road Transport Equipment. The Dutch are willing to make vehicles available. They have agreed to supply extra vehicles for transport of food by road until the railways are able to handle this again.
Railways. The Dutch have agreed to hand over all the material and equipment necessary to enable the Republic to run railway services within the residency of Jogjakarta. Apparently there is no difficulty about this as the rolling stock which belongs to the Residency is identifiable. The Dutch have also agreed to carry out all heavy repairs necessary to put the railways in working condition. As far as through traffic is concerned, a special arrangement will have to be discussed. Movement of traffic into and out of the residency will be free, but there will be technical restrictions on the movement of rolling stock which should not seriously limit the effective use of the railways.
Telephone, Telegraph and Radio Facilities. All installations and services within the Residency will be handed over to the Republican Government which will agree to operate them in accordance with the same regulations as are applicable throughout the rest of Indonesia.
Air Traffic. There will be no difficulty regarding Maguwo airfield, but the Dutch have asked, so far without response, for an undertaking that the Republican Government will not start any new commercial airlines. The Dutch have also intimated that K.L.M.
is willing to continue its service to and from Jogjakarta and asked that they be given the opportunity to do so. So far as I know the Republicans would have no objection to this.
Postal Facilities. The Republic will agree to use Dutch stamps for postage to places outside the Residency, but will use Republican stamps for internal postage.
Workshops and Repair Facilities. The Dutch will hand over adequate repair facilities and spare parts. The actual schedule will be worked out on a technical level.
Fuel and Office Equipment. The Dutch have agreed to supply whatever is necessary and quantities will be agreed on a technical level.
SITUATION IN JOGJAKARTA Cutts has some interesting observations to make on the situation in Jogjakarta generally:
1. The Commission members on sub-committee 1 are agreed that Jogjakarta under Dutch rule is a place to be avoided. The hotel is appalling with grubby accommodation and inadequate meals. The 7 o'clock curfew is rigidly enforced and there is very little life in the town after 5 o'clock. Although the army would possibly make special arrangements for the Commission's staff to move about after curfew, they would only do so with considerable reluctance as they do not want incidents and they consider it highly dangerous to be out after curfew.
2. The atmosphere of Jogjakarta is definitely unfriendly towards the Commission. The local army and civil authorities are aloof and have not yet acknowledged the presence of the Commission's staff.
The hotel is full of Dutch people who glower over their soup and carefully avoid contaminating contact.
3. Feeling is running high among Dutch military personnel of all ranks to an extent that will make their actual withdrawal and the Republican take-over an extremely ticklish operation. The greatest care will have to be exerted to avoid serious incidents.
4. At the same time local Dutch civil and military authorities are for the moment at least suffering from shock as a result of Beel's resignation and may be more malleable than they normally would have been.
5. The difficulties of the military problem have been accentuated by fighting which has occurred while the sub-committee was in Jogjakarta. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights attacks were made on Dutch posts guarding the water works north of the city and considerable damage was done. On Wednesday night and Thursday morning there was also an attack on Dutch positions south of the city. There is some doubt as to whether these attacks were made by the TNI or communists. Considerable communist forces are believed to be concentrated north of the city towards Kaliurang, which would put them near the water works. The Dutch have been using artillery which is audible from the hotel, while tanks and armoured cars have been racing purposefully through the streets.
6. Fear and uncertainty prevail in Jogjakarta. All doors and windows of houses are locked.
7. It appears that the news of the recent preliminary accord was received in Jogjakarta with considerable suspicion. Even the wives of Republican leaders were cautious rather than elated. The absence of any direct reference to a Dutch withdrawal gave rise to a belief that the Government would be restored with Dutch troops remaining in Jogjakarta, while lack of reference to the status of the remainder of the Republican 'Renville Territories', has also caused some misgivings. There are, of course, no Republican newspapers or other Republican propaganda to correct the false impressions while the reactions of the Dutch troops have heightened the doubts.
8. The political atmosphere in Jogjakarta is at present confused.
According to the Republican delegation the Government can definitely count on the full support of the Masjumi and the PNI and the members have been optimistic as a consequence. On the other hand the Government will certainly meet with considerable leftist opposition on its return, and some members of the communist forces have infiltrated into the city itself. According to Cutts there is also little wild enthusiasm among the ordinary Republicans whose attitude is now tinged with scepticism and disillusion. Undoubtedly, however, an effective and early Dutch withdrawal and the return of Sukarno and Hatta could have a dynamic effect on the situation.
THE ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE Van Royen has had a preliminary talk with Roem about the R.T.C. So far Van Royen has only given what amounts to a list of headings of matters that will have to be considered. From these it is not yet possible to assess the Netherlands approach to the conference but Roem expects that in later discussions Van Royen will be willing to indicate the Netherlands ideas about the Union, etc. On the specific question of the participation of the Commission, Van Royen admitted that although it was a bitter pill the Netherlands Government had accepted the position of the Commission as set out in the 23 March Directive  of the Security Council.
For what it is worth I am setting out below the list of headings given by Van Royen with an occasional rough and ready comment based on the rather confused verbal reports of the talk. If the meaning of the list is not clear, blame Roem-or perhaps Van Royen.
(Translations and interpretations from Dutch are always likely to cause complications.) In any case I hope to be able to clarify the list later.
1. The question of the BFO.
2. A national Committee functioning as the provisional government to be considered as representing the peoples of Indonesia. There must also be a legislative assembly.
3. Both sides to ratify the results of the Round Table Conference.
(Van Royen visualises that the conference itself might take six to eight weeks and the ratification an equally long time. Roem agrees regarding the length of the conference but thinks that the ratification should be completed in three to four weeks.) 4. Documents and legislation binding the parties, must be documented. The main items will be- (a) the Round Table Conference results, (b) the ratification, (c) the transfer of sovereignty, (d) the Union Statute.
5. The charter for sovereignty would have the following contents:
(a) sovereignty shall be transferred, (b) the Union must be established, (c) the rights and obligations of the former Netherlands-Indies shall be transferred to the United States of Indonesia, (d) existing legislation shall be maintained until changed by the competent organs.
(Roem believes (b) means Van Royen agrees the Union should be established after the transfer of sovereignty.) 6. The provisional constitution of the United States of Indonesia.
The competence and obligations of the Crown and the Governor- General to be transferred to the federal government. Consequently foreign relations and the Supreme power over the federal army shall be exclusively in the hands of the federal government.
(The main issue here is the powers of the federal government as compared with the state governments and the Netherlands anxiety to insure that the Republic will not maintain its own foreign relations, etc.-points on which the Republican delegation is unlikely to disagree.) 7. Provisions for the new constitution. Is it desirable that the new constitution be laid down in the Dutch law? (The Republicans are emphatic that politically and legally it should not. Van Royen did not press the point but suggested that it could be decided by lawyers.) 8. Transition regulations on which agreement is necessary with the Netherlands- (a) co-operation in foreign relations, (b) self-determination of the people and contracts with autonomous regions, (c) citizenship, (d) position of civil servants, (e) withdrawal of the armed forces.
CONCLUSION Generally the situation is more hopeful than it has been but the main problems are still ahead. The Dutch appear to be serious about restoring the Republican government and we are hopeful there will not be too much difficulty in agreeing on the details.