360 Department of External Affairs to Embassy in Washington

Cablegram 985 CANBERRA, 9 December 1948


Your telegram 1253 [1] Indonesia. Our suggestion of postponement and recognition at next meeting was an attempt to avoid a straight vote on immediate unqualified admission. Subsequently the United Kingdom Government suggested provisional admission pending settlement at which time decision would be reconsidered. The United States Ambassador was clear the night before that this was a reasonable proposition and he would support it. Finally, however, the United States Delegation was the only [one] which supported the Dutch.

The reasons given were that the Delegation was instructed to support the Dutch lest the Dutch take the matter into their own hands and recommence police action. They asserted that the United States policy is directed towards maintaining Hatta and preventing police action. We have persistently warned that these objectives can only be achieved by showing Hatta that there is some support and being completely firm with the Dutch not only in respect of police action but also in respect of negotiations. For instance, it is unreasonable to expect the Republicans to give up their army prior to a settlement when the Dutch are continually increasing their army in Batavia. The net effect would be the same as police action.

In our view nothing could be calculated more to discourage Hatta and his supporters and more to encourage the Dutch to be intransigent in negotiations and to contemplate police action than this public support by the United States of completely unreasonable attitude on the part of the Dutch. This vote can only be regarded as a demonstration of United States unwillingness really to press the Dutch to reach a settlement and the whole moral responsibility for a change in the Hatta Government or for police action must rest with the United States Government unless they are prepared to take action which can offset the impression created by the Lapstone vote.

1 Document 355.

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