453 Critchley to Burton
Letter BATAVIA, 2 July 1949
PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL
RETURN TO JOGJAKARTA
Withdrawal of Netherlands troops from the Jogjakarta Residency was completed on 30 June with only the following minor incidents.
(a) Two Indonesian civilians were shot dead by a Dutch patrol after one had drawn a pistol and wounded a Dutch soldier.
(b) Republican forces reported having found eight small mines in the vicinity of the Mosque at Bantoel after the Dutch withdrew.
(c) At Kedaton Plered one mine exploded killing two and severely wounding two other civilians after the Dutch withdrew. Five other mines were discovered in the same locality and viewed by Military observers.
(d) Two Indonesian civilians, who failed to stop when called on by a Dutch patrol, were fired on by a Vickers. One was killed and the other wounded.
Brigadier Prior strongly protested to the Dutch Commander about the two latter incidents. He succeeded in having the Commander order that all areas be cleared of mines prior to the withdrawal of Dutch troops.
2. Prior and the American members of the Milex Board felt the Dutch troops were looking for trouble and would have welcomed an excuse to start an action and thus delay the evacuation. I believe that the presence of the senior military observers, and particularly the firm line taken by Prior with the 'bitter' Netherlands Commander, helped considerably in achieving a relatively uneventful withdrawal. TNI troops now control the city.
Prior estimates that about 3,500 came in-barefooted and without uniform but armed and apparently well disciplined.
3. Lt. Colonel Suharto, who will be responsible under the Sultan for the maintenance of law and order in the Residency, is confident that the TNI can handle this task. He expects, however, incidents on the borders of the Residency from both Dutch and dissident Indonesian elements. Simatupang, who has arrived in Jogjakarta, is pessimistic about the possibilities of cooperating with the Dutch. He explained to Brigadier Prior that he had just come through a small village of 35 houses, where all male inhabitants, old and young, of 34 of the 35, had been killed during the last 6 months. 'How, can we' he said 'cooperate after these experiences.' Simatupang's view outlines the basic difficulty the Republican leaders and the Commission will face in the near future.
4. The Sultan of Jogjakarta is keeping a firm control over the people in the city. At his suggestion the Republican leaders intend to return on 6 July and the Commission has been invited to attend the reception which will be given on that day by the Republican Government at the palace of the President.
5. To contact and bring members of the Republican Emergency Government back to Jogjakarta as soon as possible after the restoration, a Republican mission headed by Leimena and accompanied by a military observer will leave for Bukit-Tinggi on 3 July.
THE ROUND TABLE CONFERENCE 6. The target date for the Conference at The Hague remains 1 August, but I doubt whether this date can be met. The inter- Indonesian Conference and the ratification of agreements on cease- hostilities are likely to take longer than anticipated. We shall be lucky if we leave for The Hague in early August.
7. Van Royen expects to leave Indonesia about the middle of July.
Although there has been no official news, there is a good chance he will negotiate on behalf of the Dutch at the RTC.
POLITICAL ASSESSMENT 8. Since the advent of Van Royen I have become increasingly convinced that the Dutch are at last seeking a political settlement with the Republic. This was definitely not the case last year when their program required the elimination of the Republic. I do not believe this change of policy can be attributed to pressure by the United States or to the work of the Commission, though these have been important factors. The essential element has been the armed resistance of the Indonesians and the failure of Dutch military forces to gain effective control of the country after 19 December. The change of policy reflects a more realistic appreciation by the Dutch of the necessity, in their own interests, of coming to terms with the real nationalist leaders.
9. Naturally enough Dutch policy will be to make those terms as hard as possible for the Indonesians and as satisfactory as possible for the Dutch. At The Hague there wil be difficult talks regarding the terms of the Union Statute and particularly regarding economic matters. The Netherlands have recently incurred heavy financial commitments in Indonesia which they will want to pass on to the U.S.I., and they are drafting a series of stringent provisions to maintain their economic position here. These, it is rumoured, go so far as to prescribe limits to the social and labour legislation which can be introduced within a period of years.
10. Moreover, while there has been a change of policy which is reflected in the attitude of the new Netherlands officials in Indonesia, there is no basic change of heart among the Dutch. I am afraid the Dutch people would still like to discredit Sukarno and to see the Republicans fail in the restoration of Jogjakarta, although either of these developments could not fail to make a difficult situation worse for the Dutch as well as for everyone else.
