531 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K350 BATAVIA, 22 November 1949, 5.45 p.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 177. [1]

There have been for a long time rumours, as in the British report, of a Republican split. They usually feature the Sultan in an ambitious and extremist role of plotting to overthrow either Sukarno or Hatta or both. It is interesting that B.F.O. Delegates returned from the Netherlands with such stories. The Sultan's rise to Nationalist leadership has been most disappointing to the Dutch and his independent position will be unwelcome to them next year.

2. All my information indicates British report to be inaccurate.

Though neither Sukarno, the Sultan nor TNI are altogether satisfied with R.T.C. results, all are loyally supporting Hatta.

Sudirman and TNI are solidly behind the Sultan. Sudirman's position is perhaps potentially extremist in that he is said to oppose any other [than the] [2] Sultan as R.I.S. Defence Minister.

However, the Sultan at present seems certain of appointment.

Bambang Sugeng took over duties of Commander-in-Chief in mid October but it is too early yet to say whether he will replace Sudirman in R.I.S. Sudirman favours the Sultan also for this position during transitional period. There is no suggestion of any opposition to Sukarno from Governmental circles, such as might lead to a 'split'.

3. Most important source of dissension at present is TNI opposition to Sjahrir as R.I.S. Foreign Minister. This opposition is also directed to some extent towards the Sultan since he is inclined towards Sjahrir as the man most likely to pursue an independent policy in Foreign Affairs. However, it is still too early to estimate how this situation will develop.

4. B.F.O. is to appoint its delegates to Preparatory Commission today or tomorrow. There is no news of Republican delegates. In the meantime we are trying to commence discussions on military affairs, but the Dutch are proving quite unprepared for this.

1 Dispatched on 18 November, it reported that British Army sources indicated that a split was developing between Sudirman and Sukarno, on one side, and the Sultan of Djokjakarta, on the other.

2 Text in square brackets inserted from a copy on file AA :

A4357/2, 252, ii.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/3/2, vi]