272 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K171 BATAVIA, 9 October 1948

SECRET

Your telegram No. 273. [1] The advice of the Netherlands Embassy at Washington may have been designed to confuse the State Department at a time when early decisions were vital. Contrary to this the advice of the Netherlands reply of October 4th [2] was not satisfactory to the Americans, who have so far been unable to have it changed.

2. The resulting delay is having serious effects in the Republic where there is now little hope of assistance from the Dutch, the Committee, or the State Department.

3. Although in military control of the internal situation the Republican Government will not be able to eradicate quickly the communists, who are engaging in guerilla tactics. The Republican Forces, already seriously short of transport, will be further immobilized if the reports of fires at the oil refineries and storage depots at Tjepoe are confirmed. With the prevailing fear in the Republic that the Netherlands intend further military action, there is serious concern that the Republic should be weakening itself by internal dissension.

4. All these factors may lead moderate Republican elements to a policy of despair, namely the calling off of all negotiations and an attempt to consolidate the people by military action against the main enemy the Dutch.

5. The position therefore is extremely critical and days rather than weeks are vital. I have endeavoured to impress this on Cochran who has avoided building up the Republican hopes but is expecting advice from the State Department this weekend .3

1 Dispatched on 7 October, it conveyed the text of Document 263 and the substance of Document 266.

2 See Document 265.

3 In a telegram dispatched on 8 October the State Department instructed Cochran not to submit the Netherlands Delegation's proposals in their current form and to persuade the Delegation to reword the covering letter to the proposals and to restate their conditions precedent to negotiation. See Department of State, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1948, Vol. VI, Washington, 1974, P.397.

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