392 Ball to Burton

Cablegram 10, BATAVIA, 14 November 1945

SECRET

Had long talk with Christison and Dening and Walsh this morning.

All three in comparative optimistic mood as a result of the break up of the Soekarno Cabinet. [1] Dening argues that Eastern people easily instigated to theatrical political demonstrations that are superficial and mainly this is what a small hand-full of nationalists leaders have been doing to Javanese. Nationalists activity might collapse like a pricked bubble any day.

Personally not convinced by British view though it may be true that the present disorders can be suppressed by British and Dutch.

Believe British information on Java situation mostly received through the Dutch who are not competent observers or accurate reporters. As an illustration the British lack information which was left to me late last night to give Dening and Christison about Soekarno's new Premier and the names of the new Indonesian Cabinet Ministers. This is further reason I suspected London not receiving full prompt information of the Javanese situation. Unable yet to form an opinion of the real significance of the Cabinet change.

The only reason given is to purge the Nationalists leadership of all trace of Japanese collaborationists. Trying to interview Sjahrir the new Prime Minister, Foreign and Home Minister. Hope to give estimation of the new Cabinet policy tomorrow. Meanwhile Van Mook's political adviser kidnapped.

1 On 14 November a new Republican government headed by Sutam Sjahrir replaced the original cabinet which had been directly responsible to Sukarno. Sjahrir was a nationalist who had remained underground during the Japanese occupation, and the transfer of power to a non-collaborationist was calculated to improve the standing of the Indonesian republic in the eyes of both the Dutch and interested Western governments.

[AA : A1838/2, 401/1/2/1]