420 Kirby to Burton BATAVIA, 14 November 1947, 2.03 p.m. Received 15 November 1947, 9 a.m.

Cablegram 412,


Interpretation of Security Council resolution of November 1st has been debated by Committee with Americans and ourselves making some progress against limited interpretation of penultimate paragraph [1] by Van Zeeland. Strategy of seeking best possible basis for showdown had required me to accept an interim compromise agreement regarding establishment of demarcation line expressed by following quote agreement.

Secret document. For use only by members of Committee so that each member will give identical reply at this stage to questions that may be separately asked of him by representatives of either party.

. . . [A]t this stage the Committee is not yet in a position to offer suggestions; it has been informed of views expressed by military advisers on November 10th 1947, namely that opinion expressed by military advisers on October 2nd 1947 should be made to conform to the resolution of November 1st. [2] In addition to other reasons, the express reference made by them to the resolution of the Security Council November 1st, 1947, makes it necessary to come to a clear interpretation of the will of the Council as expressed in the resolution. Such interpretation can best be made by the Committee of Good Offices with the help of verbatim records of the meetings of the Security Council. In the meantime, considering that the rights and claims of either party could not possibly be prejudiced, modified or jeopardised, it is hoped that the parties will forthwith take steps to come to an agreement on any practical solution which might meet their views.

2. It would be of great assistance to me if you would pass this telegram on to the Minister personally at New York with a view to my obtaining precise instructions by telegram signed by him which I may pass to other members of the Committee as authority for Australian understanding that the resolution requires withdrawal of the Dutch forces to their positions of August 4th and also to my obtaining concise definitions of the terms in the resolution such as 'the use of armed forces', 'hostile action', 'control', 'territory not occupied'. I understand privately that the Americans are telegraphing for similar definitions and it may be possible for you to arrange replies agreeing with those of the State Department. In particular the definition 'hostile action' will be hotly contested by the Dutch who will probably claim peaceful penetration. It seems reasonable however to define hostile action as action contrary to the wishes of the other party.

(5. [3]) No doubt you will have been studying the attitude of France [4] and I should be glad of your appreciation of the position from time to time for my own personal background information.

(6.) In confidence, the Americans have hinted that the United States will apply strongest pressure on the Netherlands. You may also be able to give me personal information on this subject.

(3.) Present indications are that the Dutch may refuse obedience to the November 1st resolution interpreted as above and may even bluntly inform the Committee to that effect. In that event Graham and I are discussing whether the Committee should report such refusal to the Security Council in either of two events:

1. That the Committee unanimously adopts such interpretation; or 2. That it does so by a majority, Zeeland dissenting.

The Minister's views on this would be welcomed.

(4.) Van Zeeland has agreed that the failure by the Committee to reach a political settlement and reference back to the Security Council will provoke the veto. If there is to be a deadlock this justifies our endeavouring to ensure that it occurred in the best possible circumstances and concern[ing] the November 1st resolution where our position is strongest.

7. The Republican Delegation has just arrived in Batavia for the first meeting on the cease fire resolutions with the Dutch at 1630 hours today. The Committee under my chairmanship will open the meeting but will leave two delegations to talk with each other and representatives from the three nations on a technical level. [5] (The Committee is attempting to reach unanimity of interpretation of the November 1st resolution but in my view Van Zeeland will not yield and certainly the remaining two will not, unless contrary to advice received in reply to our respective telegrams mentioned in paragraph two of this telegram.) 8. Your personal telegram [6] very much appreciated and I will further discuss with Graham suggestion of progressive report to Council. He rather thinks Council will only welcome reference to it on clear cut issues. Perhaps the Minister may give his opinion on this.

1 i.e. the penultimate paragraph of the Security Council resolution of 1 November (see Document 402).

2 See Document 414, note 2.

3 A sign here indicates 'paragraphs numbered as received'.

4 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

5 See Document 416, note 6. On 15 November, the Special Committees jointly requested the Committee of Good Offices to initiate a series of radio broadcasts to the inhabitants of Indonesia to explain the aims and functions of the Committee. In compliance with this request, Van Zeeland and Kirby broadcast on Radio Batavia and Radio Djokjakarta respectively on 17 November, including in their statements appeals for an end to violence and incitement to hatred.

6 Document 418.

[AA:A1838/283, 403/3/1/1, xii]