293 Australian Delegation, United Nations, to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram UN185 NEW YORK, 11 March 1949, 9.21 p.m.



My 135. [1]

1. At resumed council meeting [2] to-day speakers were India, Belgium, Australia, Canada and China.

2. India said that main objective was to reach settlement but that council should not rule out Dutch proposal for round table conference, simply because it did not follow directly from January resolution. [3] However, the Dutch must realise that proposal was tantamount to throwing away all the commitments from Linggadjati [4] onwards which they had implicitly accepted from the Council and it was essential that prior condition of such conference must be Dutch acceptance of main stipulations of Council resolution particularly as regarding the restoration of the Republic and the authority of the commission. If the Dutch refused that final chance then the council would have to consider what further action could be taken under the charter.

3. Belgian statement was devoted largely to quoting earlier instances particularly over Palestine in which the Council had agreed to a modification of some original resolution. In view of the circumstances subsequent to January resolution Dutch were justified in making their present proposal and the Council would be wise to allow matter to be handled on its basis.

4. We said that no attempt to represent the position in this way could hide the fact that the Dutch were attempting to evade the authority of the Council and that the Council must and did react against this in the only possible way mainly by insistence that the intention of its resolution be carried out. The Council was not now at the stage of considering possible alternative courses and making a decision between them. It had after ample time for reflection, formed its conclusions in January and must now stand by it. The January resolution had been carefully framed to assemble the various degrees of opinion of the Council and none of its stipulations could in any way be described as unreasonable.

For example the provision regarding withdrawal of Netherlands forces was couched in extremely moderate form. On the other hand the requirement regarding the restoration of the Republic was completely explicit. What reasons were now advanced for varying this? Netherlands had claimed at some length yesterday that the Republic could not be allowed to return to Djokjakarta very largely on the grounds that it would be unable to maintain law and order. This and similar reasoning was quite fallacious. What the Dutch were really saying was that they could not now comply with Security Council's requirements because of circumstances which were due directly to their own original refusal to comply. Council could not accept such arguments. If the Council should decide not to make any formal resolution at this stage then at least let there be no mistake on the part of the Netherlands as to what the position and attitude of the Council was. The authority of the United Nations was involved and there could be no yielding on this point.

The Council's sense of responsibility which led it to accept the consequences that might follow under the charter of its directions remained unfulfilled. However, there was no animus against the Dutch and it was to be hoped that even at this late stage they would realise their obligations as a member of the United Nations and offer some approach which would meet two main conditions of council's resolutions.

5. Canada and China in statement similar to each other pointed out that on the basis of documents including Sukarno's letter [5] there was an area of agreement as well as disagreement on the situation. Canada was not unfavourable to the idea of a round table conference and suggested a preliminary meeting between Republicans and Dutch with the assistance of the Commission to determine [6] mutually acceptable conditions for such a conference could be agreed on. China developed the suggestion more explicitly in the direction of proposing that the Commission should convene a preliminary conference in Indonesia between the Dutch and the Republicans to discuss the implementation of sections one and two of the January Resolution and in particular the detailed conditions which might meet the Dutch objections to restoration of the Republican Government at Djokjakarta. This would not need a formal resolution of the council but could be left to the President to bring forward to the commission. If the suggestion was not accepted by the Dutch then the Council should instruct the Commission to refrain from participation in the proposed round table conference.

6. At this point the council adjourned until Monday.

7. Subsequent discussion indicated some support among Council members for the Chinese suggestion on the clear understanding that such preliminary consultations would be on the initiative of the Commission and would specifically [have] [7] the object of implementing the return of the Republic to Djokjakarta. Indian Representative [8] is strongly in favour with the idea and is suing persuasion on the Indonesians to that effect. In short talk after the meeting with me, Van Royen also appeared not personally opposed to the suggestion.

1 Document 287.

2 The full text of this meeting is given in United Nations, Security Council Official Records, Fourth Year, No. 20,417th Meeting, pp.1-22.

3 Document 168.

4 See Appendix I in Volume XI.

5 i.e. Sukarno's letter dated 4 March concerning the invitation of the Netherlands Government to attend a Round Table Conference at The Hague (see Document 272).

6 The word 'whether' has presumably been omitted here.

7 The Cited copy reads 'with'.

8 Sir Benegal Rama Rau.

[AA : A1838, 402/4/1/1, ii]