416 Department of External Affairs to Hodgson

Cablegram P282 CANBERRA, 21 December 1948, 10.15 p.m.


Indonesia Following is an amplification of our previous telegrams. [1]

1. Dutch action represents failure to abide by previous decisions of the Council concerning cease-fire and settlement of the dispute by peaceful means and disregard for reasonable settlement terms offered by the Cochran proposals. [2] It might add weight to subsequent measures to be taken against the Dutch and afford support to Governments if they want to give future assistance to the Republicans as a de facto government, if the Security Council determined the action to be an 'act of aggression' within the meaning of Article 39. [3] On the other hand we would not wish quick action by the Security Council to be held up by procedural arguments on point and it may be better to assume this is the case.

2. The Council should first endeavour by implementation of steps in paragraphs 3(1), 3(2) and 3(3) of our P.273 [4] to restore the situation as a provisional measure under Article 40 [5] to the position before Dutch recourse to unlawful action. You comment in your 272 [6] that United States draft is very strong and direct but in our view it is the bare minimum that is justified. We have 3 further comments- (a) there is no specific provision for observation of enforcement of the truce and withdrawal and this should be included;

(b) we cannot see point of asking the Committee of Good Offices for assessment of the blame when their present report [7] is perfectly clear;

(c) in the light of this report and of the facts we do not think the Council should call on both parties as stated in the resolution. The Dutch broke the truce. In fact there is no evidence that Republicans have gone beyond the demarcation line and therefore if they have not broken truce they should not be asked to lay down arms.

3. The object of the Council should be to ensure after the restoration of the status quo the acceptance and implementation of the main points in the proposals submitted by Cochran and substantially accepted by the parties (points 3(4), 3(5) in our telegram). The Council may recommend terms of settlement under Article 37 [8] but we are assuming that in this case it will under Articles 39 and 41 decide the terms of settlement, at least on the major outstanding issues.

4. As a supplement to the election of the Republican Assembly proposed by Cochran it seems to us that the Dutch should also be required under Article 40 to refrain from further action to appoint representatives to their Federal Interim Government since further unilateral action in this direction will aggravate the situation, as predicted by the Committee of Good Offices in their report on the breakdown on direct negotiations and would not be consistent with the Cochran terms of settlement. [9] 5. A United Nations Standing Body would be required to supervise the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of troops, and the elections. The functions of such a body, which might necessitate the reconstitution of the Committee of Good Offices under another name should extend to:-

(a) powers of truce supervision including the right to establish demilitarised zones.

(b) observation of conditions preparatory to the conduct of elections and recommendation of the appropriate date for election in the light of conditions, early elections being the aim.

(c) continuing the mediation powers with the right to make proposals to either party.

A new body could include those present members of the Committee of Good Offices willing to continue to serve.

6. Our reference to trusteeship which would have to be negotiated in consultation with the Republic was offered as an alternative to an imposed settlement on the above lines. Its purpose would be to offer the Republic security from future attack. The United Nations Administering Body would have to be largely independent of the Security Council, along the lines of the Palestine Commission or else subordinate to the Trusteeship Council and General Assembly.

We would want to give this idea further thought.

7. Assuming the Dutch ignore the cease fire and withdrawal order the Council should nevertheless go on record with an adequate basis of settlement of the kind outlined above.

1 Documents 391, 396 and 414.

2 See Documents 237 and 238.

3 Article 39 of the United Nations Charter empowers the Security Council to 'determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression' and to 'make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken ... to maintain or restore international peace and security'.

4 Document 396.

5 Under article 40 of the UN Charter the Security Council may call upon the parties to a dispute to comply with such provisional measures as it considers desirable before making recommendations to settle the dispute in accordance with Article 39.

6 Document 407.

7 See Document 392.

8 Under Article 37 of the United Nations Charter, the Security Council may recommend procedures to settle a dispute which it considers likely to endanger international peace and security.

9 In its report to the Security Council dated 12 December (see Document 366), the Committee of Good Offices argued that 'the formation of an interim federal government now without the Republic will greatly complicate a negotiated settlement of the Indonesian dispute and could create serious unrest in Indonesia'.

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