501.BC Indonesia/10–3049: Telegram

The Ambassador in the Netherlands (Chapin) to the Secretary of State

secret   priority

1023. Hicus 85. Van Royen phoned morning 29th. Said question New Guinea would be difficult. Said though Hatta indicated he riot personally interested his delegation still likely support BFO. Netherlands Government considered question too delicate to leave to UNCI. He personally thought trusteeship answer. I said had not discussed question with Indonesians for some time and did not know just how they felt.

I have revealed no one my knowledge Netherlands had approached Department seeking support Netherlands trusteeship (Ushic 311) or that Britain has sought our support (Ushic 37 and 382) for Netherlands keeping New Guinea colony. I thought advisable, however, let Van Royen know how I was likely act if my opinion sought either independently or through UNCI, lest he feel we had not been fair with Netherlands following their representations Washington. Consequently I said I preferred idea leaving Netherlands sovereign over New Guinea for present with stipulation negotiations be entered into by Netherlands and RIS within comparatively short period to decide future status. I agreed with Van Royen that long period would result in strife and uncertainty, with little likelihood for investments, et cetera. I preferred period of not more than two years or better one year. This would not exclude possibility trusteeship being advocated by Netherlands when negotiations opened. I said could not, of course, anticipate what UNCI position might be on New Guinea.

I referred to advance copy Netherlands Delegation draft agreement on self-determination which Van Royen had provided me. I told [Page 551] him sure UNCI would oppose arrangement whereunder RTC parties would provide for organ to be instituted by SC which would be entrusted with organizing and supervising exercise of right of self-determination wherein 5 Indonesian and 2 Netherlands assessors would take part. I told Van Royen SC fixes its terms reference for UNCI and leaves to latter working out of any local arrangements.

UNCI met with Steering Committee 11:30 morning 29th. As we were assembling Pringgo Digdo said Sukiman has just returned from trip Indonesia and stressed necessity New Guinea being included in transfer sovereignty, even if special arrangements had to be made whereunder Indonesians would leave much to Netherlands. Pringgo said he planned remain Hague few days after RTC to plan setting up “Union” offices, Indonesia participating in transfer sovereignty formalities to take place Amsterdam prior December 30 and also outline procedure by which Indonesian Government would start functioning after transfer sovereignty. He asked if I could stay and help him. I told him would be necessary UNCI representatives remain four or five days after close RTC to finish our report thereon and I would be glad to give him any help during those days or perhaps for day or two longer.

In meeting was agreed chairmen of three delegations and UNCI would give maximum five-minute speeches plenary session second to be presided by Drees. Agreed representatives minority interests be invited participate plenary session but not speak. Representatives significant interests would be invited as part of public. Republicans refused accept Netherlands idea of Indonesian and Netherlands High Commissioners taking precedence over Ambassadors. Will have status of Ambassadors but nothing more.

Question of observation implementation RTC agreements arose. Indonesia favored UNCI continuing under broad terms reference set forth June 22 memorandum. Van Royen and Blom argued only functions which could be given UN Agency after transfer sovereignty would be to supervise military matters and elections or plebiscites. They contended UNCI authority did not continue beyond transfer sovereignty date but arrangements should be made for UNCI or successor have new terms reference. Hatta suggested UNCI draft recommendations. UNCI stated our position. It followed lines of Ushic 20,3 of which I have made extract and to which Herremans and Critchley had agreed October 21 as reported Hicus 74,4 Van Royen asked matter be held suspense until after decision on self-determination, since this would involve utilizing UNCI. Republicans replied question [Page 552] observation had been referred to Political Committee other than that on self-determination and that former should decide. Was agreed hold in suspense but drafting be done by original committee after self-determination question decided.

Steering Committee met 3 to 6:30 p. m. 29th with working group on New Guinea. Indonesian argued original text transfer sovereignty which Netherlands promised must include New Guinea and that this was envisaged by Linggadjati. Netherlands replied they had realized impossibility population New Guinea expressing its desires accordance with Article 3 Linggadjati and had consequently made reservations thereon. Hatta said must consider Netherlands East Indies one entity and one unit from which no part should be separated. Saw no reason why independence should be granted RIS if New Guinea was not to be included. Said Linggadjati meant much to Indonesians and that principles expressed in Article 3 should not be considered nullified by statements of Van Mook or any other Netherlands official. Said since people of New Guinea not yet ready speak their own minds, New Guinea should continue part of whole NEI to constitute sovereign RIS.

