89 Price to Australian Government

Letter CANBERRA, 15 January 1949


With further reference to my letter of the 11th January [1] about Indonesia I have been asked to send you the following extract from a telegram from our Ambassador at The Hague [2]:-

'Minister for Foreign Affairs informed me today that instructions to Van Royen would permit the latter to announce to the Security Council tomorrow that:

(a) A Federal Interim Government would set up within one month.

(b) Elections would be held throughout Indonesia before October next.

(c) Full facilities would be provided to observers to supervise these elections if desired and to watch events generally.

(d) United States of Indonesia to be set up if possible by 1st January, 1950, but in any case transfer of sovereignty to be accomplished in the course of 1950.' In the light of recent developments instructions have now been sent to the United Kingdom delegate [3] somewhat amending the instructions summarised in my letter of the 11th January to the following effect: [this is on the assumption that Mr van Royen makes a statement on the lines indicated above]:-

The delegate was to express regret at the delays which render it still impossible at this date for the Security Council to determine to what extent the resolution of the 24th December has been implemented in relation to the cease-fire and the release of political prisoners.

2. He should go on to say that he welcomes the statement [4] of the Netherlands representative as showing a real desire on the part of the Netherlands Government to carry out the programme outlined in the recent speeches of their Prime Minister and subsequently of the Queen of the Netherlands. [5]

3. Since the United Kingdom Government are anxious that the Dutch should not rest upon Mr. Van Royen's statement and do little to fulfil its terms, he should express the hope that it will be followed by energetic steps on the part of the Netherlands Government to convert what is at present only a plan into a reality.

4. He should express the view that in the circumstances the Council should invite the Committee of Good Offices (or the Consular Commission) to furnish early reports on the operation of the cease-fire as a result of the investigations now being made by the Military observers, and upon the release of the political prisoners who it is understood are to be visited by the United Nations representatives. The Council should not lose sight of the main object, which is that the Republican leaders should be free to take part in the negotiations for the initiation of the various stages in the creation of the United States of Indonesia outlined by the Netherlands representative.

5. On the question of withdrawal, it will be clear from Batavia telegrams that if pressure for this is successful the only result is likely to be chaos. There is a very real danger that if the Indonesian leaders have any reason to believe that the Dutch will withdraw they will from fear of intimidation and reprisals be afraid to come forward and to participate in the formation of the Interim Government. There may then be a stalemate and a recrudescence of the terrorism which ever since Indonesia became an issue has undoubtedly militated against a settlement.

6. The United Kingdom Government very much hope therefore that it will be possible to avoid any kind of resolution relating to withdrawal. If, however, a resolution is proposed he is to seek for an adjournment, and telegraph for further instructions basing his action upon the view that the Council should await the reports of the Military observers.

1 Document 60.

2 Sir Philip Nichols.

3 Sir Alexander Cadogan.

4 See Document 50.

5 See notes 4 and 11 to Document 48.

[AA : A1838, 402/8/1/1/1, ii]