320 Dexter to McIntyre

Minute CANBERRA, 28 March 1949

CHAOS OR UNITY IN INDONESIA

1. Now that the adoption of the Canadian resolution [1] has provided the Dutch with a face-saver it is possible that they may allow the Republican leaders to have a meeting in Djocjakarta as a change from Bangka. It is possible also that if The Hague conference eventuates in the near future the Dutch may decide to hand over full sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia immediately. Unless there is a vast improvement in Indonesia's internal situation before such a handover Indonesia will probably become a second Burma.

2. The following trends leading to confusion, if not chaos, are apparent:

(a) Conflict between Republican leaders on Bangka and Emergency Government Critchley pointed out in his cable K287 [2] of 15th March and in his letter [3] of same date that there has already been some criticism of the Bangka leaders taking decisions for which the Emergency Government was given power on 19th December.

Dr. Sjafrudin Prawiranegara, Head of the Emergency Government, stated in his communique issued from 'somewhere' on 5th March, 'The Dutch have unconditionally surrendered to Japan. Now they again want to make a colony of our country under the disguise of a Federal Government or the United States of Indonesia.' This implies rejection of the Federal idea which has been accepted by the Bangka leaders.

(b) Conflict within B.F.O.

There are indications of conflict between the Federalist leaders who genuinely desire a sovereign independent U.S.I. such as Anak Agung of East Indonesia and the Dutch puppets led by Sultan Hamid the Second of Pontianak.

(c) According to press and radio reports 'balkanisation' of Indonesia is not acceptable to large groups in Ambon, Menado and Timor who do not wish to be included in the State of East Indonesia.

3. Reports from military observers and other independent observers such as Quentin Pope, George Kahin, H.R. Isaacs, and Dr. F.L.

Bakker show clearly that guerilla warfare, reprisals and terror have caused chaos in large parts of Java and Sumatra.

The splits apparent before police action have deepened in the guerilla movement. Among the guerillas are many bands owing allegiance to different parties, persons and ideas. The main bands are:

(a) T.N.I.

The regular Republican guerillas presumably owing allegiance to General Sudirman and Dr. Sukarno are very active in the parts of Java and Sumatra occupied by the Dutch since 19th December.

(b) Siliwangi Division After the second police action the Siliwangi Division, which is reported to comprise the best Republican troops, moved into Pasundan and took up its position in the pre-Renville 'pockets'.

The Dutch have been unable to prevent this movement and the Pasundan Government only control the large towns. Both are said to desire co-operation with the Siliwangi Division against the Darul Islam.

(c) Darul Islam This extreme military and political Masjumi organization came into existence after the first police action and aimed at the establishment of an Islamic state in West Java. Following the withdrawal of the T.N.I. from West Java under the Renville Agreement [4] it filled the vacuum whence the Dutch could not dislodge it. Earlier it won support from the people against the Dutch but lately there has been a reaction as a result of its terrorist excesses and sadistic tendencies. The Siliwangi Division is managing to oust Darul Islam in Pasundan.

(d) Tan Malakka Group The Tan Malakka Group, which is a conglomeration of many elements including the Trotskyist, is clashing with the Republican and Islamic guerillas. Tan Malakka is stated to have set up a government of the Unitarian Republic of Indonesia.

(e) P.K.I. (Indonesian Communist Party) According to Sjahrir Communist guerilla bands operate in Central Java and clash with other guerilla bands. Sjaraffudin's whereabouts are unknown.

(f) Gangs There are many looting and murdering gangs terrorising the towns and countryside.

4. From the above it is obvious that there is much truth in Sjahrir's remark, 'I have great fear that even if we get our independence it will be as bad as Burma all over again with conflicts among different groups, cliques and personalities.' 5. If the Dutch continue their present policy lawlessness in Indonesia will probably increase. If the Dutch hand over power in the near future chaos will probably ensue.

6. Following suggestions might help to solve dilemma and unravel tangle of contending inadequacies:-

(a) Press for a meeting of all Indonesian elements in a completely free atmosphere, possibly at the Headquarters of the Emergency Republican Government 'somewhere'. Meeting would decide policy in event of Dutch hand over of power in near future;

(b) Send volunteer military observers to the major Republican areas, e.g. Emergency Government and Siliwangi Division. Purpose would be to get a clear picture from the Indonesian side.

1 See Document 312.

2 Document 299.

3 Document 298.

4 Document 22, 23 and 24 in Volume XIII.

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