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Historical documents

360 Australian Military Observing Officers to Eaton

BATAVIA, [1 October 1947] [1]



1. Object
The object of this report is to cover:-

(a) The observance of the 'CEASE HOSTILITIES' order and
(b) The conditions prevailing in areas under military occupation
or from which armed forces now in occupation may be withdrawn by
agreement between the parties.

This object in general terms covers Security Council Resolution
dated 25th August 1947.

2. Execution of Object
The Australian Military Observing Officers were employed as
follows: Group A consisting of Brigadier L. G. H. DYKE, C.B.E.,
D.S.O., and Squadron Leader L. SPENCE, D.F.C., R.A.A.F., were
located at JOKJAKARTA between 14th and 27th September inclusive
and observed the situation in the following Republican Areas:-

At SARANGAN, all Divisional and Regimental Commanders of
Republican Forces operating on East Java fronts were interrogated.

Group B consisting of Commander H. S. CHESTERMAN, R.A.N., and
Major D. L. CAMPBELL, A.M.F., were located at SOURABAYA between
15th and 23rd September inclusive and observed the situation in
the following Dutch Controlled Areas:-

Group B also Spent 24 hours at Jokjakarta en route to Sourabaya
and met the President, Premier and Military Staff Officers of the

Both the above Groups spent the majority of the time available in
extensive travelling and in interviewing a large number of
officials of varying types. Also in view of the fact that a large
number of detailed documents and maps were studied and exhaustive
inquiries were pursued, the Australian Military Observers feel
that they are as reliably informed as the time available
permitted. Their period of observation has been longer than that
of the Representatives of any other country.

After full discussion between Groups A and B this combined report
is submitted in the following form:-

Part I The observance of the 'Cease Hostilities Order'.

Part II Conditions prevailing in Areas visited.

Part III Answers to Questionnaire.

Appendices 'A' Security Council Resolutions of 1 and 25 August

'B' Republican and Dutch orders to 'Cease Hostilities'. [2]


3. Interpretations of relevant Security Council Resolutions
It is desired to emphasise that the Security Council Resolution
dated 1st August 1947 called upon the parties to 'Cease
Hostilities forthwith' vide text of above Resolution contained in
Appendix (A). However in accordance with the Security Council
Resolution dated 25th August 1947 vide Appendix (A), the Career
Consular Representatives are required to furnish a report to cover
the observance of the 'Cease Fire Orders'.

We are of the opinion that there is a difference in meaning
between the above terms which, in the military sense, are
considered to be as follows:-

(a) 'CEASE FIRE' means that troops stop firing guns, rifles,
mortars etc.

(b) 'CEASE HOSTILITIES' means to stop all acts of warfare

(i) use of all military weapons;

(ii) naval blockade;

(iii) air reconnaissance;

(iv) fifth column activities;

(v) all forms of hostile propaganda;

(vi) movement of troops into territory occupied by the other side.

The term 'CEASE HOSTILITIES' is thus capable of a much broader
interpretation than the term 'CEASE FIRE'. Australian Military
Observers have concerned themselves with the observance of a
'CEASE HOSTILITIES ORDER' and not with that of a 'CEASE FIRE

In view of the fact that detailed and comprehensive amplification
of the term 'CEASE HOSTILITIES' was not included in the Security
Council Resolution, dated 1st August 1947, each side was at
liberty to place its own interpretation upon the term. In fact
each side did place a different interpretation upon the term
'CEASE HOSTILITIES' as demonstrated by the initial orders to cease
hostilities promulgated by each side to the Commanders in the
Field vide Appendix B. This initial divergence in orders to
Republican and Dutch Forces (which has remained unaltered), viz.

the Republican Government ordering a 'Stand Fast' and the Dutch
Command ordering operations to continue without interruptions in
occupied territory, is considered to be the major factor
contributing to the continuance of hostilities.

4. Factors precluding observance of 'CEASE HOSTILITIES ORDER'
(a) Divergence in interpretation of 'CEASE HOSTILITIES ORDER' as
detailed in foregoing paragraph.

(b) Police Action, which is the term used by the Dutch to embrace
the Military Operations between 21st July and the 'CEASE
HOSTILITIES ORDER' of 4th/5th August, is considered by the
Republic as tantamount to a Declaration of War. The Republic does
not recognize Dutch control of the territories thus gained.

(c) The Dutch armed patrols which have been operating within the
Dutch controlled area, are considered necessary and justified by
the Dutch to counter hostile acts by Republican Forces. On the
other hand, the Republic maintains that these armed patrols are
contrary to the 'CEASE HOSTILITIES ORDER'.

(d) The declaration by the Dutch of the 'Van Mook Line' [3] is
regarded by the Republic as a hostile act. The authority or right
of the Dutch to establish this line is not only denied but
fiercely resisted by Republicans. It is the cause of much
bitterness, and is contemptuously referred to as the 'Van Mook
Dream Line'. There is considered to be no chance of settling the
dispute so long as the Dutch attempt to maintain this line.

(e) The contention of the Republican Government that orders issued
from Jokjakarta should be obeyed by all Indonesians whether in
Republican or Dutch controlled territory, which is totally
unacceptable to the Dutch.

(f) Continuance of aggressive propaganda including orders to all
Indonesians vide
(e) above. The Dutch consider such action to be a form of
psychological warfare.

5. Conclusion
Under the circumstances outlined above, breaches of the 'CEASE
ORDER' were well nigh inevitable particularly under the prevailing
temper of the parties concerned.

