501.BC Indonesia/1–1049: Telegram
The Consul General at Batavia (Livengood) to the Acting Secretary of State
61. Gocus 535. Following letter delivered today to chairman Nethdel by Herremans,1 GOC chairman of week:
“I have honor refer our letter 28 December especially part beginning question four which requests certain information re status political [Page 138] prisoners referred to by SC 24 December resolution. Urlet 28 December and 4 January informed us in effect you not able as yet to supply information and that subjects covered still under consultation.
It now known from Van Royen statement before SC on 7 January that Sukarno, Hatta and Salim2 are on island Bangka. Therefore, accordance 24 December resolution, GOG desires observe in person status these Repub leaders. GOC willing visit Bangka this purpose and request you provide necessary facilities and clearance. If you prefer, GOC will use US plane assigned it.
GOC wishes see and speak to President and his colleagues. If these Repub officials desire GOC to transmit their behalf message to SC, I am sure your government would interpose no objection.
I appreciate it if arrangements could be made if possible for early morning departure tomorrow and return same day”.
USDel initiated action in light following considerations:
- Desirability of GOC vigorously obeying mandate given it in resolution 24 December;
- Newsworthy character of step will help to maintain popular interest and exert continuing public pressure on Netherlands in direction moderation;
- Possible advantage of opening channel between Sukarno, Hatta and SC;
- Opportunity might be offered for brief private conversation and obtaining confidential information of value to Department;
- Participation by all GOC representatives and nature of report that can be written preclude possibility of appearing to sell Netherlands plans to Repub.
Schuurman expressed surprise and characterized request as unforeseen and left hurriedly saying he must consult. Three telephone calls to Palace this evening brought replies that answer hoped for tonight but that consultations still going on. No decision reached 2200, probably indicating question raised looked upon as involving matter of policy. Signed Lisle.