14 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 1 BATAVIA, [4 January 1949]


My telegram No.323. [1] The Consular Commission met again yesterday afternoon and Tsiang reported on his interview with Cochran and Schuurman. He said that Cochran had made it clear that the Committee of Good Offices in no way regarded itself as superseded by the Consular Commission and would be unwilling to release its facilities to the Commission; Schuurman had called in his legal advisers who gave opinion that the Security Council's resolution to the Commission [2] cancelled its instructions to the Committee and he had said that he thought the same facilities would now be available to the Commission as there had been in 1947.

2. There w[ere] considerabl[y] divergent views within the Commission as to the respective functions of the Committee and the Commission and their jurisdiction over military observers. Finally it was decided to meet again on January 5th and then to cable to the Security Council asking for clarification of the position and [accounting] [3] for Commission's inactivity.

3. Throughout the meeting the French member [4] continued to argue that the Commission could not ignore the force of the Committee's resolution and should accordingly withdraw its military observers from the Committee or make some arrangement to share them and proceed to investigate and report straight away.

4. The Netherlands' reactions to the Commission have been favourable and the local press has pointed out that an 'objective' report can be expected which will counter Committee's reporting.

5. I passed your telegram No.340 [5] to Critchley for a reply.

1 Document 501 in Volume XIII.

2 At its 394th meeting on 28 December 1948, the Security Council instructed the Consular Commission to report on the situation in the Republic of Indonesia, on the observance of the cease-fire and on conditions in the areas under military occupation or in areas from which occupying forces had withdrawn. See Documents 481 and 489 in Volume XIII.

3 The cited copy which reads 'influence' here has been corrected with reference to a copy on file A10158, 7.

4 P.J. Salade.

5 Document 507 in Volume XIII.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/2/2, vi a]