856E.00/2–1746: Telegram

The Consul General at Batavia (Foote) to the Secretary of State54


56. Hadji Salim, Sharir’s political adviser, told me last night as follows:

Independence is definite aim and status of colony must be avoided; if so recognized, the Indos are ready to enter into “far-reaching treaty with Dutch” which will protect fully their industrial and other interests here but the present proposals are entirely unacceptable. Sharir is Communist but when he entered present office, he was required by Soekarno to swear allegiance to the Indonesian Socialist Party. He added that Communism had only small following here, that it is not suited to Indonesians and that class struggle is impossible among them. Salim drove Communists from his party in 1922 for those reasons. Since he is old, well-educated, much travelled man and well-known Moslem leader, Soekarno appointed him to advise and perhaps curb Sharir. Indonesians interpret presence Britain’s junior diplomats indicating desperate attempt to solve problem without use of force and consequent unfavorable reactions of world opinion while in fact Clark Kerr’s arrival stiffened opposition to proposals and intellectuals of Java are flooding Sharir with telegrams urging him not to accept Dutch proposals. He stated frankly opinion growing that British will not fight Indos, that Dutch too weak to enforce their aims alone and that they have only to stand firm in demand for independence. This opinion gaining ground among many Europeans. He said that Van Mook in talks thus far speaks only of economics of this country while with Indonesians the matter is purely political; the word freedom has become such a slogan and has so permeated the minds of the people that only independence is acceptable and economics can wait.

Salim said he was realist and had little faith in UNO and that situations in British India and Indochina did not interest his people since they are realists seeking their own welfare and freedom.

  1. Repeated by the Department as telegram 125, February 20, 6 p.m., to The Hague and as 1710 to London.