541 Pritchett to Department of External Affairs

Savingram K2 BATAVIA, 12 December 1949


My Cablegram K.351. [1]

Arrangements under the Indonesian National Preparatory Committee are making good progress and it can now be said that the most adequate provisions possible in the time available will be made in all respects necessary to ensure a smooth takeover of Governmental responsibilities. In general the administration will remain in Dutch hands, the Indonesians merely taking over as Heads of Departments.

Military Affairs 2. Leimena, Chairman of the Security Committee, reports that the Dutch have now agreed to meet the Indonesians' minimum requirements in regard to arms and ammunition. Difficulties in this field have been partly political, in that the Dutch authorities were chary of handing over supplies before the Netherlands Parliament should have approved The Hague Agreement, and partly due to the reluctance of the Dutch Quartermaster- General's Department to release its stores. However, Defence Minister Fockema Andreae and Lovink have taken responsibility for the decision and supplies are expected to start moving this week.

In most cases local Dutch Commanders have made the necessary agreements with local TNI commanders and in some areas are reported to have anticipated authority and already begun to transfer supplies.

3. The KL and KNIL concentration rayons are to be discussed at the local level and the local arrangements then referred to the Security Committee for approval. Simatupang is confident that there will be no difficulties in this respect.

4. Discussions on the re-organization of the KNIL are also making good progress, largely because certain senior KNIL officers have been relieved of their normal duties and attached to the Indonesian Security Committee. The TNI and the KNIL are thus working out together the KNIL re-organization scheme and will put this up to the Dutch as an Indonesian proposal. It is unlikely that progress will be sufficient for any KNIL units to move over to the R.I.S. Army at the time of transfer, but it is expected that the re-organization scheme will be published within a fortnight after this and the liquidation of the KNIL commenced immediately.

Security Arrangements 5. Republican Intelligence indicates dissident elements of sufficient strength to be a source of trouble, to be concentrated as follows:-

(1) There are groups, believed to be mainly Tan Malacca followers, outside most of the major cities in Java. The Republicans feel that if security measures for the cities do not include the supply of adequate armament then these groups will move into the cities at the time of transfer and create disturbances. Should supplies be made available then it is expected that the groups will reserve their strength for later operations.

(2) In Pasundan the situation is as reported in my cablegram No.


(3) In Sumatra the main danger comes from three strong battalions of Communists, supplied from the Malay Peninsula. These are concentrated in the Medan-Riouw area.

(4) Groups claiming to be Republican supporters have been causing disturbances in South and East Borneo and in the Makassar area. A small Republican mission will be sent within the week to Borneo to investigate and the Sultan of Jogja will visit East Indonesia before the transfer, with the concurrence of Anak Agung.

Alimin's Communist movement, incidentally, is not expected to cause any trouble but believed to be pursuing a long term policy of political opposition, trade union penetration, etc.

6. The Sultan, in his capacity as Co-ordinator of Security, made a tour of Java this week with the most satisfactory results. With the agreement of the Negaras, Republican Military Governors have been installed in both Pasundan and East Java. The Semarang Recomba area has also been included in the territory of the Republican Military Governor of Central Java. These officers will be directly responsible to the Sultan for all Security matters.

These arrangements have considerably eased the recent tension between the Negaras and the Republic and the position of the Negaras is no longer a major political issue.

7. In Sumatra, the Negara of East Sumatra, after having pressed throughout the last four months for the withdrawal of the TNI, has now agreed that the TNI Lt. Col. Kawilarang take over the territorial command. A similar arrangement will probably be made for South Sumatra. The Sultan will commence a two-day visit to Sumatra tomorrow.

8. Following these arrangements and the Dutch promise to supply armament, the Indonesians are confident that they will be able to deal with disturbances, though they would feel more secure if more arms and ammunition were forthcoming. When in Pasundan, the Sultan issued an emphatic warning that he would take immediate and vigorous action to deal with disorders and it can be expected that though disorders will certainly occur, they will be less serious and will be suppressed more firmly than appeared likely one or two weeks ago.

9. Security arrangements for the large towns are complete and I shall forward details by the next bag. Because of the debate in the Netherlands Parliament, the Dutch have requested a two day postponement of the entry of the TNI; this will now commence officially on December 17. There is no decision so far as to the role of the Milobs, but it is possible that they will be requested to supervise the handover in the major cities, as in the evacuation of Jogja.

Provisional Government 10. At the request of the B.F.O., the Committee to elect the President and appoint the cabinet formateurs will meet in Djocja, and the appointment of the Provisional Government and Parliament will take place there. The proceedings are now expected to be finished by December 17, after which a small Delegation under Hatta will proceed to Holland on about December 20 to receive sovereignty. Present arrangements provide for a simultaneous ceremony in Batavia whereby Lovink will formally hand over the local administration to members of the Provisional Cabinet and then will proceed immediately to Holland. Sukarno will arrive one or two days later and within the week a day will be set aside for official celebrations.

11. Cochran will attend the proceedings in Indonesia as American member of the Commission. Herremans will probably also attend.

1 Document 538.

[AA : A4357/2, 252, ii]