382 Cutts to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K211 BATAVIA, 18 December 1948, 5.20 p.m.


Following is a summary of Cochran's reply to Schuurman's telegram of December 17th (K210). It was handed to the latter in Batavia at 10 a.m. December 18th- (a) Even had Hatta accepted without modification, in a declaration clearly binding on the Republican Government, the conditions set out in the Netherlands note (K210 paragraph (e)) this would not have been sufficient according to the note to prevent the promulgation of the Interim Government decree on the basis of the present text. In such the Netherlands would merely have [consulted] [2] with the Republic and Federalists on minor changes, the text as promulgated.

(b) Cochran regrets that the Netherlands made a reply by the Republican Government to their notes subject to a time limit which left approximately 18 hours for the necessary consultations between Hatta and his Government on the question of a considered reply and all attendant mechanical details including journey from Kaliurang to Batavia. Hatta's letter of December 13th [3] on the other hand was handed to the Netherlands on the same date and the reply received only on December 17th. In these circumstances, particularly as Hatta is under his doctor's orders in Kaliurang and so far apart from members of his Government, Cochran 'cannot in justice press Dr. Hatta for an immediate reply to a letter which calls not for a mere expression of willingness to resume negotiations but rather for a surrender to the position of your Government on every material point'.

(c) During Cochran's four and a half months in Indonesia neither he nor other members of the Good Offices Committee have been able to participate in, or observe a discussion between parties on any of the issues, nor has there been the opportunity to examine in any detail or in full context the opposing positions of the parties in the recent talks. Cochran, therefore, raises the following points regarding the substance of the Netherlands note- (1) The first Netherlands condition (K210 paragraph (e) (1)) appears to require adherence by the Republic without negotiations to a federal organisation whereas the Renville principles contemplate that 'the provisional federal organisation itself is to be the product of political agreement'. It also appears to require the Republic to assume from the beginning the same status as Negara[s] who have been unilaterally established by the Netherlands authority.

(2) The second and third conditions (K210 paragraphs (e) (2) and (3)) require acceptance of the original position of the Netherlands on points dealt with therein and failure to take into account considerations raised in Hatta's letter. Cochran considers relegated issues should be the subject of negotiations and that any other procedure is in contravention of the first of the twelve Renville principles. [4]

(3) As to the requirements regarding the truce Cochran considers that recommendations by the parties for better truce implementation should be thoroughly evaluated with the aid of the Committee rather than made subject of 'unilateral demands'.

(d) Cochran declines to press Hatta 'to reply summarily on conditions imposed by [5] (reports) because it calls for a non- negotiated blanket assent which would preclude the possibility of bona fide negotiations rather than effect their resumption'. He repeats the plea for further negotiations.

2. I understand that the United States Delegation will submit Hatta's letter, the Dutch letter and Cochran's letter to the Committee today December 18th. If the Belgians are agreeable the Committee will immediately forward these documents to the Security Council to supplement special report. [6] This will give publicity to the latest developments and a further opportunity to press the Dutch to resume negotiations.

3. I understand Cochran is pressing the State Department to maintain a firm line with the Netherlands whom he regards as off balance.

1 The text of Cochran's letter to Schuurman dated 17 December is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, Supplement for December, pp.220-3.

2 Inserted from a copy on file AA:A4357/2, 48/254, vi.

3 See Document 370.

4 See Principle 1 of Document 23.

5 A sign here indicates mutilated characters but without explanation. According to a copy on file AA:A4357/2, 48/254, vi, the word 'reports' should read 'your telegram'.

6 The Supplementary Report to the Special Report of 12 December (see Document 366) was cabled to the President of the Security Council on 18 September. The full text of the report is given in United Nations, Security Council official Records, Third Year, Supplement for December, pp.215-24.

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