128 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K110 BATAVIA, 10 May 1948, 8.45 p.m.


Your telegram 108. [1]

It is true the Republic has been disappointed in Dubois, who is not nearly as sympathetic as Graham. Moreover, the Americans have now replaced the Belgians as the confidants and advisers of the Dutch. Dubois openly pointed out this to me but implies that Herremans' lack of grasp of the situation forces him into the position. It is, however, too early to speak of reasons. On the contrary, there is now a wave of hope following the two days tour with the President of the Republic and Hatta [2], on which Dubois was openly impressed with Soekarno and the spirit of the people. I know that he is also critical of Vredenburch and Riphagen as Chief Dutch negotiators.

2. During this month, probably commencing approximately the middle of May, the Dutch are holding a conference at Bandoeng of representatives of states, of states to be, and of representatives of minority groups outside the Republic. Its primary task will be to work out a plan for the structure of the United States of Indonesia and to take an Indonesian share in the blue print of the Netherlands-Indonesian Union. The Republic fears that the Dutch will bring up for discussion matters which are at present the subject of their negotiations and obtain agreement on proposals which the Republic has already rejected. This would put the Republic in an unfavourable light rejecting proposals which appear reasonable.

3. I fear that the Dutch policy will be to press the Republic to accept such proposals and that this pressure may be reinforced by the Americans. The best safeguard would be to have proposals acceptable to the Republic agreed to by the Committee on which the Republic could, if necessary, go to the Security Council, in the event of a breakdown in talks.

4. I am therefore endeavouring to obtain the Committee's acceptance of proposals set out in my telegram 106 [3] but I am not optimistic. The Dutch are already bringing pressure to avoid another 'Christmas draft message'. [4] Van Vredenburch has told the Americans he would walk out of talks if the Committee presented formal proposals.

5. The question of formal presentation of proposals to the parties is not as important at this stage, as obtaining formal agreement in the Committee to the plan itself. So far the Americans have countered my proposals with suggestions unsatisfactory to the Republic which would (a) delineate states before the Constituent Assembly is appointed and only in Java, Sumatra and Madura;

(b) eliminate the Republic as a going concern during the period of an interim Federal Government before the United States of Indonesia is established.

6. I believe the solution of the dispute will eventually require a stronger attitude by the Americans.

1 See note 1 to Document 126.

2 The Delegations and the Committee of Good Offices returned to Batavia on 3 May. Du Bois and Critchley stayed three more days to consult with Republican leaden.

3 Document 125.

4 See note 1 to Document 6.

[AA:A1838, 403/3/1/1, xvi]