351 McIntyre to Burton

Minute CANBERRA, 6 December 1948


Negotiations According to yesterday's radio reports, the informal discussions between the Dutch Ministers and the Republicans have broken down, apparently on the question of control of the armed forces.

Critchley reported a few days ago that the question of the supreme command of the federal armed forces, and co-operation between the Federal and Netherlands forces during the interim period had still not been settled. Hatta was insisting that the Dutch forces should only be used in an emergency and only at the request of the interim Federal Government. The Dutch were claiming that this represented a withdrawal by Hatta from the position he had taken up in his aide memoire to Stikker [1] setting forth the Republic's position. Hatta replied that this was a misunderstanding of his aide memoire and that he was forwarding a letter [2] of clarification to the Netherlands Ministers. Critchley reported that the Dutch regarded this letter as crucial, and were going to postpone any further decisions until it arrived. It can only be assumed that the letter has come and that the Dutch regard it as unsatisfactory. The Dutch Ministers are reported to have left for The Hague; it is suggested that they may return to Batavia later.

Republican Membership of ECAFE Whether as a result of the deadlock over control of the armed forces or as a result of promptings from the Indian Government, the Republic has now said that it has 'no objection' to its application for membership being discussed at Lapstone. It has sent messages in this sense to us and to the Indian delegates and states that it is forwarding credentials to Usman.

It now appears certain that the question will be discussed again on Wednesday, and that the Commission will be asked to vote on the question of admission. Our object should be to let it come to a vote as soon as possible and with a minimum of debate. It is probable that with New Zealand support there would be a majority in favour. We had better send a telegram in the attached terms [3] to New Zealand.

1 See Document 310.

2 See Document 348.

3 Cablegram 224, dispatched on 6 December, advised Fraser that the Government of the Republic of Indonesia now wished to apply fur associate membership of the UN Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East and that, since negotiations between the Netherlands and Republic representatives in Batavia had broken down, the Australian Government wanted the matter voted on 'as soon as possible and without unnecessary debate'.

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