Maarseveen stopped debate after three hours with blunt statement Netherlands Government could not transfer sovereignty over New Guinea to RIS. Said he knew this statement would be painful to Indonesians and particularly BFO. Said if Indonesians willing accept sovereignty without New Guinea, this did not mean RIS would be deprived of hope acquiring New Guinea later, but this should not be interpreted on other hand as encouraging such hope. Maarseveen promised Netherlands would not transfer New Guinea to any third power. Furthermore, Netherlands would not place New Guinea under trusteeship or grant autonomy thereto without consulting RIS. Said this was very definite position Netherlands Government. Meeting adjourned until 9:30 p. m.

As night session assembled Hamid told me Indonesians had in meantime asked New Guinea problem be referred UNCI but Netherlands refused. He urged UNCI do something. Hamid was first speaker. Said BFO appreciated difficult position Netherlands Delegation and Netherlands Government. BFO had reviewed situation thoroughly since afternoon session and had come to decision BFO could not abandon position it had indicated. He said Anak Agung had shown how seriously parliament’s BFO areas would regard Netherlands attitude as set forth by Maarseveen. Supomo said Republican Delegation endorsed BFO statement. Maarseveen asked if anyone else desired speak. No response. He recommended adjournment until Sunday afternoon or removal New Guinea from agenda.

UNCI suggested recess. [Both of?] UNCI colleagues accept following [Page 553] text of compromise idea I had drafted between sessions, thinking this plan would make it difficult for Netherlands further to risk break Indonesians conference through intransigent attitude and would at same time provide Indonesians with reasonable excuse for non-complete success:

“It is recommended,

In view of desirability RTC concluding successfully on November 2, 1949,
In view of important factors which should be taken into account in settling question of New Guinea,
In view of limited research that has been undertaken and completed with respect to problems involved in question of New Guinea, and

In view of heavy tasks with which Union partners will initially be confronted;

That Residency of New Guinea continue under Government of Netherlands, with stipulation that by end of first year of sovereignty of RIS, question of future political status of New Guinea be determined by negotiations between the RIS and Netherlands.”

When meeting reconvened, Maarseveen said informal talks between delegations in recess had made no progress. He again prepared adjourn meeting. UNCI asked meeting be declared informal to permit UNCI present suggestion. UNCI seriously concerned lest attitude delegations would result in most regrettable impasse when RTC so near successful conclusion. Foregoing text then read. Delegations discussed this between themselves. After half hour Indonesians asked adjournment to permit careful study by entire delegations. Meeting adjourned 11:15 to meet 4 p. m. today.

After session Van Royen spoke with UNCI trio. Said feared Netherlands Government could not accept our suggestion. We told him Maarseveen had given Indonesians serious shock by his announcement at end afternoon session. It appeared conference would break down unless compromise found on New Guinea. We said not opposed Netherlands trusteeship and thought our plan might even result in such arrangement within one year. Van Royen asked [added?] Maarseveen had approached Indonesians with suggestion trusteeship and had offered try get his government’s approval thereof if they were receptive. Indonesians opposed. We pointed out our plan close to Netherlands idea. That is, no transfer sovereignty over New Guinea now but question of status to be resolved by discussions within one year.

Maarseveen and Van Royen said Netherlands Government and Parliament desired complete and final Indonesian settlement now. Both men thought Indonesians would continue agitation until New Guinea in their possession and would bring pressure on Netherlands [Page 554] as end first year approached. We insisted Indonesians have more opportunity or [for?] pressure now when RTC is at stake and thousands Netherlands troops in Indonesia than they would have after achieving sovereignty and Netherlands troops withdrawn. We hoped several months of Union partnership would make both partners appreciative dependence upon each other and that really happy solution could be worked out in specified time. When Maarseveen told how critical Romme was becoming of agreements, UNCI trio offered talk with him if Maarseveen thought this would help. Again we envisaged possibility that within one year Indonesians might themselves come to idea of trusteeship.

Maarseveen said Netherlands Delegation would have serious conference on New Guinea before this afternoon’s meeting. He feared question self-determination would also cause trouble. As indicated above, Netherlands Delegation has submitted draft which calls for agreement between parties on recommendation to be made to SC for having an agency in Indonesia into which could be brought 5 Indonesians and 2 Netherlanders organize and supervise elections and other means self-determination along lines definitely prescribed in RTC agreement. Indonesians will oppose this on ground their draft provisional constitution provides for self-determination and that sovereign RIS will take care its responsibility under observation UNCI. UNCI will, of course, object to parties prescribing method in which SC agency should be created and instructed. We do not desire any arrangement be made which might terminate UNCI with transfer sovereignty and cause necessity debate in SC over successor to UNCI with possible vacuum period between date transfer sovereignty and creation and functioning such agency. Signed Cochran.

Sent Department, repeated Batavia 107.

  1. Telegram 903, October 18, p. 535.
  2. Neither printed.
  3. Telegram 836, September 29, p. 500.
  4. Telegram 988, October 22, not printed.