856E.00/3–846: Telegram

The Consul General at Batavia (Foote) to the Secretary of State57


84. Reference last paragraph my telegram 83, March 6. In long talk at Sharir’s house last night, he sought my advice on following: Attitude our Govt re Dutch proposals; nature of American public opinion re Indo movement, if it had changed or might change and if so why. He asked me to speak frankly and not pull punches. I replied I had no information re our attitude towards Dutch proposals; that our attitude is neutral; that our Govt and American people wish well for all peace-loving people; that we desired Indo people gain peace, good standard of living, better education and general advancement; that we trying change from war to peace production and that 140 millions Americans need raw materials which now held up by strife in Netherlands East Indies. I added that US ready to buy great quantities all goods which would assist rehabilitation Netherlands East Indies industries and make possible supply of consumer goods needed here but that I feared continued strife would result in great delay and further chaos, deterioration, hatred, famine, disease, bloodshed and losses to all. He replied that such would be the unhappy results which would not gain friends but might cause loss thereof, that he was last person to desire Java stained with blood and that he would endeavor reach some agreement satisfactory both parties.

With reference possibility of Dutch-Indo agreement, Sharir said words “Indonesian Republic” had gained strong hold in minds of all leaders and was high hurdle which must be jumped, even if in name only. Once over it he could proceed easily and reach agreement without great delay. I suggested if that was only difficult [Page 814] hurdle why not change the name. Then later in the evening Hadji Salim, Sharir’s political advisor, arrived and suggested name be changed to “Nusantara” which was ancient name of Netherlands East Indies. Consideration may be given thereto.

During the talk, I was impressed by Sharir’s earnestness and insight into difficulties and left him feeling more optimistic re efforts solve problems and provide raw materials needed by our industries. On leaving he said he would urgently request Soekarno visit Batavia soon and asked me repeat same remarks to him. If Sharir can gain complete support of Soekarno, the Indo problem can be solved to satisfaction all parties.

  1. Repeated by the Department as telegram 172, March 12, 1 p.m. to The Hague and as 2708 to London.