545 Quinn to Burton

Departmental Dispatch Hag 15 THE HAGUE, 27 December 1949


I desire to report that I was present at the ceremony in Amsterdam on 27th December at which Her Majesty the Queen of the Netherlands signed the Acts transferring sovereignty to Indonesia. Also present in addition to representatives of the Diplomatic Corps were members of the more important Parliamentary political groups from both Chambers, delegates from Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles, certain senior Dutch officials and representatives of the Dutch, Indonesian and foreign press. The audience was a relatively small one, estimated at 335 by the Dutch official news service.

2. The actual signing of the documents by the Queen, her Ministers and the members of the Indonesian Delegation, took place at an oval table at the end of the Burgerzaal or Civic Hall of the Dam Palace. The timetable of the ceremony had been arranged to synchronise as far as possible with that being held in Batavia where it was essential to conclude the transfer in time for the Netherlands flag to be lowered before sundown.

The ceremony opened before the entry into the Hall of Her Majesty Queen Juliana and the Prince of the Netherlands with the reading of a protocol which certified that the Netherlands Parliament and the constitutional authorities of the sixteen component parts of the new United Republic of Indonesia had all ratified the agreements reached at the recent Round Table Conference, that an Indonesian Cabinet had been properly constituted under an elected President, and that the Indonesian Delegation present to receive sovereignty from the Netherlands had been legally authorised. This protocol (a translation of which is attached as Annexure 'A' [1]) was signed first by Dr. Willem Drees as Prime Minister of the Netherlands and Dr. Mohammed Hatta as Prime Minister of Indonesia, and subsequently by the six Indonesian delegates, the fourteen members of the Dutch Cabinet and the two representatives of Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles.

4. The Queen and the Prince then made their solemn entry, the former escorted by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Overseas Territories and the latter by the Presidents of the two Chambers of the States-General. The documents of transfer were offered in a hand-tooled red leather book 24" x 16". At the request of the Prime Minister, the Secretary of the Cabinet opened the volume and read the Deed of Confirmation in which Queen Juliana gave her assent to the new Order of Law (Nieuwe Rechtsorde) which had been ratified by the Netherlands Parliament and accepted by the territories acceding to the new Indonesian Republic. (A translation of this Deed is attached as Annexure 'B'.) After the Queen's signature had been affixed at 10.19 a.m.

local time (0919 hours G.M.T.), Dr. Drees and Van Maarseveen signed also.

5. The Secretary of the Cabinet next read out the Act of Transfer of sovereignty (a translation of which is attached as Annexure 'C') by which it was confirmed that the Charter of Transfer had become law, that the Netherlands-Indonesian Union with the Queen as its Head had been brought into effect, and that all the provisions formulated as a result of the Round Table Conference had come into force. After the signature of this document by the Queen, Dr. Drees and Mr. van Maarseveen, Dr Drees officially declared the Union to be established. As reported in my telegram No. 232 [2] the Queen signed this document at 10.22 a.m. local time (0922 hours G.M.T.). At this point Dr. Hatta rose and made a brief statement in Dutch accepting the transfer. His remarks were brief and of a conventional nature. He said in substance that it was a great honour to accept sovereignty on behalf of the new State and that he cherished the hope that relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia would develop in a direction leading to the prosperity and happiness of the Netherlands and Indonesian peoples. He then signed, followed by the members of his delegation, the Act of Transfer as well the Charter of Transfer, the Netherlands-Indonesian Union Statute and the Transfer Agreement. When the last signature had been affixed the Netherlands Prime Minister announced that the Queen would address the Assembly. A translation of the Queen's speech is attached as Annexure 'D'.

The ceremony was terminated with the playing on the palace carillon of the Indonesian national anthem, Indonesia Raya, and the Netherlands anthem, the Wilhelmus.

7. Despite its importance, the ceremony drew little public interest. Although the weather was relatively fine, the crowds outside the Dam Palace were small and there was little evidence in Amsterdam or, apparently, throughout the country of any notable reaction to the accomplishment of the final step in the granting of independence to Indonesia. On my return to The Hague, I noticed that several houses, possibly occupied by members of such organisations as the 'Committee for the Unity of the Realm', were flying flags at-half mast, but this gesture was only sporadically imitated.

8. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Indonesian delegation, the Dutch Cabinet and a few special guests had informal talks with the Queen and each other and later lunched with the Queen and Prince Bernhard. Before the luncheon took place Dr. Hatta laid a wreath on the Dutch National War Memorial in the Dam Square and paid a call on the Burgomaster of Amsterdam, Mr. A. J. d'Ailly.

1 The annexures of this Document are not published.

2 Dispatched on 27 December.

[AA : A4231, 1949 THE HAGUE]