523 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram C33 THE HAGUE, 1 November 1949, 4.30 p.m.


At the Steering Committee Meeting on Sunday, 30th October, the Netherlands Delegation accepted the Commission's proposal on New Guinea (C.31 [1]) but the Indonesians continued to insist that New Guinea should be included in the transfer of sovereignty. A serious threat to the successful conclusion of the conference was only averted at a late hour last night when under pressure from Hatta the Indonesians accepted the following text: 'It is agreed- (a) In view of the fact that it has not yet been possible to reconcile the views of the parties on New Guinea which therefore remains in dispute.

Then follow (b), (c), (d) and (e) which are identical with my (a), (b), (c) and (d) of the Commission's proposal.

(f) In view of the dedication of the parties to the principle of resolving through peaceful and reasonable means any differences that may thereafter exist or arise between them:

that the status quo of New Guinea shall be maintained, with the stipulation that within a year from the date of transfer of sovereignty to the R.I.S. the question of the political status of New Guinea be determined through negotiations between the R.I.S.

and the Netherlands'. [2]

The parties have agreed on an exchange of letters in which it will be made clear that the 'status quo' means that the residency of New Guinea shall continue under the Government of the Netherlands.

2. The Indonesians are bitter with the Dutch for failing to transfer the sovereignty of New Guinea and the negotiations next year will require extremely careful handling if they are not to seriously prejudice relations between the Netherlands and Indonesians. In any event, some of the Indonesians foresee difficulty in getting the present agreement through their Parliaments.' 3. Although the Plenary Session is only 24 hours off, final agreement has not yet been reached on the right of self- determination. The following draft is under discussion:

(1) The division of the R.I.S. in component states will be determined finally by the Constituent Assembly in conformity with the provisions of the provisional constitution of the R.I.S.

(2) Each component State shall be given the opportunity to accept the Constitution. In case a component State does not accept the Constitution, it will have the faculty to negotiate on a special relationship to the R.I.S. and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

(3) Each Territory which is not a component State shall have this faculty only if this is being demanded as the result of a plebiscite thereto directed and which shall be held by the R.I.S.

after consultation with the component State concerned upon recommendation and under supervision of the U.N.C.I. or another organ of the United Nations Organisation, at the latest within 6 months of the coming into force of the Constitution.

Paragraphs (1) and (2) which are based on an U.N.C.I. proposal will be accepted but it is not yet clear whether the Indonesians will accept paragraph (3).

1 Document 521.

2 See Article 2 of the 'Charter of the Transfer of Sovereignty' in united Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, Special Supplement No. 6, p. 92.

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