149 Eaton to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 128 BATAVIA, 27 May 1948


'Aneta' this morning reports Radio Moscow's despatch that Suripno, the Republic's representative at Prague, and the Soviet Ambassador at Prague have concluded an agreement for the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic and the U.S.S.R. [1]

2. Suriotjondro, Republican Government Secretary for Foreign Affairs at Batavia, is without advice from Djokja and says that the report has taken him completely by surprise. The Republic have had practically no communication with Suripno since the March crisis in Czechoslovakia, but they know that he is very active in various youth movements and likely to be under strong communist influence. If there is any truth in the report, Suriotjondro thinks that Suripno has most probably acted on his own initiative.

3. Whether the report is true or not, Suriotjondro feels that it has come at a most inopportune time and remarked that if it is not true, not the least of the Republic's worries will be the composition of a disclaim[er] inoffensive to the Soviet. 4. The Netherlands Government have reserved comment until they receive official information regarding the report.

5. I understand from Critchley that the Netherlands Delegation raised this question at the meeting of the Political Committee last Friday when they attacked Republic's extension of foreign relations [2], and that the Republican Delegation intends to deny the report at the next meeting of this Committee. [3]

1 The Republican Government sent Suripno as its envoy to Eastern Europe before the Netherlands launched its first 'police action' in July 1947. Suripno tried to negotiate, on behalf of the Republic of Indonesia, a consular treaty with the Soviet Union. In January 1948 a consular treaty was initialled. However, Sjarifuddin, then in the middle of negotiating the Renville Agreement, did not wish the Soviet treaty to be concluded. The Hatta Government also declined to proceed further with the treaty.

However the Soviet Government announced on 22 May, through its Ambassador in Prague, its ratification of the consular treaty.

Left wing elements in the Republic interpreted the Soviet move as formal recognition of the Republic and as a promise of considerable material aid once consuls were exchanged.

2 In the Political Committee on 21 May, Van Vredenburch referred to several incidents: Yemen's reported recognition of the Republic; a report that Palar had been appointed 'Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the Republic'; a statement of Sjahrir that the Republic was considering opening an office in Penang; reports of Republican contacts with the Soviet Union; and the Republic's claim for separate associate membership of ECAFE (see Document 130 and note 5 thereto). He declared that these incidents had led his Government to believe that the Republic was bent upon extending its foreign relations and called upon the Government of the Republic to recognise the sovereignty of the Netherlands in the Indies and to readjust its position on foreign relations.

3 In the Political Committee on 28 May, Roem replied that while the sovereignty of the Netherlands was not challenged, recognition of that sovereignty could not affect or modify the status of the parties (the Netherlands and the Republic) particularly with regard to the Security Council. He repudiated any understanding which would restrict the Republic's right to conduct its foreign relations.

[AA:A4357/2, 48/254, iii]