203 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 266 BATAVIA, 10 February 1949, 12.30 p.m.


Hatta replied [1] on February 3rd to B.F.M.D. [2] invitation in terms indicated in K.264. [3] On February 5th, before Hatta's reply had been received in Batavia, Soekarno telegraphed B.F.M.D.

Chairman that he would be unable to reply to his invitation until he and Salim had conferred with Hatta and requested air transport to Bangka for that purpose. [4] Accordingly Soekarno and Salim flew to Bangka on February 6th. At the same time, Gde Agung, of East Indonesia and Ateng of East Java visited Bangka on behalf of the Federalists and Republican representatives from Batavia also went along.

2. Following discussions at Bangka on February 6th, and February 7th, the Republican Delegation has reported [5] as follows:-

(a) The Two Federalists explained Beel's standpoint including his willingness to delete the last paragraph of his letter February 1st (K 263 [6] paragraph 1 (c)(3));

(b) Republicans did not consider this satisfied their conditions for the commencement of talks (K256 [7] and K263);

(c) Accordingly, the position of the Republican Government, as stated in Hatta's letter of February 3rd remains unchanged and, in particular, it is re [8] that:-

(1) A speedy and satisfactory solution could be found if both parties clearly declared acceptance of the Security Council's resolution [9], (2) The Republic is willing to enter into conversations with B.F.M.D. only with cognizance of the Commission and into formal talks only under the Commission's auspices;

(d) Soekarno and Hatta are willing to meet B.F.M.D. members for 'informal talks and organization changing' on an agreed date at Bangka.

3. During the talks at Bangka Gde Agung raised with the Republican leaders informal proposals for an 'early transfer of sovereignty' referred to in my telegram K.265. [10] The Republicans consider proposals unsatisfactory as they do not envisage a real transfer of sovereignty. Control of the army, foreign relations, finance, etc., would be retained by the Dutch. Details will be telegraphed as soon as a translation of proposals becomes available.

4. Hatta has invited the Commission to visit Bangka in the near future for discussions at Pangkal Pinang, regarding the Security Council's resolution and its implementation. Informally the Republicans have suggested that the visit should await Cochran's return. Seokarno and Salim are remaining at Bangka for the time being both to be with Hatta and to see the Commission when it visits there.

5. Soekarno received an enthusiastic reception when he arrived at Pangkal Pinang airport Bangka, February 6th. He had intended to visit Pangkal Pinang again on February 8th but was asked by the Resident of Bangka to cancel this trip as plans had been made for further large scale demonstrations in his honour. An interesting situation will arise when the Commission visits Bangka as Soekarno will doubtless wish to receive us at Pangkal Pinang.

6. I have been pressing for a further report to the Security Council stressing the failure of the Dutch Government, despite several requests, to make clear its attitude regarding the Security Council's resolution but the United States Acting Representative [11] clearly has instructions to await Cochran's arrival.

1 See note 4 to Document 191.

2 The acronym 'BFMD' in this Document should presumably read 'BFO'.

3 Document 191.

4 See note 4 to Document 196.

5 The text of the 'Report on the Conversation between Republican and Federalist Leaders held on 7 February 1949 at Bangka is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, Supplement for March, pp.21-22.

6 Document 190.

7 Document 152.

8 A sign here indicates 'group apparently omitted'.

9 Document 168.

10 Document 192.

11 R.E. Lisle.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/3/2, iii]