285 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K178 BATAVIA, 21 October 1948


Your 286. [1] The following is a summary of the Netherlands reply to Cochran's proposals which was transmitted to the Republican Delegation on October 14th. [2] A copy of the reply which I have now obtained confidentially is being forwarded by today's bag.

Part I The Netherlands begin by stating they are prepared to accept Cochran's proposals 'as a basis on which to resume negotiations with the Republican Delegation under the auspices of the Committee of Good Offices' but this 'does not commit either party in respect of the underlying principles or the substance' of the proposals.

2. Nevertheless the remainder of the Netherlands' reply indicates that certain parts of Cochran's draft agreement are completely unacceptable. in addition, they propose amendments to the U.S.

draft which are so extensive as to constitute a new set of proposals.

3. The Dutch propose that their reply be discussed together with Cochran's draft agreement.

4. Before commencing negotiations the Dutch require assurances that the Republic will undertake proper observance of military and economic clauses of the Truce.

5. Regarding the matters mentioned in para. 5 of my K. 161 [3] the Netherlands reiterate that- (a) the house at 56 Pegangsaan East will be placed at the disposal of the Republican Delegation when in Batavia as living quarters.

(b) the Government of Indonesia is prepared to leave in abeyance the expulsion of Republican officers until the result of resumed negotiations is known.

(c) the Netherlands Government abides by the understanding previously reached regarding immunities of delegations.

6. Cochran has asked the Republic whether 'in light of the views set forth' in the Netherlands reply it is prepared to re-affirm readiness to resume negotiations.

Part II The following are the principal Netherlands objections to the Cochran plan- 1. 'General elections in Indonesia are unacceptable as long as the demarkation lines exist' and until 'an atmosphere of safety and justice prevails.' 2. During the interim period the right of the Representative of the Crown to proclaim a state of emergency should not be subject to the consent of the President or Prime Minister.

3. Supreme command of all armed forces must remain with the Representative of the Crown.

4. Existence of separate State militias cannot be accepted.

5. Foreign affairs must clearly remain the ultimate responsibility of the Crown during the interim period.

6. Point 9 of Annex 2 [4] is unacceptable as it provides for conformity between the constitution of the United States of Indonesia and the Statute of the Union only in their inception.

7. There can be no distinction as in B.13 of Annex 3 [5] between debts incurred by the Netherlands Indies Government before March 1st, 1942 and those incurred after that date.

Part III The most important amendments to the U.S. draft agreement proposed in the Netherlands reply are as follows:-

Article 1. The Provisional Federal Government to be instituted by proclamation on or before January 1st, 1949.

Article 2. Organs of Provisional Federal Government shall be (a) the executive (directorate and Council of Secretaries of State or alternatively Prime Minister and Cabinet), (b) Federal Council, (c) Provisional Representative Body.

Article 3. New Guinea is excluded from territory of Provisional Government and its administration remains vested in the Representative of the Crown.

Article 4. European, Chinese and Arab minorities to be represented in Federal Council.

Article 8. Elections for the Constituent Assembly to be held six to twelve months after the agreement.

Article 10. Special representation for the European, Chinese and Arab minorities in the Constituent Assembly.

Articles 13 to 18. This chapter has been re-written. There are new provisions for the delineation of States. The functions of the Constituent Assembly are to- (a) negotiate and ratify the Union Statute, (b) ratify agreements on defence, financial and economic matters, (c) ratify the Constitution of the U.S.I., (d) act as one house of the provisional legislature, the other house being the Provisional Representative Body, (e) ratify the final delineation of States.

Article 20.

(1) The Directorate (or Prime Minister) to be named by a 'special body 'subject to consultation with the Representative of the Crown and the assent of the King. (According to Annex 1 each participating territory will have one vote in the 'special body', and the Directorate will have at least three members).

(2) The Directorate to name the members of the Council or Secretaries of State (alternatively the Prime Minister to name members of his Cabinet) subject to the approval of the Representative of the Crown.

(3) A Provisional Representative Body to be instituted as soon as possible. The number of representatives from each participating territory to be determined by the Federal Council. Meanwhile the Federal Council to exercise legislative powers.

Article 23. Recommendations regarding the organization, composition and training of federal armed forces to be made to the Representative of the Crown by a joint staff.

Article 28. Last sentence of Part 2 deleted. [6]

Article 35. Provision for Committee of Good Offices to observe elections deleted. Annex 1. Draft legislation is set out which provides inter alia. that all powers and obligations of the King and the Governor-General with respect to Indonesia shall be exercised by the Provisional Federal Government except in a number of cases including the following- (a) the King may give directions to the Provisional Federal Government to 'ensure the creation during the interim period of a new constitutional order in accordance with Chapter 14 of the Netherlands Constitution'.

(b) the Provisional Federal Government shall co-operate towards the transition to and establishment of such a new constitutional order.

(c) Supreme direction of foreign relations.

(d) Supreme command over all military forces in Indonesia.

Legislative power is divided in a complicated manner between the Provisional Federal Government, the Federal Representative body, the Federal Council and the Representative of the Crown.

Annex 2. Completely rewritten. The Netherlands draft which is vague and limited does not specify the organs of the Union or their respective functions.

Annex 3. See Part II, 7 and Article 23 above.

1 Document 281.

2 See Document 280.

3 Paragraph 5 of Document 250.

4 Point 9 of Annex 2 read; 'In their inception the Constitution of the United States of Indonesia and the Statute of the Union shall not conflict. Thereafter, the Constitution of the United States of Indonesia shall be the supreme law of the United States of Indonesia and the Constitution of the Kingdom of the Netherlands shall be the supreme law of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.' 5 Article B13 read: 'The Government of the USI shall assume all debts, internal and external, incurred by the Government of the NEI prior to March 1, 1942, subject however, to the qualification that adjustments may be made to take account of territories previously under the jurisdiction of the NEI that may not join the USI. The proportion of debts incurred on or after March 1, 1942, by the Government of the NEI to be assumed by the Government of the USI shall be subject to negotiation between members of the union.' 6 The last sentence of Part 2 of Article 28 read: 'Components of the Netherlands forces shall be free to engage in non-tactical movements from one base to another or in preparation for evacuation under sole authority of the Netherlands Command.'

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