479 Critchley to Kirby and Burton

Cablegram K24 BATAVIA, 20 December 1947, 7.56 p.m.


Sjarifoeddin told me last night that a telegram from the Republic's representative in London confirmed advice given by Grey. [1]

2. Prime Minister Beel last night in Sumatra made a 'last appeal' to the Republic for co-operation in formation of a federative United States of Indonesia. [2]

3. Yesterday, a West Java Conference held under the auspices of the Dutch adopted a resolution to form a West Java Provisional Government based on the status of a state to be established in a third conference. The conference also called upon the central Government to transfer as soon as possible the rights and authority to govern to the West Java Provisional Government. Van Mook has publicly agreed today to band over rights and authority to govern as soon as possible and has indicated 'the precursor of hopes itself' will shortly be organised. [3]

4. These developments clearly demonstrate that the Committee is being by-passed and that a serious crisis which threatens the existence of the Republic is close at hand. I am endeavouring to ensure that Sjarifoeddin makes a strong statement to the Committee and to the press along the following lines.

(a) That the action taken by the Security Council following the police action was taken without prejudice to the rights, claims or position of the parties. The Dutch are disregarding the Security Council's resolutions by taking action which is seriously prejudicing the position of the Republic and in fact ignores the Republic.

(b) That the cease hostilities resolution of the Security Council should mean a political and [4] cease fire.

(c) That the Netherlands are by-passing the Committee of Good Offices which is in Java with the agreement of both parties for the express purpose of assisting in a settlement of the dispute.

The Committee is in danger of being presented with a fait accompli [in] which the political status of the island will have been organised by the Dutch without the co-operation of the Republic or the Committee.

(d) That West Java Conference was a puppet conference under the Dutch and was completely undemocratic and contrary to the spirit and agreement of Linggadjati which the Republic accepts and of which the Netherlands claim to accept the underlying principles.

(West Java Conference was called by Recomba, that is, the Administrative officer directly responsible to Van Mook.

Invitations to attend were sent out in the name of representatives of the Netherlands East Indies Government and these representatives were selected by a contact committee which had been formed by an earlier conference called by Recomba in the same way. Since the first conference agreed that it was not completely representative of the people the contact committee which chose the second conference was clearly not democratic.) (e) That Prime Minister Beel's 'last appeal' makes it appear that the Republic is being uncooperative [when] in fact the records of the Committee of Good Offices will show clearly that it is the Netherlands and not the Republic which is uncooperative and is delaying implementation of the Security Council's resolution. More than a fortnight ago the Republic accepted unconditionally the Committee's plan for a speedy and effective truce [5] whereas the Netherlands have not yet done so.

(f) That on the same day as Prime Minister Beel made his statement, the Netherlands were ignoring the Republic in permitting the setting up of a puppet state in territory which under their own interpretation of Linggadjati was under de facto authority of the Republic.

(g) That although Security Council recognises the Republic as one of two parties in dispute, the Netherlands are completely ignoring them in their political proposals for Java, Sumatra and Madura.

This is greatly upsetting the atmosphere for the Renville talks and if it continues there is little possibility of talks being successful.

(h) That the Republic re-asserts its firm intention of continuing co-operation to the full with the Committee of Good Offices and the Security Council of the United Nations in an endeavour to reach just settlement of the dispute. As an assurance of its good faith, it agrees to accept unconditionally the verdict of the United Nations in this matter.

5. On the basis of this statement I could make a strong appeal in the Committee that our report should deal with the issues raised by Sjarifoeddin. I fear, however, that it will be practically impossible to get agreement on this as even the Americans are anxious that the report should not deal with controversial issues and should avoid as far as possible evoking discussions in the Security Council. After further sounding out the Americans, I shall, if necessary, threaten a minority report which would indicate that while Australia would do everything possible to continue assistance in settlement of the dispute, the Committee must either have co-operation of the Netherlands or more clear definition of powers essential to accomplish anything. In particular I might also ask for clarification whether unilateral political action of the Netherlands is consistent with the resolution of the Security Council.

6. At the same time, it would probably be dangerous if I were to carry this threat into effect against strong opposition of the Americans. Unless we had the vote of the United States any proposal would presumably be defeated in the Security Council and defeat of resolution now would be potential encouragement for the Netherlands to fulfil their federal plan and reopen police action at the first favourable opportunity. I shall, therefore, await your instructions which I should be glad to have by tomorrow evening before taking final action.

7. Our best course if the Americans will not agree to a strong report may be to endeavour to get as much appropriate factual material as possible in the report leaving it to our representative on the Council to use the report and Sjarifoeddin's statement etc. to the fullest extent practicable in terms of the feelings of other members. My personal opinion, of course, is that the Committee must be given more powers if it is to be of use and that the Netherlands must receive an early and heavy jolt from the Council.

8. Other matters worth your consideration are- (a) Whether Sjarifoeddin should be encouraged to make a direct appeal to the Security Council along the lines in paragraph 4.

(b) Whether it would be possible as a minimum precaution to obtain a resolution from the Council instructing the Netherlands that it must on no account whatever extend its police action.

(c) In the event of the worst happening, what steps could be taken to ensure an Emigre Government. In the event of further police action the Republicans intended to fly from Djokjakarta to Sumatra and bought an Anson plane for th[at] purpose. Unfortunately the plane crashed in Sumatra.

1 See Documents 465 and 477.

2 Broadcast by Radio Medan.

3 This sentence was apparently corrupted in transmission. The Melbourne Argus on 22 December reported that Van Mook had informed the West Java Conference 'that the circle of those who wanted a Federated States of Indonesia in cooperation with the Netherlands was now big enough to organise a precursor of a Federal government'.

4 A sign here indicates 'word omitted'.

5 See Documents 457 and 458.

[AA:A1838/274, 854/10/4/2, ii]