344 Eaton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 322 BATAVIA, 22 September 1947



Returned to Batavia 21st after visiting Palembang, Padang, Fort de Kock and Medan areas. Position is similar to other areas except that armed bands under Japanese are operating against both Dutch and Indonesians in North Sumatra. As in other areas consider it doubtful that Dutch with present available forces can maintain law and order in territories within demarcation line except in occupied towns and immediately adjacent areas. In all areas clashes still continue.

2. Your telegram 273. [1] Saw Head Far Eastern Office this morning. New Dutch policy will not be known here until Van Mook returns tomorrow when your proposals which were favourably received will be considered. It appears that a definite answer will not be available until Wednesday 24th. This also applies to suggestion of representation in Djokjakarta. They suggested that Officer may be able to advise new policy. Dutch official attitude friendly but inclined to be suspicious of Australia.

3. Your telegram 274. [2] Chairman had not submitted any reports as decided in original procedure but at my suggestion at today's meeting of Mission the following telegram was despatched. Begins:

Telegram to Security Council via United States State Department.

Following for Security Council from Consular Commission, Batavia.

[1] Although investigations cannot be regarded as complete until reports can be received from all military observers, Commission has unanimously reached certain definite and inevitable conclusions, after visits by members to eleven different Dutch and Indonesian controlled areas in Java and Sumatra since the Commission began its work on September 1st. In view of the urgency of the problem we think these should be transmitted to you without delay and very concisely for your advance information.

(2) Advances by Netherlands troops between July 20th and August 4th were in the nature of spearheads and some fighting occurred.

While the main bodies of Republican troops in most areas retreated, considerable numbers of Republican troops remained between the spearheads in some areas and guerillas remained in all areas. The Indonesian scorched earth policy and other disturbances, including looting and heavy loss of life especially of Chinese, were intensified between and behind the spearheads during and after the Dutch advance. On August 29 the N.E.I.

Government declared its intention to 'complete restoration of law and order and the complete disarmament and winding up of all armed organizations' opposing N.E.I. authority within a demarcation line covering Dutch advanced positions. [3] The Indonesians did not accept the Dutch demarcation line. The Dutch line entailed patrol and other activities which were regarded by the Indonesians as hostile movements. Patrol clashes and sniping results therefrom without diminution notwithstanding the cease fire order.

(3) We find that the cease fire order is not fully effective, and that casualties and damage continue, and that this state of affairs is due in the main to the situation described above. So long as this situation continues it will be impossible to secure anything like complete observance of the cease fire.

(4) We have so far been unable to discover any practical interim measures which would secure a more effective observance of the cease fire or reduce casualties.

(5) As the work of the Commission is not yet completed, it is requested that these advance conclusions may be regarded as confidential.

(6) Consular Mission hopes to complete written report on or about September 30.


4. Indonesian Government have now despatched formal advice to Security Council regarding nomination Australia.

5. Have pressed for early completion of joint report. Mission agrees and drafting commencing immediately. Do not consider it necessary to visit further areas myself unless time permits.

Observer officers will remain in the field until at least 28th September when their report will be submitted to Mission. Doubt if report will be of additional value.

1 Document 339.

2 Dispatched on 20 September, it conveyed the text of Document 340.

3 See Document 316, note 2.

[AA:A4355/2, 7/1/7/3]