70 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K245 BATAVIA, 12 January 1949, 11 p.m.


Reliable eyewitnesses' reports indicate that Guerrilla activity in Central Java is causing the Dutch considerable embarrassment. The principal reports are from- (a) George Kahin, an American graduate formerly undertaking research in Djokjakarta and now correspondent for Overseas News Agency;

(b) Lieutenant Colonel Rhys and Commander Dierman, Attaches respectively to the British and United States Consul-General;

Quentin Pope correspondent for Chicago Tribune.

2. Kahin was granted permission by the Dutch authorities in Batavia to visit Djokjakarta for a week from 6th January. He was arrested there on 9th January and compelled to return to Batavia the following day. Kahin reports- (a) There is considerable Guerrilla activity in and around Djokjakarta. The Dutch have suffered casualties and T.N.I.

soldiers appear to have freedom of movement in areas close to the city. On the night of the 9th January, a heavy attack on the city by a section of the Siliwangi division, lasted from 10.00 p.m. to 2.00 a.m. and was repulsed only after the Dutch used tank carriers and armoured cars.

(b) The Dutch are taking strong reprisal action including the burning of complete villages.

(c) The main buildings of Magelang have been gutted and 50,000 tons of sugar were destroyed near Djokjakarta on 5th January.

(d) Despite Dutch reports suggesting that the Sultan of Djokjakarta may co-operate, the latter has refused to meet the Dutch on plea of illness. On 1st January, he resigned as head of the Civil Armies of Djokjakarta retaining only his authority as head of the Royal Family.

(e) The Dutch have so far managed to obtain very little co- operation from the people of Djokjakarta. Of 10,000 civil servants ordinarily employed by the Sultan only 150 are now working for the Dutch.

(f) The food situation throughout Central Java is critical. The Dutch are bringing in a certain amount of rice from Semarang which is distributed only to those working for them. Textiles and coconut oil are also distributed to those who have worked a week or more for the Dutch. The price of rice on the open market has soared as a result of the scarcity.

(g) Leimena, whom Kahin managed to see despite Dutch efforts to prevent him, is free but is not permitted any political activity.

Contrary to Van Royen's statement [1] to the Security Council he has declined a Dutch offer of a position in the Interim Federal Government. Leimena believes the people can continue non co- operation for three to four months. He stressed the importance of positive signs of help from outside.

3. Rhys and Dierman made a tour of Madioen, Djokjakarta and Solo on the invitation of the Dutch military authorities on 5th and 6th January. They reported to the Consular Commission that- (a) Guerrilla activity was continuing around Madioen and that roads thereabouts were still unsafe. Madioen in fact was completely cut off from the rest of Java except by air and, as a result, there was an acute food shortage.

(b) The road from Djokjakarta to Maguwo was still unsafe and snipers continue at night.

(c) Solo is severely damaged and is without water or light.

(d) The road from Solo to Djokjakarta is severely damaged and is considered by the Dutch to be dangerous.

(e) Observation by military observers will be complicated by the fact that all roads outside the main towns are unsafe. The small size of the Dutch garrisons and the nature of the country in central Java, lend themselves to a continuation of Guerrilla activities.

(f) The Netherlands casualties are possibly higher than indicated in the Dutch reports. Republican casualties are not known but the two concentrations are believed to have suffered casualties amounting to 800 and 500 respectively.

(h) Rice and textiles are distributed by the Dutch only to those working for them.

4. Pope visited Madioen and Solo on 8th to 10th January. He confirmed the above accounts and added that the Dutch forces around Solo are using artillery fire against anything resembling a concentration. In thickly populated villages this is causing numerous civilian casualties-which he confirmed at the local hospitals. He also reported that no attempt had been made to clear side-roads which were still barricaded.

5. Republican sources, particularly their radio station in East Java, continue to report Guerrilla activities throughout Java.

These appear to be most intense in West and Central Java.

1 See Document 50.

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