418 Quinn to Burton

Memorandum Hag 152/49 THE HAGUE, 24 May 1949

The newly appointed High Commissioner for the Crown, Mr. A.H.

Lovink, will leave for Batavia on 30th May next. It is understood that he will be succeeded as Secretary-General to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Dr. H. Boon, at present Minister in charge of the Political Section.

2. The appointment of Mr Lovink to succeed Dr. Louis Beel has received a mixed, but on the whole favourable, reception from the press. There has been wide approval of the choice of a non- political figure to succeed one whose party affiliations were often a cause of embarrassment to the Government. Comfort is also derived from the fact that Mr Lovink as Secretary-General to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been well placed to take note of the international aspects of the conduct of Dutch policy and to understand the outlook of other countries. Some Socialist papers have taken a rather cautious line and pointed out that Mr Lovink's past experience in the Indies before the Japanese occupation may incline him to a reactionary policy as far as the Indonesians are concerned, particularly as he has not been in a position for some time to take direct cognisance of affairs in Indonesia itself.

3. The Netherlands Government's probable reasons for choosing Mr Lovink may be speculatively assessed as follows:-

a) The Government will be able to ensure co-ordination in the execution of its policy in The Hague and Batavia by having in the latter place a Civil Servant who can be given instruction without raising thorny domestic political problems at every turn. (Mr Lovink's political sympathies are believed to be Christian Historical but he will not of course have direct links with any political party);

b) Mr Lovink has a bluff and genial personality, experience in dealing with foreigners and high prestige amongst the Dutch in Java as a result of his pre-war success as the head of the N.E.I.

Department of East Asiatic Affairs, in out-negotiating the Japanese negotiating mission which came to the Netherlands East Indies early in 1941.

4. To sum up, it seems that Mr Lovink promises to be a considerable improvement on Dr Beel both from the Dutch and international points of view. Whether he will be able to adjust his conceptions of the basis on which the Indonesians need to be treated to present circumstances remains to be seen, but he has considerable flexibility of mind and a direct approach, which may be able to dissipate any impression of residual paternalism in his attitude.

5. A short resume of his career is attached. [1] He will be accompanied to Batavia by Jhr. H. Teixeira de Mattos, who has been for some time Deputy Chief of Protocol. The latter is a senior Second Secretary who has carried out his duties here pleasantly and efficiently although he remains to be tested in the rather tougher political atmosphere of Batavia.

1 Not published.

[AA : A1838, ts45/1/4/5, i]