434 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram [K1] BATAVIA, 24 November 1947, 5 p.m.


7. Very confidentially I have sent Critchley to Jogjakarta today to discuss with the Prime Minister the advisability of making a written appeal to the Committee to consider urgently- (1) Measures to provide for equitable distribution of food and clothing under international control throughout areas in which de facto authority of the Republic was recognised by the Netherlands before military action of July 21st; and (2) Measures to relieve interruption of economic relations and communications of the Republic imposed by force of the Netherlands, this letter including reference to naval blockade.

8. If the Republic take this step it will state- (A) Its gratitude to the Security Council for its intervention and for various resolutions passed by it;

(B) Its appreciation of the work of the Committee of Good Offices;

(C) Assurance that it will continue to assist and obey the Council and the Committee in every possible way;

(D) Its understanding that measures to cease hostilities taken by the Council have been provisional measures taken 'without prejudice to the rights, claims or position of the parties' and have been directed to the breach of the peace initiated by the Dutch in July;

(E) That 'police action' had the aim of crushing Republican resistance by cutting off from it the main food producing areas of Java and Sumatra;

(F) Because of timely action taken by the Council that the Dutch were unable to achieve complete military domination of the Island but that they did succeed in gaining control of the main economic areas before August 4th;

(G) Because (A) to (F) above, delay in reaching an overall political settlement and implementation of the cease fire will consolidate for the Dutch their economic gains and the inevitable weakness of the Republic, they will add that the economic blockade which the Dutch are now imposing will create extreme distress and possibly starvation within areas controlled by the Republic and will prejudice a proper appreciation of the political situation in the Island and seriously hamper proper and impartial judgment.

9. The present plan I had in mind was that this plea on economic and humanitarian grounds would reach the Committee at the same time as it was considering the question of reporting back to the Security Council on the cease fire and I was wondering whether it would not help to secure justice [for] the Republic [i]f the Committee remitted both matters to the Security Council. Further I was considering the advisability of endeavouring to have sent on to the Security Council economic and humanitarian plea in any event.

10. If you could give me your opinion on the above matters as a matter of urgency I would be greatly assisted. In this connection you will appreciate that the ship should be here December 2nd [2] and on present indications only refusal by the Dutch could prevent bona fide commencement of substantive discussions on that date. In this connection I think the Republic would be willing to give an unqualified undertaking to cease fire and stand fast pending Security Council action on reference to it of the cease fire and economic and humanitarian plea. I would also like your opinion as to whether the Republic should give such an undertaking. I feel they should and thus proclaim absolute reliance and dependence on receiving justice from the United Nations.

11. I should have added above that my main reason for thinking the Republic should make humanitarian plea now was that by so doing they will use the economic position created by Dutch aggression as an affirmative plea for justice rather than have to rely upon it as a sort of explanation for the Dutch case that the Republic have lost and the Dutch have gained considerable support of local populations. This latter as I have said before is obviously due to economic pressure and bribery. It is true I think that it is only temporary but it would be difficult to substantiate this if the Republic merely raised it as a sort of defence and if the Republic has to use the fact at all it would be better by way of attack than defence.

1[2]. I appreciate the views of the Prime Minister in your telegram 362 [3] and as you know, have been always most anxious to get the cease fire position back to the Security Council one way or another. Unfortunately I am only one of three, but I have been doing my best in this connection. I will certainly suggest to the Committee at the meeting tomorrow that it act in accordance with paragraph one of your telegram 362. In support I will use the terms of August 1st resolution requiring the parties to 'keep the Security Council informed about the progress of the settlement'.

1[3]. The Republic, in asking the Committee to refer the cease fire deadlock and humanitarian plea to the Security Council, would of course intimate that it was immediately prepared to commence substantive discussions on the ship, and would argue that, provided food were distributed under international supervision, the necessary air of tranquillity so often mentioned up here would be provided for such discussions.

14. Could you please hasten urgently the despatch of Paludrine Tablets.

1 Parts I and II of cablegram K1 are given as Document 433.

2 The United States Government had agreed to make the transport ship USS Renville available as a venue for discussions between the representatives of the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia under the auspices of the Committee of Good Offices.

3 Document 431.

[AA:A3195, 1947, 1.23029]