303 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K185 BATAVIA, 4 November 1948, 6.50 p.m.


Your telegram 296. [1] From the signing of the truce agreement there have been the inevitable so called infiltrations across the status quo line, principally from Republican to Netherlands- controlled territory, but until June these were unorganised and on a small scale. Military observers have reported large scale infiltrations into Netherlands-controlled West Java which commenced in June, reached a peak early in September but considerably diminished in scale thereafter. After a relatively quiet period there is now a further report being investigated by military observers of infiltration of a band of seven hundred into Netherlands-controlled East Java.

2. Military observers are unable to assess accurately the scale of the infiltrations but De Ranitz's reference to 'groups up to 8,000 strong' appears to be exaggerated. [2] Most extensive Dutch claim to date is that infiltrators total 15,000. infiltrators include:

(a) TNI who were evacuated from Netherlands-controlled territory in terms of the Renville agreement and subsequently demobilised and who are now returning to their homes. (It will be recalled that the Republican delegation made unsuccessful efforts to negotiate an agreement with the Dutch on this). [3]

(b) Irregular and armed bands who are returning according to definite plans for sabotage and disruption. (There are groups in the Republic, particularly left wing groups who believe that a political settlement with the Dutch is impossible and that the present Government has delayed too long in organising an all out struggle).

3. The Netherlands delegation has submitted documentary evidence that infiltra-tions have been promoted by the Republican Government. The Republican Government has denied the authenticity of the documents and has disclaimed all responsibility. You should already have relevant documents which have been sent by bag. I believe that the Republican Government was inclined earlier to overlook the infiltrations but is now making an effort to prevent them notwithstanding the political difficulties involved.

4. There has recently been an increase in political unrest resulting in sabotage and violence in the Netherlands-controlled territories, particularly West Java, due to the activities both of the Indonesians and of the local people.

5. The Dutch (in their press release) appear to be playing up both the infiltrations and the sabotage and violence in the Netherlands-controlled territory as breaches of the truce, possibly with the intention of obtaining support for strong action taken [4] the Republic. Unless it is established that the Republican Authorities are responsible for the infiltrations these can hardly be regarded as a breach of the truce. Disturbances in the Netherlands-controlled areas outside the demilitarised zone are clearly the responsibility of the Dutch.

1 Document 300.

2 The Military Executive Board produced for the Committee of Good Offices a memorandum dated 5 October on the infiltrations. The Board analysed the basic causes of the infiltrations but made no specific recommendations on how to rectify the situation. When pressed on this in the Committee of Good Offices on 18 October, Colonel Meyer, Chairman of the Military Executive Board, declared that: 'Generally truce agreements were intended to last only a few days, but in Indonesia it had been in force for over eight months with no amelioration of the distress and only increased animosity on both sides.' 3 See Documents 118 and 293.

4 A sign here indicates 'group apparently omitted'.

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