52 Critchley to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram unnumbered BATAVIA, 8 January 1949, 7.30 a.m.


Following is part two of Committee's report [1] telegraphed to Security Council this afternoon seventh.

'Part two conclusions.

12. Committee is not in position to report that there has been satisfactory compliance with subparagraph (AAA) [2] of Resolution of twenty-fourth December which called on parties to cease hostilities.

(A) Telegram despatched to Territorial Commanders in Java by Chief of Staff of Royal Netherlands Indonesian Army at seventeen hundred hours twenty-ninth December nineteen forty-eight is, according to its terms, for information and cannot be construed as orders-Cease hostilities forthwith';

Dissemination of order of Commander in Chief to Territorial Commanders in Java which confirmed fact that hostilities in Java have ended at twenty-four hundred on thirty-first December was begun at eighteen forty-five Batavia time, second January.

In Sumatra, where-'special emergency situation'existed, parallel order disseminated late on fourth January had an effective time of twelve hundred fifth January nineteen forty-nine;

(B) It is noted that these orders were issued at time when 'operational phase' of military activities presumably had been completed. Orders noted respectively that hostilities had terminated on thirty-first December nineteen forty-eight in Java and on fifth January nineteen forty-nine in Sumatra but charged troops to

'carry out action against roving groups, bands or individuals, who attempt to cause unrest or, as was stated by our representative to Security Council, to act against disturbing elements, who either individually or collectively endanger public security or interfere with or prevent the supply of food and other essential commodities to needy population'.

Orders permit continuation of every type of military action that would be required against guerilla resistance likely to be offered by regular or irregular republican forces;

(C) As result of immobilisation of its military observers Committee has no first hand information as to effect of orders discussed above;

(D) Committee is of opinion that these orders issued more than week after adoption of resolution of twenty-four December, and expressed as they were, cannot be looked upon as satisfactory compliance with subparagraph A of resolution;

(E) There is no channel available to Committee for dissemination of resolution of twenty-four December to Government or to Commanders of Republican Army.

13. Sub-paragraph B of the Security Council's resolution of twenty-four December, calling for immediate release of President of Republic and other Political Prisoners, has not been implemented. So far as Committee is aware, President Sukarno, Vice-President Hatta and other members of Republican Government, who were captured by Netherlands forces on nineteen December, are still under detention. Direct questions relating to present status, welfare and whereabouts of political prisoners, addressed to Netherlands Delegation in our letter of twenty-fifth December [3] (report of twenty-sixth December [4]), have not been answered.

14. As pointed out in paragraph fifteen of report of twenty-sixth December, task imposed upon Committee by Security Council in its resolution of twenty-four December, to observe and report upon implementation by Parties of earlier portions of resolution, was fraught with inherent difficulties from outset. These difficulties include absence of demarcation lines between Armed forces of Parties, impossibility of establishing contact with Republican forces, and extreme difficulty in distinguishing hostilities between parties from security measures.

15. Despite the statements to Security Council by Netherlands Representative on twenty-seven and twenty-nine December [5], Committee has not been in position to make independent investigations of any kind in field for purpose of carrying out its functions under the resolution of twenty-four December. As result of failure of Netherlands to authorize or facilitate return of Committee's military observers to field, they are temporarily immobilised in Batavia and Bandung without any opportunities for observation. It has been heard unofficially and informally that certain military and naval liaison officers attached to some of Consular Officials in Batavia took advantage of Netherlands offer to conduct them on a tour of some of military areas on five and six January. These officers are not military observers of Committee of Good Offices and their observations are not available to Committee even if their tour was type of field investigation and observation required by functions of Committee.

16. If Committee of Good Offices is to continue to function, it is requested that Security Council define respective functions of Committee and of Consular Commission under resolutions of twenty- four and twenty-eight December nineteen forty-nine. [6] Inability to determine whether functions of one are at this point exclusive of other or concurrent, and problem of to whom military observers are primarily responsible, has already created some difficulty and has been made an occasion for delay. It is understood that this point has been raised independently in a telegram [7] from Consular Commission to Security Council dated sixth January.

17. The Committee invites attention of Security Council to problem of its present and future status.

The functions exercised under truce by Committee and its military assistants have disappeared with truce itself. Committee was set up under resolution of Security Council of twenty-five August nineteen forty-seven to aid parties in reaching a Pacific settlement of their dispute. First of twelve Renville principles [8] provided that Committee would assist in working out and signing of a political agreement to be achieved by negotiation.

But negotiations and methods of Pacific settlement have now been rejected in favour of military action.

Committee feels a deep and abiding concern for welfare of Indonesia. It does not, however, wish to be put in position of seeming to approve by its participation, or even its authentication, any settlement based on force rather than truce negotiations.

Divested of broad functions it formerly exercised by change in circumstances resulting from military action instituted on nineteen December, there remains to Committee function of reporting to Council under terms of resolution of twenty-four December. Subparagraphs A and B of resolution have already been subject of report. Committee is also called upon in resolution of twenty-fourth December to exercise what may be looked upon as continuing reporting function, that of reporting to Council on-

'events which have transpired in Indonesia since twelve December nineteen forty-eight'.

Inability of Committee to carry out effectively this direction as result of its failure to obtain permission or facilities for return of its military observers to field has already been emphasised as hav[ing] inherent difficulties of useful reporting (paragraphs fourteen and fifteen [9]). But even if its military assistants were permitted to move freely everywhere in Indonesia without undue restrictions and were given adequate facilities it must be emphasised that Committee itself was designed primarily as instrument of negotiation.

These considerations inevitably raise question whether continuation of Committee of Good Offices in present circumstances would serve any useful purpose or would contribute to peaceful settlement of Indonesian problem'.

1 See Document 50 and note 2 thereto.

2 Sub-paragraph (a) of the resolution adopted at the 392nd meeting of the Security Council on 24 December 1948 called on the parties in Indonesia to 'cease hostilities forthwith'.

3 See Document 471 in Volume XIII.

4 See Documents 474 and 475 in Volume XIII.

5 See Document 481 and 494 in Volume XIII.

6 This should presumably read 'nineteen forty-eight'. See notes 3 and 4 to Document 31.

7 See Document 34.

8 See Document 23 in Volume XIII.

9 i.e. paragraphs 14 and 15 the Committee's report on 7 January.

[AA : A1838, 403/2/2/2, vi a]