456 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K329 BATAVIA, 13 July 1949, 5.30 p.m.

RESTRICTED

Van Royen is concerned over the political situation in the Netherlands. He said that his Government had hoped that any debate on the Indonesian question in Parliament might be postponed until after final decisions had been taken in Djokjakarta but that the Catholic leader, Romme, is insisting upon the Government stating its position and that this will now be done this week. Van Royen, who is especially concerned about the tone of Republican speeches following the restoration, wants Hatta or another prominent Republican leader to make a public statement stressing a desire for friendly and constructive co-operation with the Netherlands towards the transfer of sovereignty in the prescribed time schedule.

2. Van Royen is afraid that the Government at The Hague may fall.

He stresses that there could be no change of policy but that there might be delays and that in any event it would not be possible to form a Government for which political parties (i.e. Roman Catholic party) would take responsibility. Certainly, a change of Government and delays at The Hague at this stage would have serious consequences in Indonesia and would make the task of Republican leaders in following a policy of negotiation with the Netherlands extremely difficult.

3. Soekarno and Hatta are convinced that they will have the support of the people and will obtain military co-operation. The T.N.I. high command does not appear to be opposed in principle to a cease-fire so much as concerned with the practical difficulties of implementation. The Republican leaders need time, however, in which to unify their people and explain the basis of their proposed policy.

4. Hatta is not prepared at this stage to make a statement at Djokjakarta as proposed by Van Royen. But Roem has come to Batavia and intends to make a statement incorporating the following points:-

(a) The Head of the Emergency Government and the Commander-in- Chief of the Republican forces have returned to Djokjakarta.

(b) Other Cabinet Ministers who were working with the guerillas, reassembled in Djokjakarta.

(c) The first meeting of cabinet will be held this evening July 13th to discuss the return of mandate of the Emergency Government.

(d) The unity of the people is strong and the political atmosphere encouraging for the implementation of the May 7th agreement. [1]

(e) Such difficult matters as the cease-fire are being carefully considered.

(f) The Commission's plane left for Sumatra today to bring to Djokjakarta Colonel Hidayat, Commander of the Republican forces in Sumatra.

(g) The B.F.O. has been formally invited to an inter-Indonesian conference in Djokjakarta to start on July 20th.

(h) He (Royen) expects the Dutch and Indonesians to achieve their objective of a free and independent U.S.I. this year.

1 See Document 376 and 385.

[AA : A1838, 854/10/4/3, vi]