481 Hodgson to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 294 PARIS, 27 December 1948, 10.30 p.m.


Security Council 27th December. [1]

Before proceedings commenced Council held brief informal meeting which decided that sessions in Paris would conclude 30th December resuming in New York not before 6th January.

Council took up Indonesia at once and Netherlands read statement of Government attitude towards Security Council resolution. This claimed that hostilities were practically at an end and that Netherlands having achieved aims of order and security would proceed to political settlement with view to Federal Interim Government. Military observers were again permitted to be despatched to the field. Ukraine after explaining non-attendance last week as due to French Consular refusal in New York to give him visa expressed at length the views of his delegation which followed precisely lines of Malik's statement last week. He then presented a resolution as follows-

'The Security Council considers it necessary that Netherlands troops should be withdrawn immediately to the positions which they occupied before military operations against the Indonesian Republic were renewed.'

U.S.S.R. claimed that Netherlands reply was a straightforward refusal on part of the Dutch to comply with cease-fire. They were continuing their military action and, therefore, Soviet Union presented following resolution-

'The Security Council noting that the Netherlands Government has so far failed to put an end to military operations against Indonesian Republic orders military operations to cease within twenty-four hours of adoption of present resolution.'

Syria claimed that in view of circumstances of Netherlands statement time for cease-fire to be effective had already passed.

only thing that would be gained was release of prisoners and unless Security Council ordered withdrawal it would in fact have done nothing.

India stated that Netherlands statement at best played for time and at worst rejected Council resolution. Council was not even told when it would receive final decision of Netherlands. It was unreal to suggest that political settlement might be reached with the Republic as in practice without demarkation lines negotiations were impossible.

Netherlands then claimed that their statement was not an outright rejection. They had attempted to be conciliatory and had taken cognisance of Council resolution. Question was 'How far we could comply and when?' Hodgson then claimed that order of Council had neither been obeyed nor observed but had been passed backward and forward between Netherlands and Netherlands East Indies. just what was meant by giving to military observers chance to 'study course of events' was obscure. All that the Council had done was to pass weak and ineffective resolution which had surprised Australian Government who had expected stronger action in face of flouting of Council's previous decisions. Latest documents confirmed that functions of Good Offices Committee had not been exhausted much less effectively utilised. Every day's delay further prejudiced Republic if indeed it did not mean its elimination. It was Australia's view that there should be withdrawal to status quo lines and suggestions of further delay should be dismissed.

Members of Security Council especially elected members were acting on behalf of all United Nations and when they acted in such a way as to defeat will of majority they should be prepared to explain their motives.

United Kingdom regarded reply of Netherlands as satisfactory and considered it would be appropriate to wait until it became clear what they intended to do. United Kingdom would abstain on both resolutions for this reason and because they are identical with old Soviet resolution. It would be undignified to vote two successive days on same thing.

Argentine regarded action of Council as no more than friendly suggestion because of doubts of many members as to its competence.

Cease-fire was basis of matter and remaining action should be later discussed after competence had been fully investigated.

Colombia said it would vote in favour of Ukrainian resolution because it was in line with the original United States proposal.

The difference was exclusively that U.S.S.R. referred only to the Dutch and the facts showed clearly that this was accurate. From point of view of respect of Charter and Security Council the position must be restored otherwise argument of fait accompli would be accepted. The previous resolution was now only shadow of a shadow.

United States declined to be put in false position by either comments or resolutions. Its position was clear and appreciated by Indonesians. On the other hand Indonesians have had to suppress Communist uprisings. Withdrawal would have been adopted 'if U.S.S.R. had had in mind the achievement of results'. While United States not satisfied with Dutch declaration it hoped that additional statements might be made at next meeting and United States will abstain on any proposal before then as none of them gave promise of assistance in forwarding task of Council.

China expressed disappointment with Netherlands response and claimed that situation now quite different from last week as Council was considering response to resolution. While it would be courteous to let Netherlands make another statement later the matter could not be allowed to rest.

Malik then made further long statement on behalf of U.S.S.R. in which he claimed that majority of Security Council had chosen to screen and connive at Dutch aggression. After further attack on Good Offices Committee he claimed that original resolution had tried to obscure responsibility from world public opinion by sacrificing principle and logic to egotistical calculations.

United States and United Kingdom had been safe in proposing a withdrawal when they knew there was no risk of its being passed.

United States claimed that it voted against Soviet resolution because matter had been voted on but difference between proposals was perfectly clear. United States was transforming Security Council into organ for camouflaging and abetting aggression. It was never too late to correct aggression and the earlier the better. No more information was necessary. All Dutch were doing was playing ball with Security Council resolution backwards and forwards from The Hague to Batavia.

Resolutions were then put to vote with following results- (1) Ukraine. Five in favour (Syria, China and Colombia supporting, eastern Group and rest abstaining.

(2) U.S.S.R. Four in favour (Syria and China supporting and rest abstaining).

Colombia then presented proposal as follows-

'The Security Council requests the Consular representatives in Batavia to which refers paragraph five of resolution adopted at 194th meeting of Council [2] to send as soon as possible for information and guidance of Security Council a complete report on situation in Republic of Indonesia. Such report to cover the observance of the cease-fire orders and the conditions prevailing in areas under military occupation or from which armed forces now in occupation may be withdrawn.'

This will be considered tomorrow after Council has disposed of Egyptian complaint as regards resumptions of hostilities in Negeb by Israel.

Netherlands referred to request for further clarification which had been made by various delegations and stated he was not sure Dutch would be ready to do so by tomorrow. As to the original resolution he said that stopping of military action might lead to more bloodshed than if it were continued.

Council adjourned after short statement from Palar who said that Dutch aim was to comply with resolution only when military objectives achieved. Dutch claim that there had been no serious resistance was false as Indonesians relied on Guerrilla action from which one could not expect spectacular results. in any event all news was Dutch news. Faith in Security Council had been basis of Republican policy even to the extent of endangering military security and it was, therefore, hoped that Council will insist on full enforcement.

1 The full text of the discussion in the Security Council on 27 December is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Third Year, No.135, 393rd Meeting, PP.1-39.

2 See Document 297 in Volume XI.

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