501.BC Indonesia/10–1849: Telegram

The Chargé in the Netherlands (Steere) to the Secretary of State

secret   priority

969. Hicus 68. As Steering Committee assembled 3 p. m., Stikker told me Hirschfeld had not been able contact Djuanda (see Hicus 661). Stikker had seen Hatta only few minutes before meeting. Hatta desired bring up in Steering Committee meeting question establishing small debt committee. Stikker replied they had not yet agreed on terms reference and this could better be done inside with result then brought to Steering Committee. Consequently debt item eliminated from agenda.

At end meeting I got Stikker, Van Royen, Hatta, Roem, Hamid and Anak Agung together with Critchley present. I referred inability Hirschfeld find Djuanda to see whether terms reference could have been agreed for submission Steering Committee meeting. I referred urgency situation and obvious tendency toward misunderstanding unless top policy and responsible technical representatives discuss terms reference for debt problem directly and fully. It was decided technicians Hirschfeld, Djuanda and Indrakusuma should meet me my quarters Wednesday 9 a. m. to see if we could agree on terms reference and make recommendations to policy heads of three delegations.

Steering Committee meeting routine until Van Royen read prepared statement referring remarks Sultan Jogja 14th on grave situation. Said Sultan had given HRC plan of “dislocation of troops” which meant concentration Netherlands troops in main cities with Netherlands having strips of communication between which would have to share with TNI on notice from latter. Said Sultan and HRC had agreed no publicity should be given to discussions thereon but Sultan had revealed details in public statement. Alleged Sultan acted in contradiction actual situation and moreover in contravention Article 17 Chapter II of “Netherlands–Indonesian Manual for Implementation Cessation Hostilities”.

Van Royen continued Netherlands’ authorities had been concerned since cease hostilities order over TNI infiltrations and the contravention. Said HRC had handed Sultan aide-mémoire 15th setting forth [Page 537] Netherlands’ position and pointing out that Republican demands were those set forth by TNI when cease hostilities agreement being negotiated and which were turned down. Van Royen concluded by asking UNCI bring his statement to attention SC.

Hatta replied saying he had no advance notice of this sudden move on part Netherlands’ delegation and would appreciate having copy statement before replying thereto. Said he would not object to matter being referred to SC in which Indonesia has much confidence. Chairman Hamid suggested copies be given all delegations well as UNCI. I do not yet have text.

As UNCI chairman, I raised question of procedure whether UNCI should act simply as agency of transmittal at request either party. I said both parties have permanent representatives SC through whom they may submit any statements they desire. I said I appreciated confidence Hatta and Indonesians in SC but doubted reference matter to SC this juncture would have helpful effect. I said UNCI deputies doing everything possible cooperate Netherlands and Indonesian officials to steady situation and achieve best possible compliance with cease hostilities order. I said our duty at Hague is to bring RTC successfully to close and I thought it would be great reflection on all of us if we failed after approaching our goal so closely. I appealed to parties get together and discuss situation rather than ask UNCI bring matter under present reference to SC attention. I said long debate there probably not help conclusion RTC which vital to peace Indonesia.

Van Royen replied appreciatively of my pagt and present efforts reach settlement. He insisted, however, that Netherlands’ delegation has obligation inform SC of situation and that less upset would result if UNCI transmitted communication rather than Netherlands’ representative SC submitted it directly. He said UNCI could let SC understand immediate consideration of statement not required.

I countered that UNCI itself ordinarily determines when it should make reports to SC. I said we planned none on RTC until successfully concluded. I said we desired be available for extending our good offices and even making recommendations to parties if their own negotiations threaten breakdown. I personally hoped report would not be insisted upon unless and until such situation arose and UNCI intervened. I said in any event I would have to consult my UNCI colleagues on matter of procedure but definitely felt UNCI should not simply transmit Van Royen’s statement and perhaps Hatta’s answer without commenting thereon. Furthermore, UNCI would not be prepared comment thereon without seeking and obtaining full report from UNCI deputies Indonesia. Van Royen continued insistence UNCI should be medium transmittal.

[Page 538]

After meeting adjourned, informal debate continued between, Maarseveen, Van Royen, Hatta, Anak Agung, Roem, Critchley, Herremans and myself. Critchley and I held out that if Netherlands’ delegation desired send statement to UNCI we would seek Hatta’s comments thereon and then inform both parties what we intended to do. Our immediate idea was that we should do nothing until we had sought and received report from Batavia. Van Royen argued we should send statement to SC with explanation that report would follow and statements required no immediate attention. We refused accept responsibility for any remarks to effect whatever we turned in did not require early attention. Discussion closed with my telling both parties I thought they were wrong to cast doubt on success RTC by bringing complaint to SC this juncture but UNCI would of course consider whatever requests submitted to us.

Netherlands desired include in Steering Committee communiqué information to effect both parties were giving statements to UNCI in good spirit for bringing to attention SC. I opposed such publicity, saying this would give cause for speculation and doubt and hurt chances of conference. Finally agreed make simple statement in communiqué that committee had given careful consideration to Indonesian situation. Indonesians were downcast over surprise move by Van Royen, Pringgo Digdo for instance remarking to me this move might mean end of Union.

In last word with Maarseveen, I pled with him not risk upsetting conference and arousing Indonesia further by alarm such as might be caused by referring matter to SC just when successful finish to RTC expected. He said would do everything to conclude RTC quickly but said sovereignty could not be transferred in circumstances of chaos. I said unless conference does end quickly and successfully chaos likely result which SC might not be able stop. Signed Cochran.

Sent Department 969; repeated Batavia 93.

  1. Telegram 902, October 18, p. 533.