133 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K114 BATAVIA, 18 May 1948, 12.15 p.m.


My telegram K.112. [2]

After long discussions agreement was reached in the Good Offices Committee on the proposals for breaking the deadlock on the plebiscite [3] These proposals closely followed the appropriate sections of my telegram 106. [4]

2. I stressed that the Committee should formally agree on these proposals, but the Americans and the Belgians pointed out that the Netherlands would only accept suggestions if they were entirely informal, so that no further reference could be made to them in the Security Council or elsewhere. On my insistence, the parties were asked whether they would accept more formal suggestions of the type of the Christmas draft message. [5] The Republic agreed but the Netherlands refused.

3. I endeavoured to have the Committee:

(a) Refrain from making proposals they could not report to the Security Council.

(b) Report to the Security Council the present difficulties in the light of the Council's mid-February discussions.

Both of these proposals were opposed by Herremans and Dubois and it is now intended to hand the proposals informally to the parties without any documentary changes and on the understanding that these proposals cannot be referred to elsewhere without the agreement of both parties.

4. I seriously considered with-holding my support to such informal suggestions on the grounds that the Committee should take no action which did not leave it free to report to the Council. I gave this up because it could be misconstrued and on assurances from Dubois that- (a) He would use all his influence to see that further suggestions by the Committee were formal, and (b) The Committee in its next report would indicate that it had made informal suggestions.

Furthermore, it is still open to the Republic to refuse to accept informal suggestions.

5. As will be clear from my immediately following telegram, discussions are going badly, and unless the Committee or the Security Council can take the initiative, there is, in my opinion, no prospect of a settlement. These procedural developments are therefore extremely serious. My only course would appear to be to write a strong minority report for our next report to the Security Council. I should be glad to know whether you agree and whether you consider I should refrain from participating in any further informal proposals.

1 The inwards cable register indicates that the cablegram was received on 18 May not 19 May as on the cited copy.

2 Document 130.

3 The question of the status of suggestions made by the Committee of Good Offices was first discussed in the Political Committee on 17 May. Roem argued that it was up to the Committee of Good Offices whether it wanted to place its suggestions on the record but Van Vredenburch said that the Committee should be 'strictly limited in doing anything which either party did not desire'.

4 Document 125.

5 See note 1 to Document 6

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