450 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K324 BATAVIA, 27 June 1949, 5.45 p.m.

PRIORITY RESTRICTED

The immediately following telegram referred to in your telegram 103 [1] has not been received. The following comments are made on the basis of your telegram 103.

(a) The Chairmanship of the Conference by the Commission would be extremely helpful, particularly in view of the tractable attitude of the Indonesian representatives, but it is not vital.

(b) The Dutch are most anxious to preside at the round table conference at The Hague, and Cochran has informally lent his support to this proposal.

(c) The draft conditions for the R.T.C. implies that the question of Chairmanship will be decided as part of the rules of procedure.

Presumably the Netherlands, as host, will call the initial conference.

(d) The Republicans are not finally committed to the draft conditions [2] until it has been ratified by the Republican Government at Djokjakarta.

(e) The Republicans are anxious that the Commission should preside, but it now seems likely that they will not insist on this beyond urging it on the Inter-Indonesian Conference and when the rules of procedure are being considered at The Hague.

(f) A possibility which has been suggested by the Dutch is that the Netherlands should preside at the plenary sessions, but that the Chairmanship of the Committees and Sub-Committees should rotate or be allocated to experienced participants.

(g) In practice, it would now be difficult to make any conference arrangements which would take the responsibility for the conference away from the Netherlands. However, I believe that special efforts should be made to bring the Commission in immediately below the presiding Netherlands Minister. The most appropriate arrangement would be for the Commission, as a neutral body to preside at the meetings of the Steering Committee which will be the key committee in the work of the Conference.

(h) The Commission will, of course, have the right at any time to call meetings of the parties concurrently with the holding of the Conference.

1 Dispatched on 23 June, it invited Critchley's comments on an immediately following cablegram conveying the text of Document 446.

2 See Document 445.

[AA : A1838, 401/3/1/1, vi]