856E.00/4–1546: Telegram

The Chargé in the United Kingdom (Gallman) to the Secretary of State65


4162. Wilson-Young66 told us this afternoon that, as far as Anglo-Dutch talks last weekend concerned NEI, they were quite satisfactory. He was not present during that part of talks where Germany was discussed. He said proposals brought back by Van Mook were apparently in large part acceptable to Dutch Govt. However, there were certain points which he did not specify, which were difficult for Dutch to accept from constitutional point of view and on these points new Dutch proposals were being presented to Indonesians. Wilson-Young expressed opinion that Sjahrir should not find too much difficulty in accepting these new proposals. He said he was much encouraged by liberal spirit shown by Dutch and was frankly surprised they had so readily agreed to what but a short time ago would have been considered extremely radical proposals. It was pointed out that neither British nor Dutch have any illusions that mere signing of agreement will immediately produce peace and quiet in Java. Crucial question appears to be whether or not Indonesian Army will support Sjahrir in making agreement with Dutch. Sjahrir claims great majority of his army will follow him. But if this should prove not to be case, there will be disorder and bloodshed for some time to come.

With regard to withdrawal of British troops,67 Wilson-Young said general agreement had been reached. In principle British will withdraw their troops para passu with arrival of Dutch troops. There is said to be division of Dutch troops now in training which is expected to arrive in NEI at end of 1946 or early 1947, and there will, therefore, remain at least a division of British until that time. However, British were said to have made it clear to Dutch that should an unforeseen emergency arise either in SEA or elsewhere British would be free, if necessary, to withdraw their troops to meet it.68 Wilson-Young concluded by saying that, on the whole, British were optimistic re future of NEI.

  1. Repeated by the Department as telegram 245, April 16, 7 p.m., to The Hague and as 110 to Batavia.
  2. Counselor, British Foreign Office.
  3. The Department circularized 7 posts abroad on April 2, 10 a.m., that “UK plans to keep one division and corps and corps HQ in western Java until Sep 1947.” (856E.00/4–246)
  4. The British Embassy on April 23 informed the Department about the conversations on April 12. It added that the British troops in the East Indies would be reduced by the end of May from an original peak of 46,000 to 19,000, approximately equal to the Dutch forces on hand at that time, and that one division would remain in Java until November or December. (856E.00/4–2346)