190 Noel-Baker to Australian Government

Cablegram 184 LONDON, 22 June 1948, 8.57 p.m.


Your telegram 25th May No. 147. [1]


Our reports from Batavia are not sufficiently detailed to enable us to comment on all the points raised in your telegram, but the following are our views on the essential nature of the problem.

2. We share your concern at the situation which would arise if a deadlock were reached.

3. We agree with much in your general analysis of the situation, but, although the Dutch have behaved tactlessly and the underlying intentions may still be in doubt, we think also that the faults are not all on the Dutch side. The Republicans, as well as the Dutch, can be charged with a good deal of special pleading as regards the interpretation of the Renville Agreement. [Though their action] [2] can be explained a's being due to suspicion of Dutch motives, the result of some of their tactics has been to increase suspicion on the Dutch side that they are not prepared to accept Dutch sovereignty in the interim period, as laid down in the Renville Agreement, or a position in the future United States of Indonesia as only one (even if the most influential) of a complex of states.

4. H.M. Consul-General in Batavia also reports his view that, if the Republicans could settle their internal political [and personal] differences the prospect of an agreement with the Dutch would be much nearer. There has hitherto been a definite tendency, in our view, for the Republican Delegation to give temporizing or evasive replies on points of particular interest to the Dutch for fear that they may not be able to carry the whole Republican Government with them. All of this must make the conduct of business on the Dutch side very difficult.

5. We cannot see much prospect, in these circumstances, of inducing an understanding by pressure from Governments not directly concerned with negotiations. We are in a somewhat equivocal position, not only is the matter in the hands of the Committee of Good Offices, but also we cannot justly claim that we know all the facts, since we are not fully in the confidence either of the Dutch or the Indonesians or the Committee on the progress of the negotiations.

6. There is the special point also that the Dutch elections take place in July and we doubt whether, in the pre-election atmosphere, any radical change in approach is obtainable from the side of the Netherlands Government.

7. H.M. Consul-General in Batavia is returning to London shortly for consultation and we intend to review the position fully with him. His latest reports do not suggest that the Dutch are contemplating the forcing of an early crisis but rather that, despite their pessimism, they are still casting about for a means of settlement.

8. Although, as indicated above, we see little prospect of success at present in an approach on the lines you suggest, we should like to emphasize that we have lost no convenient occasion to keep our general attitude before the Dutch. This was emphasised to them recently in connection with the arms embargo which we have refused to raise, and again when H.M's Charge D'Affaires at The Hague had occasion to discuss with the Dutch a newspaper report that conversations had been interrupted in Batavia pending fresh instructions from The Hague. On being informed that the Netherlands Government were still considering these instructions, the Charge D'Affaires, at our request, expressed the strong hope that the Dutch would not discontinue negotiations.

9. In this same conversation the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that the Van Mook-Hatta discussions [3] had been concluded in a friendly atmosphere and it was evident that the Netherlands Government entertained considerable hopes of their outcome. We have no information yet on their purport, but think that prima facie their conclusion is an encouraging sign.

1 Document 147.

2 Words in square brackets in this Document have been added from a copy on file AA:A3318/1, L48/3/1/16.

3 See Document 183.

[AA:A1838, TS45/1/4/5, i]