856E.00/3–646: Telegram

The Consul General at Batavia (Foote) to the Secretary of State55

us urgent

83. See mytel 76, March l.56 Sharir returned from Djocja March 4 and made following statement:

“My position is stronger than when I left. I now have full authority carry on negotiations and need no longer continuously consult Djocja Karta. Negotiations can now begin. Six or seven parties will be represented in Cabinet which not yet formed. Cabinet members will be announced within few days.”

Queried re resolution adopted at Djocja Karta that “discussions to be on basis hundred percent freedom and independence”, he replied vaguely that “it is to considerable extent a question of how this is construed”.

Following is gist of the resolution adopted by national committee at Djocja, which is Sharir’s mandate to negotiate:

Carry on negotiations on basis of recognition of Republic of Indonesia; prepare for defense of republic in military, social and economic matters; prepare democratic basis for Central and Provincial Govts; provide for maximum distribution of food and clothing; important enterprises, industries, etc. to [be] put under government supervision.

Saw Van Mook yesterday and found him pessimistic re future and bitter towards United States and Great Britain for permitting 120,000 armed Japs to remain at large in NEI, some of whom joining in terroristic activities of extremists and others training Indo troops while Dutch troops prevented from landing or taking effective action. He described situation “more up in the air, more nebulous than ever and decidedly wooly”. In addition expressing no hope for success of negotiations, he pointed out Indos making all-out effort to prepare for war while Dutch not permitted to prepare.

I discussed situation with Clark Kerr today and [found] him nearly as pessimistic. He said he intended to leave Java within 3 weeks. He said in informal talk with Sharir last night, following occurred: Sharir wanted another week before renewing talks; Clark Kerr objected but agreed on 4 days’ delay; he told Sharir Indos’ demand for independence as stated in mandate was folly; Sharir said he would not demand nationalization of all industries but old ones would be subjected to some government supervision while new ones would be subject still more control.

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Djocja meeting Indo party leaders described as chaotic uproar. Tan Malaka, Communist leader, offered seat at assembly sessions and invited attend conference party leaders but refused both. He likewise refused Soekarno’s invitation attempt to form new cabinet. I see no hope now for success of talks at Batavia since such would mean complete about-face for Indos.

While I was drafting this telegram, Sharir telephoned that he wished me visit him tomorrow night at his home. Further comments will be reserved pending this meeting.

  1. Repeated by the Department as telegram 169, March 8, 8 p.m., to The Hague and as 2151 to London.
  2. Not printed; it reported uncertainty of political situation (856E.00/3–146).