266 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K278 BATAVIA, 2 March 1949, 8.30 p.m.


Last night Beel, complete with Gavel held a delayed Press Conference in the course of which he stated:-

(a) Koets's conversations [1] at Bangka were on the whole not unsatisfactory and were conducted in a pleasant atmosphere. There were no discussions about the future residences of the Republican leaders.

(b) Movement of the Republican leaders must be conditioned by the fact that a 'state of war and siege' still exists in Indonesia and that the Netherlands Government is responsible for order and for the safety of the Republican leaders.

(c) The provisional Federal Government will name its delegation to the Conference on March 2nd.

(d) The Conference would be held even without the Republicans.

(e) U.N.C.I. has been invited to the Conference 'as a body'. The Netherlands want a 'full assistance from the Commission for a favourable result' and 'full opportunity' will be given to achieve this.

(f) The Netherlands Government has tried to avoid any appearance of imposing an agenda on the Conference.

(g) The Netherlands would transfer to the future U.S.I. full and complete sovereignty with all its consequences.

(h) As the Republic of U.S.I. will not have complete Government machinery at the outset arrangements would have to be made concerning the use of the Dutch troops.

(i) Responsibility for the maintenance of law and order will rest with the U.S.I. from the moment sovereignty is transferred. In the meantime measures will be taken to put an end to guerilla activities.

(j) The formation of a Federal Interim Government depends on the decision of the Conference but this may become unimportant if there is an early transfer of sovereignty.

(k) The Constitutions of the Netherlands and U.S.I. should be in conformity with the status of the proposed Union.

(l) The Union, which would not be a super State, would have to be worked out during the Conference.

(m) The boundaries of States in the Federation would have to be worked out by Indonesians themselves.

(n) The Security Council resolution [2] offers no solution but only a procedure. The Dutch plan [3] is practicable and responsible way of implementing the resolution.

2. The following are my comments:-

(a) It would appear from (1) that the Netherlands count on having the strength and sufficient liberty of action to destroy the Republican military power before the transfer of sovereignty.

(b) The Dutch have not revealed their plan in detail. Their proposals are extremely vague without a guarantee that sovereignty will be transferred on any particular date.

(c) Beel places emphasis on the acceptance of the invitation by the Federalists. The Prime Minister [4] of East Indonesia, however, explained that the B.F.O. generally is anxious to support U.N.C.I. and that acceptance is conditional upon the Commission attending the Conference. In effect this means that it is conditional upon acceptance by the Republicans although B.F.O. is not prepared to state this openly.

(d) The Dutch refusal to permit the Republican leaders rights beyond those of ordinary citizens should be considered in the light of the fact that Indonesia is still administered under a 'state of war and siege' whereunder civil liberties are strictly curtailed.

1 See Document 253.

2 Document 168.

3 See Document 249.

4 Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung.

[AA : A1838, 403/3/1/1, xxi]