34 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 5 BATAVIA, 6 January 1949


My telegram No. 1. [1] The Consular Commission at its third meting on 5th January agreed, after lengthy discussion, on the text of its cable to the Security Council explaining its inactivity and requesting clarification of its position.

2. The French and the Belgian members [2] again argued that the Commission could not remain inactive and should at least go ahead with that part of its work for which it had a clear directive from the Security Council and the Committee had none, namely the investigation of conditions prevailing in areas under military occupation. They attacked the Committee for its 'overbearing' attitude towards the Commission and claimed that the Committee had no right to use the Military Observers until the clarification requested from the Security Council had been received. They also objected to the text of the cable to the Security Council on the grounds that it appeared merely to voice the opinions of the Committee and represented the Commission as willing to take a back seat.

3. The Chinese member [3] quoted Netherlands statements to the effect that no arrangements could be made for the re-deployment of the Military Observers until the Commission had stated its plans.

Attempts to secure a clear mandate from the Commission to the Committee pending further advice from the Security Council and to authorise the Chairman to tell the Dutch to cease interfering with the Committee on behalf of the Commission were unsuccessful and after further discussion it was agreed that the Chairman should notify Schuurman of the Commission's decision to take no action pending the ruling from the Security Council on the position of the two bodies.

4. It is clear from the disposition of the French and Belgium members and the indecision of the Chinese that should new directions from the Council enable the Commission to function it will be to the substantial detriment of the Committee. Alagappan, the Indian Consul-General, has agreed to advise his Government in this sense and to recommend that the Commission be allowed to lapse. He will also recommend that, should it appear likely that the Commission will function, India should seek membership on the grounds that its interest in Indonesia is recognised by the Security Council and it has a career consular representative here.

He will see Tsiang and attempt to induce him to a more favourable attitude.

1 Document 14.

2 P.J. Salade and P. Vanderstichelen.

3 Chia Tung Tsiang.

[AA : A10158/1, 7]