856E.00/3–2146: Telegram

The Consul General at Batavia (Foote) to the Secretary of State59


104. Browne’s60 talk today with Van Bylandt, Van Mook’s political advisor:

Indos insist on immediate recognition of “Indonesian Republic”. They claim no need of transition period for independence since Republic [Page 816] “exists now” and even where Dutch administration restored “Republic exists in people’s hearts”. All they appear to want is Dutch recognition, all practical matters re future relations Netherlands and Indonesia being subordinated thereto. Sjahrir’s counterproposals did not answer those of Dutch, thereby showing no meeting of minds of two sides. Van Bylandt claims Indos living in dream world of their making in which realistic arguments and actual facts are nearly excluded and he is frankly pessimistic re outcome of negotiations. Van Bylandt said Dutch would gladly accept for Indonesia plan such as French have worked for Indochina—a system of states having varying degrees of autonomy but all within kingdom. He did not know what Indos thought of Indochina setup. He is greatly worried about Japs in Indonesia and said they are carrying on increasing activity as military trainers, spies, informers and increasing association with Indos. Van Bylandt said “war against Japan is not over; present situation here is the last but not least successful stage of Jap war. Defeat of Japan is Allied, not Dutch, responsibility.” He complained sharply of failure of USA to meet Dutch request about 2 months ago for Liberty ships to carry Japs out of country. Shipping shortage appears to be greatest obstacle to removal of Japs.

From Foote: Clark Kerr today let me read long report of first subcommittee to “the conference”. Indos pointed out therein that point 1 of counter-proposals must be considered with points 6, 7 and 8 and not alone. They said “Indonesian Republic is of primary and all predominant significance,” points 2 and 3 were included “to accentuate preparations for cooperation”, points 4 and 5 were meant “to prove Indonesia does not stand alone in world and must be prepared to serve world as whole”. Indos said words “imperial cabinet” mean both sides must surrender certain amount of sovereignty, Jap war broke all ties with Netherlands and it is now necessary to find form for new cooperation but it “must be based on conditions existing now”, the word Republic is “loaded with emotional meaning and negotiators must keep it inviolate”, there is no desire to eliminate Dutch influence but to seek to use it for reconstruction of Indonesia. They added that vagueness of counterproposals was intended to force sharp definitions in agreement with Dutch. The Dutch then inserted long argument against claim that sovereignty now exists and said Indos could only ask for transfer thereof: only authority here is Allied Commander, and if they have been independent they committed serious offense by taking Jap arms which belong to Allies and they have held internees which Allies seek to release. Dutch said people other islands would object to inclusion in “Republic”. Clark Kerr then suggested to Van Mook that French solved trouble in Indochina by permitting republic of Vietnam; Van Mook has not reacted but Clark Kerr thinks he is wavering. In brief, nothing has been accomplished, Dutch are pessimistic, Clark Kerr is not optimistic but appears determined [Page 817] to keep trying, the subcommittee will be reduced to make it more workable and another plenary session will be held in 2 or 3 days. At last moment of our talk Clerk Kerr mentioned “Republic of Java” as possible solution with varying degrees of autonomy in outer islands.

  1. Repeated by the Department as telegram 204, March 26, 11 a.m., to The Hague and as 2641 to London.
  2. Sidney H. Browne, Consul at Batavia.