273 High Commission in New Delhi to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 180 NEW DELHI, 4 March 1949, 9.15 p.m.


My immediately preceding telegram. [1]

The Netherlands Ambassador [2] has requested us to ask the Republicans to participate in the proposed Hague Conference. We have privately discussed the matter with Maramis and Soedarsono, who felt that the Dutch move was intended to short-circuit the Security Council and did not favour participation. Although the Netherlands Ambassador emphasised that his Government were perfectly sincere in their declared intention to transfer power to the Indonesians as soon as practicable, our own provisional view is that this is an endeavour to by-pass the Security Council and to weaken the support of such countries as the United States of America by making what appears a liberal gesture, and different only to what was envisaged in the resolution [3] of the Security Council by changing the venue of negotiations to Holland, and making the Netherlands Government, instead of the United Nations Commission, the presiding authority in the negotiations.

To our mind, the proposed Dutch scheme differs in the following important ways from the resolution:

I. There is no assurance that the Dutch will immediately discontinue their military operations.

II. There is no mention of the intention of the Dutch authorities permitting officials of the Government of the Republic to return to Jogjakarta so that they may, among other things, take over the administration of the area. Indeed, our confidential information is that the Dutch have definitely refused permission to carry out this part of the Council's resolution.

III. The Council's resolution envisaged the setting up of the interim Government by May 15th, but the Dutch seem to wish to make this a subject for the negotiations at The Hague Conference.

IV. It appears that the negotiations will be not merely between representatives of the Government of the Netherlands and representatives of the Republic of Indonesia but propose including Federalists also. It would also appear that the Dutch do not intend treating the Republicans as representatives of a Government, and further, intend playing off the pro-Dutch Federalists against the Republicans.

V. The United Nations Commission's role has been left vague. The Council's resolution envisaged negotiations to be conducted under the auspices of the Commission, but the Dutch intend giving it a subsidiary and merely advisory role. The Netherlands Ambassador, when he called, said that his assumption was that the Dutch authorities would take the chair at the Conference.

2. We have telegraphed instructions to our representative accredited to the United Nations to make the above clear to sympathetically disposed members of the Council, so that, should the Republic refuse participation in the Conference, they would not be branded as unreasonable and uncompromising. The Council's resolution I agree was moderate enough, especially when compared to the reasonable suggestions [4] made by the Delhi Conference, and I do not think we should thwart our efforts to initiate suggestions that further watering down of proposals would be acceptable to countries that participated in the Conference. If we all (that is participating countries) make clear that the Council's own resolution must be implemented, the Council is more likely to adopt a strong attitude towards Dutch intransigence than if there were signs of weakening of our position.

3. From what information we have from Batavia, the American member [5] of the United Nations Commission for Indonesia, while advocating that the Republicans should not definitely bar the door for further negotiations, privately holds that stages envisaged in the Council's resolution were the only practicable way of solving the Indonesian problem. Meantime, he and the Australian member of Commission advised that we should use every effort to induce the Council to insist on the implementation of its own resolution.

4. [6] The Netherlands Ambassador, without referring to the convenience of the participating delegates, tentatively enquired if India would consider the removal of the ban on K.L.M. flights.

We informed him that, until a satisfactory agreement between the Dutch and the Republicans was reached, we were not likely to be favourably disposed to remove this ban.

5. We are instructing our Diplomatic Representatives in the Capitals of countries that participated in the Conference to seek support from the Governments to which they are accredited, with a view to persuading the Council to insist on the complete implementation of the Council's resolution and trust you will also take similar action.

1 Dispatched on 4 March, it advised that Cablegram 180 was a paraphrase of a telegram sent by Nehru to the Government of Pakistan.

2 A. Th. Lamping, Netherlands Ambassador to India.

3 Document 168.

4 Document 144.

5 H. Merle Cochran.

6 A sign here indicates 'as received'.

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