It is considered that there is abundant evidence of the fact that
both sides have committed, and are continuing to commit, daily
breaches of the 'CEASE HOSTILITIES ORDER'. It has been impossible
for the observers to determine which party initiated breaches of


Conditions prevailing in areas under Military Occupation
The observations regarding conditions prevailing within the
Republican and Dutch controlled areas are restricted to those
within the areas visited by the observers and are as follows:-

(a) Republican Areas.

This is not intended to be a comprehensive survey of the economic
situation but simply a brief statement of conditions, other than
military, prevailing in the areas visited.

This factor is probably one of the most important of all. The
language barrier has hindered us in obtaining the views of many
classes of the population. There is no sign of consternation or
panic amongst the people living in close proximity to the various
fronts. Everyone seems to be going about his or her business as

Most of the villages have organized some form of local defence
force. Training in some form or other is being carried out. The
only equipment with which villagers can oppose them is the bamboo
with a sharpened point.

We are of the opinion that morale is high and the determination to
resist the Dutch is strong.

The view was freely expressed that if the Dutch did overwhelm the
population with force, then the people would refuse to co-operate
with them.

After making careful inquiries in a number of areas, it appeared
to the Observers that the administration of those areas was being
carried out effectively.

Officials are carrying on in spite of many difficulties imposed
upon them by the abnormal conditions now prevailing in Java.

A visit was paid to the District of Godean.

The system of administration was studied and the Observers had the
opportunity of meeting many of the officials concerned with it.

It is quite obvious that there is no chance of the administrative
system breaking down.

Generally speaking, crops are good and there is an abundance of

Some damage has been done to tobacco crops by the early rains but
the damage is not widespread or serious.

Many 'home industries' have been established. The increase in the
number of these has been considerable due to the movement of
people from areas occupied by the Dutch or from areas in close
proximity to them.

This is particularly noticeable in Jokjakarta to which city many
additional people have recently moved.

Some of these industries were inspected by the Observers.

It was noticed that as many as twelve employees were working in
small 'home' factories.

Wages for workers in the silver industry were Rs 3 per day while
in the copper industry Rs 5 was the usual thing.

From inquiries made, it was ascertained that 8 hours per day for 6
days a week was customary.

We were impressed with the concentrated attention of the workers
who continued to work in spite of the fact that ten or more
visitors crowded around them to watch each process of manufacture.

Only hand labour was employed in the factories visited.

(a) Road transport.

Very few motor vehicles are on the road.

Some cars are in use but the transport by road of goods has
practically ceased.

The Republic has been unable to obtain tyres for a number of years
and consequently tyre troubles are a frequent occurrence.

(b) Rail transport.

The capacity of the railways is not known but after travelling
extensively over the railway system the Observers are convinced of
their efficiency.

The big repair shop at MADIUN was inspected where some 3,000 men
are employed. Very little rolling stock was awaiting repair and
the whole atmosphere of the shop was one of efficiency.

In the areas under the control of the Republic schools were open.

In areas between the opposing forces, the schools were closed.

A visit was paid to a public school. There is a shortage of
teachers in some schools but generally speaking, education is
proceeding normally.

The general standard of health at present is good.

However, much remains to be done to improve the general standard
of sanitation and hygiene.

Malaria is prevalent at this time of the year.

Paludrin is not available for the treatment of this disease.

There is a serious shortage of medical supplies of all kinds.

Many hospitals were visited and it appeared to us that they were
being conducted in an efficient manner.

The Observers witnessed the Village Bank functioning. There was
much business being transacted. Advances are made to the people to
assist them in financing their crops, businesses etc.

It was noticed that the rate of interest charged was about 30%.

This appears to be high but we were informed that it was very low
compared with that charged by the Chinese.

A visit was not paid to any court of law but it is understood that
courts are functioning as usual.

There is very little crime at the moment. Communications
Roads are in a poor state of repair. No bitumen is available to
bind repairs if these were attempted.

Telephone communications are working satisfactorily in the
Republic but not beyond the areas at present occupied by the

The telegraph is working in the areas under control of the

There is no outside communication with the world except by radio

Considerable numbers of people have moved out of areas which can
be described as 'no man's land', i.e. those areas between the two
forces. The population of some of the bigger cities like
Jokjakarta and Solo has increased considerably in consequence.

No serious disturbance of the economy of the country has resulted
from this movement of the population.

(b) Dutch Areas.

Taking into consideration the recent and prevailing circumstances,
conditions appeared to be reasonably stable with the Indonesian
Civil Administration co-operating with the Military Commanders to
alleviate distress, to achieve economic stability and to effect
security of life and property. The Dutch Military Forces appear
to treat the Indonesian local population with understanding,
justice and tolerance. The towns and villages appear to be
regaining prosperity.

In certain areas and mainly by night, infiltration by Republican
Forces occurs and acts of sabotage take place. Also towns and
villages are subject to sporadic attacks from Republican Forces
with headquarters in the mountain areas. The damage inflicted,
largely to roads, bridges and communications is repaired as
rapidly as practicable. Dutch Military Patrols operate in areas
liable to the above attacks in order to afford protection to the
civil population and to counter enemy operations.

[matter omitted]




Squadron Leader

1 The only copy found is undated. The date given is that of the
submission of the report to the Consular Commission (reported by
Eaton on 1 October).

2 Part III and Appendices 'A' and 'B' not printed.

3 See Document 316, note 2.

[AA:A4355/2, 7/1/7/6]
Last Updated: 11 September 2013
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