856E.00/3–1046: Telegram

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

top secret

88. Clark Kerr and I reviewed situation today which is as follows:

Since my telegram 84, March 8, Sjahrir informed Clark Kerr Indo Cabinet elected, approved and ordered to Batavia at once so negotiations may begin March 12. Sjahrir stated if Cabinet does not come he will proceed without them.

Soekarno then ordered Sjahrir return to Djocja for further talks but latter replied he tired talking with party leaders and would remain Batavia to continue negotiations. Clark Kerr agreed that if Sjahrir goes to Djocja he may be liquidated by rabid extremists, thus putting end to all hopes for peaceful solution Indo problem. Sjahrir is showing unusual courage.

Sjahrir asked for further delay in talks but Clark Kerr objected violently and said in event further [delay?] he would request British Foreign Office terminate his visit here. This caused Sjahrir realize he must proceed at once or break off talks entirely, which would be fatal to Indo cause.

New money introduced March 7 but bank rates unknown due rumors NEI guilden will have same value as that of Netherlands. Bank rates expected next 3 or 4 days after consent British Treasury received. Simultaneously several thousands Dutch troops landed at Surabaya, Semarang and Batavia and others to follow. These two moves probably caused Sjahrir to hasten decision to renew talks without undue delay.

Clark Kerr likes idea change name “Indonesian Republic” to “Nusantara” and asked me how to spell the word.

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Sjahrir has suggested 10-year period for transition to independence but Dutch ideas not known.

I learned that a line beginning few miles east of Cheribon will be drawn due south to the coast to make all area west thereof free from terrorists. If this is done, west Java made safe and Sjahrir remains, Sumatra will fall in line. Such would limit Indo movement to middle and east Java since other islands apathetic thereto.

Extra precautions being taken in Batavia to prevent outbursts of fighting but I do not anticipate serious trouble anywhere since people are tired and want peace.