284 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram K283 BATAVIA, 7 March 1949, 8 p.m.


I understand that Cochran has now advised the State Department on lines similar to those set out in your telegram 39 [1] except that he does not consider the Conference should be held at the Security Council's invitation. He does not believe that it is necessary for the Commission to chair the conference though he would not be opposed to a rotating chairmanship.

2. Cochran regards the proposed conference as merely a detour, inasmuch as trying without giving up the resolution [2], and feels strongly that the Commission should not pull all the ropes in Indonesia to attend but that three deputy representatives should be left in Batavia to continue the Commission's reporting activities and to supervise the military observers. He believes and I agree, that this would serve both to support Indonesian morale and to keep the conference in the proper perspective in relation to the Security Council resolution.

3. The Republican delegation today forwarded to the Commission a translation of Sukarno's letter to Beel (K.280 [3], paragraph 5) and a report [4] on conversations of Republican leaders at Bangka with Geiben, Koets and B.F.O. contact committee regarding participation in the conference. Latter document includes the following information:

(a) All conversations regarding Republican participation in the Conference are 'on no account to prejudice the position and task of U.N.C.I. in the Netherlands-Indonesian dispute in implementation of the Security Council's resolution';

(b) On 28th February, Koets provided following clarifications:

(I) The purpose of the Conference is the advanced transfer of sovereignty, real, complete and unconditional;

(II) 'The conference will decide the rules of procedure and discussion plan on which agreement can be reached';

(III) The Netherlands Government will agree as far as possible within the limits of its responsibility to abide by the decision of the conference;

(IV) An early start will be made on the withdrawal of the Netherlands occupation forces and after the transfer of sovereignty the position of the remaining Netherlands forces will be that of a foreign army staying with the approval of the Government of the United States of Indonesia and acting only in accordance with the request of that Government. This army will be progressively repatriated as transportation is available;

(V) The withdrawal does not mean a super state or a stronghold for Dutch interests but an organ of co-operation in bases of mutual interest between the two sovereign parties on the basis of absolute voluntariness;

(VI) The restoration of the Republic and the return of the Government to Djokjakarta are at present impossible.

4. Both of these documents have been forwarded to the Security Council as a supplement to the Commission's marginal report. The impending Council debate may present an opportunity to obtain a positive Dutch commitment on the basis of Koets's verbal clarifications.

5. Anak Agung has stated confidentially that he will not agree to B.F.O. rescinding its resolution of 3rd March (K.280 and K.281 [5]).

6. The story of the B.F.O. resolution is now becoming more generally known. The United States representative might ask the Dutch for a clarification in the Council.

1 Document 270.

2 Document 168.

3 Document 272.

4 The text of this report from the Republican Delegation on the conversations between the Republican Leaders on Bangka, the Netherlands Authorities and the Contact Commission of the BFO is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, Supplement For March, pp.31-2.

5 Document 279.

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