282 Critchley to McIntyre

Letter BATAVIA, 7 March 1949


Today Batavia is still buzzing with rumours and information as the news conveyed in my telegrams K.280, K.281 and K.282 [1] seeps through. Attachment 1 [2] is a translation of the B.F.O.

Resolution in question. You will see that it is definite enough.

Anak Agung Gde Agung has made it clear that he will stick to it.

2. Cochran appears to be keen on a conference at The Hague, although his optimism has been diminished by the recent course of events, and in particular by the realization that some of the Federalists are puppets in every sense.

3. As I have mentioned in telegram K.283 [3], Cochran's views and ours do not differ greatly. He agrees- (1) that the Republican Government should be re-established at Djokjakarta and that Republican leaders should have full opportunity to consult together.

(2) the position of the Commission should not be less than envisaged by the Security Council's resolution [4] and that the Commission should indeed be in a position to report continually and to make recommendations to the Security Council if negotiations do not run smoothly.

4. In short, Cochran would regard a Hague conference as a detour necessary to help The Hague avoid a piece of bumpy ground, but not as a new track away from the Security Council Resolution.

5. I do not believe he considers it necessary for the Commission to Chair the conference, although he would not be opposed to a rotating Chairmanship. There is little doubt that, at a Hague conference, the Netherlands would endeavour to push the Commission into the background and that we might be under some disadvantage insofar as many of the discussions between Indonesians and the Netherlands would certainly be in Dutch. To some extent this disadvantage could be offset by ensuring that there were up to date translations of all documents and bi-lingual secretarial staff.

6. Because he would regard a Hague conference as a detour, Cochran would strongly support a division of the Commission whereby deputies would be left in Batavia to maintain on the spot reporting and to supervise the activities of the military observers. The advantages of such a division would be:-

(a) Support of Indonesian morale, (b) The Security Council would be kept fully informed of developments in Indonesia, (c) The conference at The Hague or elsewhere would be kept in proper perspective, (d) The implementation of the Security Council's Resolution in its main lines could be kept in the foreground.

You might therefore keep the staffing problem in mind. If the Hague conference becomes more likely, I shall telegraph suggestions.

7. Attachment 2 [5] is a copy of Brigadier Prior's first report following an eight-day visit to Sumatra. Prior has made a good impression and I am hoping his presence will result in more useful reports from the Military Executive Board.

1 Document 272, 279 and 280.

2 The 'resolution Proposed by the East Indonesian Delegation to the B.F.O and Unanimously by the B.F.O in its meeting on 3 March' dated 4 March.

3 Document 284.

4 Document 168.

5 The report of Brigadier Prior to the Chairman of the Milex Board dated 6 March discussed the military situation in Palembang, Djambi, Medan Berastagi, Padang, Fort de Kock and Singkarak.

[AA : A1838, 401/1/2/6, i]