330 Ballard to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 284 BATAVIA, 20 December 1946, 3.20 p.m.

SECRET

Your telegram 135. [1]

When I saw Sjahrir today I told him that in my relations with the Republican authorities my hands were not tied by rigid adherence to protocol, and conveyed that officers of his Government could expect every assistance from me. He was in one of his more reticent moods, but seemed pleased. He said Pan-Arab conference had decided to give de facto recognition to the Republic and seemed heartened by last night's American pronouncement [2] which he said would 'give States General a push'. [3]

The Dutch Government have not yet told him that they are ready to sign. He said the Republican Cabinet had twice decided to approve of agreement and that it was not intended to submit it to Komite Nasional before signature. The Mastrivmi (Moslem) Party has come out against the agreement and there is a move to form a 'stronghold of Indonesia' to consolidate local opposition to it.

He said he was not worried about the strength of this, as the opposition were divided amongst themselves. He did say, however, that he was rather worried about the reactions to the Dutch military measures which have been provoked on occasions. Of course there are faults on both sides, but the fact is that the truce has been a plant of forced growth.

1 Document 279.

2 In a press release on 17 December the U.S. Govt announced that it had received with 'gratification' the news that the Netherlands Govt had authorised its Commission General to sign the agreement negotiated by Dutch and Indonesian representatives on November 15 at Cheribon, and that it would watch with 'close interest' future developments to make this agreement effective.

3 Under the Cheribon Draft Agreement the Netherlands was to recognise the de facto authority of the Republic of Java, Sumatra and Madura, but both parties were to co-operate in forming a federal United States of Indonesia (U.S.I.) 'which would extend to other areas of the N.E.I. and which would remain linked with the Netherlands'.

[AA:A1838/2, 403/3/1/1, iiiA]