516 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram C27 THE HAGUE, 22 October 1949, 6.10 p.m.


The following is a summary of Hatta's reply to the Netherlands statement (my C.24 [1]).

(a) The Sultan's statement shows he is seriously concerned lest the disarmament and arrest of T.N.I. troops by the Dutch Army in East Java arouse repercussions among the T.N.I. throughout Java and Sumatra.

(b) The basic cause of the difficulties in Indonesia is the situation arising from the Cease-fire Regulations, in particular- (i) The positions of the two armies are interspersed.

(ii) While the T.N.I. Units stood fast in their positions in the mountains or in isolated and concealed places the irregular forces of the extreme Right and Left groups which harassed the T.N.I. and the Republic were free to move in all directions and consolidate their positions.

(iii) There was and still is no movement of supports consequently the T.N.I. have needed a Civil Administration which appreciates their difficulties.

(c) At the time the Cease-Hostilities Order was issued the 'status quo' constituted a disorderly situation. The 'orderly and regular administration throughout Java' envisaged in the aide memoire [2] of the High Representative of the Crown is extremely difficult to institute. Such an administration can be achieved only after the transfer of Sovereignty to the R.I.S. when the T.N.I. will be incorporated in the Army of the R.I.S.

(d) The situation in Indonesia could only be maintained for a short period of about two months and the Republic accepted the Cease-Fire in the conviction that the R.T.C. could be concluded within this period resulting in the transfer of Sovereignty to the R.I.S.

(e) The proposal of the Republic does not imply a surrender to the Republic of the whole of Java with the exception of the principal cities and should be considered in the light of the foregoing.

(f) 'It would be a 'beau geste' which would be highly appreciated and long remembered by the Indonesian people if the Netherlands Government could see its way to accommodate the Republican position. Friction between the Units of the Netherlands Army and the T.N.I. would be reduced and the Government of the Republic would be able to improve co-ordination between the scattered Units of the T.N.I. and could begin the training of the T.N.I. for its future duties after the transfer of Sovereignty to the R.I.S.'.

(g) The Republic is anxious to promote 'an orderly transfer of Sovereignty' and to prevent a vacuum when the Netherlands Army begins its withdrawal.

(h) The T.N.I. has requested the opportunity to coordinate and consolidate its positions in order to prevent Communist infiltrations in its scattered Units. In the meantime the (Netherlands) Indonesian Government and its Army is unable to check the increasing armed movements of the extreme Right and Left groups.

2. The Netherlands delegation has made no comment but has postponed temporarily the question of reporting to the Security Council.

3. The United Kingdom has been seriously concerned by reports from Indonesia and has been considering the possibility of joint action with the Americans:-

(a) To urge on the Dutch the early conclusion of the Conference at The Hague.

(b) To restrain the Indonesians in Indonesia.

I have supported (a) but urged caution in Indonesia.

1 Document 513.

2 See note 2 to Document 510

[AA : A1838, 403/2/2/2, viii]