309 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K188 BATAVIA, 8 November 1948, 10.30 a.m.


My telegram K 186.

Stikker did not return to Djokjakarta yesterday morning and his party was withdrawn in protest against the submission of Republican reply (see my telegram K 187). The Dutch say this reply should have been discussed with their representatives in Kaliurang.

2. Cochran discussed the Republican reply with me before transmitting it to the Netherlands Delegation. We agreed that it was reasonable and that its delivery should not complicate matters. Even allowing for Dutch super-sensitiveness it may be assumed that the real Dutch objections were either to the concessions Stikker made in his informal talks or to the prospect of resuming formal negotiations on the basis of the Cochran plan.

3. Stikker was reasonable about the Republican reply and it was soon apparent that Beel was at the bottom of this afternoon's trouble. Beel claimed his Government has been insulted and directed the breaking off of negotiations. This suggests that the Crown Commissioner does not relish the possibility of a reduction in his authority. Cochran has informed me most confidentially that he sought an interview with Beel in which he accused him of endeavouring to break down negotiations on a trifling excuse and said that if this happened he would cable his Government to confirm that there were sections here seeking another police action.

4. As a result of Cochran's unrestricted and favourable reports from Stikker's party the Dutch have withdrawn their objections to the resumption of negotiations. The party will return to Djokjakarta to-day to continue discussions which are said to be progressing favourably but Stikker himself has explained that politically it is impossible for him to return. However, he will not go back to The Hague before Wednesday and may stay here a day or two longer.

5. Stikker has accepted Hatta's explanation that the letter was prepared and signed prior to the arrival of Stikker's party in Republican territory, that transport difficulties explain the delay in its submission, and that Hatta did not give the letter further thought after signing it. [1]

1 When Cochran presented the Netherlands Delegation's letter of 28 October (see Document 289) to the Republican Government on 30 October he told Hatta that the Netherlands Delegation did not expect a reply to the letter until the Hatta-Stikker discussions, which commenced on 4 November, had concluded. Although Hatta seems to have agreed to delay the Republican reply, Roem quickly drafted a reply on 3 November and passed it to Cochran on 6 November (see Document 308).

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