98 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram unnumbered BATAVIA, 16 January 1949, 11.09 p.m.

Text of telegram to the Security Council dated 15th January. [1]

Begins. On the 15th January, 1949, in accordance with arrangements reported to the Security Council on 11th and 13th January, the Committee of Good Offices visited 6 Republican Ministers and officials detained on the Island of Bangka: Vice President Hatta, Chairman of the Republican Delegation Roem, Minister of Education Sastroamidjojo, Air Commodore Suriadama, Chairman of K.N.I.P.

(Provisional People's Representative Body) Assaat and State Secretary Pringgodigdo. They are detained on the top of an isolated hill near Muntok.

2. The Committee had been informed by the Acting Chairman of the Netherlands Delegation [2] on 14th January that 'The Government of Indonesia at this juncture cannot see its way to permit member of the Republican delegation to accompany the Committee of Good Offices on their forthcoming visit to Bangka on January 15th, 1949. It is intended shortly to revert to the possibility for members of the Republican delegation now in Batavia to pay a visit to Bangka.' 3. Ministers and officials brought to the Island by 31st December, 1948, are detained in large building. They have one doorless bedroom, six metres by six metres, in which are located six beds, in addition, they were originally allowed area of four metres by ten metres wired off from large reception room. Since 12th January, this wire has been removed and the entire reception room nineteen metres by sixteen metres is open to their use. They are permitted limited access to roof under guard. All windows are enclosed by wire netting, as is the area around the door. Guards are on duty in sentry boxes immediately outside. They are not permitted to leave wired areas. Up to two days before the visit of the Committee when some additional furniture was installed there were only chairs and two tables.

4. On 10th January, Ministers and Officials were visited by Mr.

Brouwer, described as Crown Commissioner in Medan, and as personal representative of High Crown Representative. Mr. Brouwer asked them to sign a pledge to refrain from political activities and assured them if they gave such pledge they would be given freedom to move about Bangka and their families would be permitted to join them. None gave this pledge.

5. The Vice President and others expressed concern at the fact that Mr. Brouwer indicated that the High Representative of the Crown [3] no longer recognized either the legal existence of the Republic or the official status of its servants. The Committee assured the group that so far as the Security Council and the Committee were concerned, the Republic was still a party to the dispute.

6. Ministers and Officials have been kept generally informed as to the progress of events and activities of the Security Council.

They may listen to radio reports, are given copies of Bangka Indonesian Press, Dutch language magazines, and Batavia newspapers, the latter somewhat delayed. They have not received any reports or other documents either from the Republican Delegation or from the Committee. The Committee left with them its recent reports and various publications including Republican reviews of Indonesian Press.

7. The Vice President and other officials presented at length the Republican position with reference to military action and controversies between parties. It was agreed, however, that Republican position could be more effectively presented in writing and that the Committee would not attempt to forward informal oral expressions of opinion. The group requested they be supplied with certain additional documents needed in the prep-aration of their statement, and that they be visited by three members of the Republican Delegation present in Batavia, so that statement can be properly prepared. The Committee indicated its willingness to forward such statement to the Security Council and will use its Good Offices with the Netherlands to procure the granting of the above requests so that early preparation and transmission of report will be possible. The Chairman of the Republican delegation submitted a written report on experiences of internees since December 19th which the Committee will forward by airmail.

8. Since 5th January, Ministers and Officials have been permitted to write to their families. Letters are handed to local guard unsealed. One reply has been received. They are permitted to communicate only with their families.

9. Political proposals have been made to the Ministers and Officials, other than request to sign pledge (see paragraph 3 above).

10. The group heard the radio report of pending visit by Committee on 11th January. On 14th January they were told by Netherlands official that Committee would come next day.

11. The Vice President stated that at Cabinet meeting held from 0900 to 1100, 19th December, during the assault on Djokjakarta, the President and Cabinet [4] on all matters in which the President, Prime Minister and Members of the Regular Cabinet are not free to act. The Vice President also stated that the Republican representative to the Security Council has full authority to act on his own initiative in the absence of further instructions from his Government.

12. On 16th January, Committee received letter from the Acting Chairman of the Netherlands Delegation as follows:

'I hear with surprise that orders given concerning personal freedom of circulation in Bangka for Mr. Hatta and other prominent personalities have not been put into force. I have at once ascertained cause of this regrettable state of affairs. It is, as you know, entirely in contradiction with instructions given on this point and which are being repeated today by telegram. In order to avoid any further misunderstanding, I have the honour to inform you that two high Netherlands Officials will leave for Bangka early tomorrow by special plane, with specific mission to see that no obstacles are placed to free movement and circulation in Bangka for above mentioned personalities.'

1 The full text of the report, actually dated 16 September, is given as Document S/1213 in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, Supplement for January, pp.49-52.

2 T. Elink Schuurman.

3 L.J.M. Beel.

4 The cited copy mutilates part of paragraph 11 of Document S/1213 which reads: '... had authorized Shafrudin Prawiranegara to establish, in Sumatra, an Emergency Government of the Republic.

This Government is deputized by the Cabinet and has authority to act for the President and Cabinet on all matters in which the President, Prime Minister and members of the regualr Cabinet are not free to act'.

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