477 Eaton to Evatt

Ministerial Despatch 12/1947 BATAVIA, 18 December 1947


I have the honour to state that during the last week the main points of interest regarding the Indonesian question and the talks have been firstly the arrival of Mr. Paul Grey in Batavia on a routine visit to Eastern countries. Mr. Grey is the Head Designate of the British Far Eastern Section of the Foreign Office, and he informed me that he was very worried with the present position in Indonesia and that in his opinion the talks with the Committee of Good Offices would probably be abortive and the British Government was considering at the present time what line should be taken in this event. Mr. Grey visited Djokjakarta and had talks with the President and the Prime Minister of the Republic and although I did not see him after this visit, I understand that he advised the Republican authorities that they should be conservative in their outlook on account of the present strength of the Dutch position.

2. On 17th December Dr. Beel, the Premier of Holland, arrived in Batavia and will probably be followed by two other Cabinet Ministers from Holland. I have not had the opportunity of meeting Dr. Beel yet, but he has made it clear in press statements that his visit is entirely apart from the present talks, as a special delegation has been appointed for these negotiations, that his visit concerns the general administration and future policy of the Netherlands East Indies Government and the proposed Federation of the United States of Indonesia.

3. Last night at a private function I was talking to Dr. van Mook, who told me informally that he hoped Dr. Beel would be able to visit Australia, but that it would be very difficult as his time away from Holland was very limited. He did, however, inquire as to the schedule of air services from Australia to America or Europe.

Dr. Beel is to return to Holland early in the new year, and in the meantime is to visit the various established States in Indonesia.

I hope today to see Dr. Beel personally to convey your invitation to visit Australia [1], but in any case he was made aware of it last night through Mr. Schuurman of the Far Eastern Office. Mr.

Schuurman also informed me that he had already heard from the Dutch Legation at Canberra regarding the proposed visit. An inquiry from myself to Dr. van Mook regarding his health produced the interesting comment that he 'would last out the lot of them'.

4. With the weight of people now in Batavia and the fairly good atmosphere being displayed individually between the Indonesians and the Dutch and the general desire for peace by individuals some definite solution should be the outcome before very long, but I am afraid that the solution will only be on Dutch lines unless stronger directions emanate from the Security Council.

5. It seems obvious that the Dutch will not accept any cease fire solution except their own; that is, they will not give up an inch of ground, and require all Republican Forces still within their territory to be removed. This is obviously unfair, and in the meantime there is no doubt that mopping-up operations have recently been greatly intensified. It appears, therefore, that the talks on the cease fire will break down at an early date, but that the Dutch will keep them going until they are ready to announce their future plan for Indonesia, apparently with the concurrence of the Premier and other Cabinet Members from Holland. It is nearly certain their solution will be a Federal Government for the United States of Indonesia, embracing those States already formed and others they are pushing hard to form immediately, such as West Java.

6. In connection with West Java, at the present time a conference is being held at Bandoeng and the Dutch are 'all out' in their efforts to form this new State at the earliest possible time.

However, they are meeting with a certain amount of opposition from the delegates who, in press statements, say that the attempted formation is being carried out in a very undemocratic manner.

7. The Dutch have manoeuvred themselves into a very favourable position and the Republicans have been placed in a weakened position. The future of the Republic in the United States of Indonesia is not yet clear, but again it seems that they will be required to co-operate peacefully, or even by force.

8. A further police action is considered by some people to be imminent, but I do not think that the Dutch will resort to this until their final plan is announced and the Republican Government has been given the opportunity to co-operate. There does not seem to be a great deal of worry regarding repercussions from the Security Council as regards cease fire, stand fast or further police action, as the Dutch are definitely of the opinion that the Security Council's interference in the affairs of the Netherlands is illegal, and to an extent are calling the Security Council's bluff.

9. Another interesting recent development is that a team of observers of the United Nations Committee of Good Offices has proceeded to Madura to report on the situation there. However, no reports are yet available as to the progress of the tour.

10. Results from the heavy work of the Committee of Three are disappointing, but taking all the circumstances into consideration it is difficult to anticipate much else. It may yet come to a partitioning scheme to save the Republic and to avert further military activities.

1 See Document 469.

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