11. Perhaps Indonesian unity and the prospects of a successful RTC depend most at this stage on a cessation of hostilities. The Dutch are making this a major issue. In part this is the consequence of the military and economic successes of guerillas, but, according to Van Maarseveen and Van Royen, it is an essential political pre- requisite for the Dutch. Undoubtedly it will have an important influence on public opinion in Holland, which has been inflamed with reports of terrorism.
On the other hand, assuming that the Netherlands really want a settlement with Sukarno and Hatta, their emphasis on the cease- fire, and the commitments they have demanded of Sukarno and Hatta, could be extremely short sighted. Sukarno has been placed in an increasingly diffficult position and it will now be most important for him (as well as for an eventual settlement) to obtain agreement of the TNI forces to the conditions for a cessation of hostilities.
13. I believe Sukarno will be able to gain the support of the TNI but a complete cessation of hostilities is too much to expect for the time being. It should be stressed to the Dutch that any improvement in the military situation cannot be expected to last indefinitely unless there is a corresponding political improvement, and that the RTC must therefore show early results if further outbreaks are to be avoided.
14. It cannot be too strongly emphasised that every delay increases the difficulties in the way of a negotiated settlement.
The basic political problem in Indonesia is that after Linggadjati and Renville1 after the first and second military actions-the Republican leaders have found it increasingly difficult to justify a policy of negotiation and cooperation with the Dutch and maintain a spirit of national unity.
15. From the outset, a vital point of difference has been that the Dutch regard armed opposition and guerilla activities as 'terrorism' while the Republicans consider them the essence of their national struggle. For example, the Sultan's speech on assuming authority in Jogjakarta, (see attachment I ), which was most carefully and sensibly worded in view of the political complications within the Republic, appeared in the most moderate Dutch Batavia daily under the heading: 'Jogja's Sultan praises terrorists'.
16. The Netherlands are now publicly committed to a program of independence for Indonesia. However reluctant they may prove in the event to the carrying out of that program, it seems that the best policy for the Commission and the international world is to take them at their word and give as much publicity as possible to their commitments.
INTER-INDONESIAN CONFERENCE 17. Assuming all goes well between the Republican Government and the TNI, the inter-Indonesian Conference which the Republicans hope to call in Jogjakarta shortly after their restoration, will be of major significance. It is most important that the Conference should reach agreement in outline on such points as the following:-
(a) Rules of procedure for the RTC (e.g. position of the U.N.C.I., see my telegram K. 324 ).
(b) Terms of the Statute of the Union.
(c) Terms of an economic agreement with the Netherlands and in particular understandings regarding responsibility for overseas debts contracted since 1942 and treaties and agreements with other nations.
(d) Terms of a military agreement.
(e) The position of Sumatra and New Guinea.
(f) The question of ratification by representative bodies of the BFO areas of any agreement reached at The Hague.
(g) The composition of the Provisional National Federal Government.
(h) The terms of the Provisional Constitution.
18. The Republicans have found it impossible to avoid bringing the BFO into the discussions but I fear that some of the new participants, and notably the Chairman of the BFO, Sultan Hamid, will be sponsors of Dutch plans. These BFO members are not deliberately pro-Dutch, but are easily influenced and are in the habit of working more or less at the direction of their Dutch advisers. On the other hand, lack of political astuteness and experience among the BFO members will make it easier for the Republicans to dominate the inter-Indonesian Conference and swing the resolutions in their favour. Sjahrir's fear is that Republican leaders may be so pre-occupied with the job of restoring their Government in Jogjakarta that they may fail to make appropriate preparations for this all-important Conference and for the subsequent RTC at The Hague.
SECRETARIAT 19. Things are not going well within the United Nations Secretariat attached to the Commission. This is due entirely to the Principal Secretary, Romanos, who has managed to antagonize the entire staff of the Secretariat, the members of the Commission, the senior military observers and practically everybody else with whom he has come in contact. The present unhappy situation cannot but reflect on the Commission and the United Nations, but as you will appreciate, it is extremely difficult for anyone to make an official complaint. Some of the members of the Secretariat have been writing unofficially to their departments at Lake Success, reporting their difficulties, and it is likely that Cochran has notified the State Department. It may therefore be useful if Hood could be advised informally of the situation.