21 Kirby to Burton

Cablegram K40 BATAVIA, 16 January 1948, 2 p.m.


Your telegrams 17 and 18. [1]

The proposals mentioned by Lacy [2] would be those I left for telegraphing to you on leaving Batavia on Sunday 10th January. [3]

2. These proposals were adopted by the Committee in these circumstances:-

(a) Without my prior knowledge, the Americans unilaterally discussed the eight proposals [4] with the Dutch and when they obtained local Dutch approval to six of them [5], submitted them to the Committee for transmitting to the Republic as principles accepted by the Dutch in advance subject to confirmation from The Hague.

(b) The Committee brought them to Djokjakarta and here received The Hague confirmation and then handed them to the Republic.

(c) In these circumstances I must be taken to have supported these proposals of Graham but I have, to American annoyance, made it clear that they did not go far enough and should have included, as the first and urgent priority, immediate prohibition of Dutch formation or sponsoring of new [ ... ] [6] without plebiscite and also specific provisions for Republic's participation in the Provisional Government and specific provisions for immediate setting up of the latter with definition of powers an so on.

(d) Van Zeeland, of course, was fully satisfied with the proposals once they were disclosed as having been accepted by the Dutch.

3. The Committee has repeatedly met the Republicans here and each member has seen them informally. Van Zeeland quite specifically advised them to accept, within extendance allowed, the Dutch truce plan plus the twelve political points previously telegraphed to you plus these latest six Points. [7] Graham who previously had tried to sit on the fence came right down on the side of acceptance even going to the limit of addressing the Republican Cabinet and Delegations and a few other leaders. In this view he made quite an oratorical and frenzied appeal with much table thumping and said that the Republic would be foolish to reject and if they did 'would lose heaviest'.

4. For obvious reasons I cannot go too far for fear of losing all American help and support but it was tragic that American conceit should have made them waste so much of value by way of political and economic pressure on the Dutch by not insisting on two vital matters set out in paragraph two (c) of this telegram. I say 'conceit' as the kindest way of explaining their unilateral method of getting the Dutch agreement on their own proposals. Graham had repeatedly told me that he had a 'King-hit' which he would use at the right time and naturally I thought we would be in with him on its use.

5. I have made it abundantly clear that I would not join in an approach to the Republic by [...] of the Dutch truce plan even

Republic of this. In fact I feel sure that it was the stiff Australian attitude on [...] the Dutch ultimatum both to the Committee and to the Republic that produced the six points.

6. A repetition of this attitude has now led to a few more concessional changes in the truce plan by the Dutch and a statement by the Committee on the six points which could help the Republic considerably in future fight. [8]

7. When Van Zeeland moved a motion that the Committee comply with a Dutch written request that in return for six latest political [...], Committee sponsor the Dutch truce plan. I refused to second it and it lapsed. I then stated I thought the truce plan unjust and that I wanted to make it clear in the event of the Republic rejecting it I would report to the Security Council and would argue the Republic was fully justified in such action.

8. In view of the American attitude which was obviously State Department inspired, I could not advise the Republic to reject but I made it clear Australia would support them in the event of rejection or acceptance. Graham and Van Zeeland were informed of this attitude and it led to Van Zeeland returning to Batavia last night to endeavour to obtain further concessions before noon today which was the zero hour set.

9. The Republic just before noon today did accept the Dutch truce plan as modified plus the eighteen political points plus the three Dutch clarifications [9] obtained last night plus the six statements to the parties by the Committee.

10. In my opinion that truce is most unjust but there is a chance that a strong Committee plus political pressure sensibly applied this time might save the Republic.

11. Present plans are to have the truce formally signed on Renville on Saturday and announce other political principles accepted and then immediately continue substantive discussions.

12. I propose returning by our plane on Sunday morning. This is with the full approval of the Republican Prime Minister and Cabinet who are most anxious that I support them at Lake Success for which place Graham and Van Zeeland propose leaving direct on Monday or early next week. I will have to return then to catch them at Lake Success.

13. The important provisions in the political points are those for plebiscites and those that will keep the Committee here right up to the Political Agreement and transfer sovereignty if the Republic require and if the Security Council realizes now the necessity for this. Here I feel that we will get full American support but it will need the strongest pressure from us.

14. Lack of facilities and full staff here and preoccupation prevent my telegraphing the text of clarifications and Committee statements referred to above but I will return to Batavia tomorrow and cable them from there. [10]

15. Brookes has been invaluable to me but he is ill and will return with me. There are a number of recommendations which I wish to put personally to you as being urgently necessary and hope to see you on Monday or Tuesday.

16. Critchley has been doing a great job and the Republic are very pleased that he is able to stay on. He is thoroughly welcome to them in my place.

17. Since writing the above I have received your telegram 19 and will consult Graham and Van Zeeland thereon and cable you tomorrow.

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

1 Both dispatched on 14 January, cablegram 17 conveyed the text of Document 16 and Cablegram 18 requested information from Kirby about the nature of Graham's proposals, whether Kirby had supported Graham and about the Republic's attitude to his proposals.

2 See Document 16.

3 Kirby in fact left for Djokjakarta on Sunday 11 January (see Document 13).

4 A reference to the first eight proposals of Document 8.

5 The six proposals approved of by the NEI authorities are listed in Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, vol. VI, Washington, 1974, p.73.

6 The text contains symbols denoting mutilated characters, but without explanation. Where these occur an ellipsis in square bracken has been inserted to indicate the likelihood of a missing word or words. The missing word here is presumably 'states'.

7 Documents 7, 8 and 13.

8 A reference to the 61st Meeting of the Committee of Good Offices with the Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia at Kaliurang on 13 January recorded in S/AC.10/SR.61. In this meeting the Committee of Good offices answered questions from the Republican Delegation about the meaning of the Six Additional Principles.

Members of the Committee expressed the view that until the Republic of Indonesia became a constituent state of the United States of Indonesia, its status would remain unaffected by the Six Principles. Kirby personally argued the following points: in conferring certain rights and responsibilities on the Provisional Federal Government of the future United States of Indonesia, the Netherlands would be 'diminishing to a proportionate extent its sovereignty'; whether the Provisional Government could conclude its own commercial and trade agreements would come within the scope of political negotiations after the truce agreement; on the matter of whether the Republic could continue its foreign relations, nothing in the Six Principles could prevent it 'from carrying on the way it had been carrying on, until something to the century was agreed on by the parties themselves.' 9 These Dutch clarifications are listed in the annexe to Document 22.

10 In Cablegram K42, dispatched on 16 January, Kirby conveyed the text of the three clarifications (Document 22, Annexe) but indicated that he would personally convey the text of the Committee statements (summarised in note 8 above) to Australia.

[...] the eighteen political principles and had informed the