396 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram 384 BATAVIA, 30 October 1947


So as to establish beyond argument authority of the Committee we are seeking at the outset, with the full support of the United States, to manoeuvre parties into asking us to make recommendations (vide Article 38 of Charter [1]).

2. Accordingly at first official meeting held with Indonesians yesterday [2], Committee indicated:

(a) Committee would take note of all wishes and any suggestions of parties;

(b) Committee ready to make suggestions if and when requested, including appropriate procedures or methods of adjustment as well as on such basic matters as are related to procedures for the settlement and terms of Settlement;

(c) Committee ready to offer suggestions for meeting place if so requested by parties;

(d) Committee would welcome any suggestions by either party.

3. In subsequent discussions I made it clear that opportunity was there for Indonesians to suggest that Committee propose basis of discussion. Indonesians appreciate point and agree to put forward suggestions in writing.

4. In answer to query Committee stated terms of reference and concluded that 'the parties to the dispute are the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia'.

5. Indonesians emphasised the need for 'atmosphere of peace' which they later clarified to mean 'cessation of hostilities'. Committee considering this and anxiously awaiting news from Lake Success.

6. With reference to the place of meeting, the Indonesians asked that the Committee be guided by the following considerations:

(a) Neutral place should be best and should not be in territory of Indonesian Republic or Netherlands;

(b) Should not be too far distant;

(c) Need of facilities for telegraphic and mail communication;

(d) Transport of couriers;

(e) Need of good offices of Committee in arranging safe conduct of Indonesian delegation.

They suggested Singapore, or failing that Johore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok, or Manila.

7. The Committee agreed to extend its good offices with a view to providing better communication facilities between the Republic and its Indonesian representatives abroad and with its delegation to the Committee.

8. Van Zeeland was satisfactory and impartial Chairman and we hope this will assist in negotiating with Dutch.

9. Committee at present intends to return to Djokjakarta as early as possible after preliminary meeting with Dutch today.

1 Article 38 of the United Nations Charter empowers the Security Council (in addition to other provisions for the pacific settlement of disputes) to make recommendations for the peaceful settlement of a dispute if all the parties so request. On 4 November, Throssell expressed doubt to Shann whether the Committee of Good offices could act under Article 38 without specific authorisation from the Security Council. Shann replied that Throssell's judgment was 'probably true but we won't raise it!' 2 At Djokjakarta.

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