756D.00/1–2450: Telegram

The Ambassador-Designate in Indonesia (Cochran) to the Secretary of State


124. Saw Hatta this noon. He said Hirschfeld1 and Van Maarseveen2 had called on him 8 p. m. yesterday to express regrets over Bandung situation.3 Hirschfeld had returned alone 9:30 p. m. to discuss it further. Hatta had protested to them against 300 members of two special KNIL battalions at Bandung having joined at least equivalent number of other Westerling followers to attack Bandung under leadership two Netherlands police officials. Hatta reminded Hirschfeld latter had assured him week ago, following our several conversations in regard to desirability withdrawing these two Bandung, that Commander-in-Chief Buurman Van Vreeden had stated his officers would keep two battalions under control. Hatta said that, acting upon this assurance, his government had removed important part TNI 4 from Bandung to combat DI 5 troops infiltrated by Westerling followers in other vicinities than Bandung. Consequently TNI had been weak when Westerling forces including those from KNIL attacked.

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Hatta said he protested further that Chief of Staff General Van Langen who had flown from Jakarta to Bandung Monday with instructions from Netherlands Commander-in-Chief to use force against Westerling troops had instead negotiated with Netherlands police officer in command thereof to withdraw from town. Hatta said withdrawal had taken place but this would not solve situation. On contrary, left dangerous threat to Bandung and situation which might spread to other areas. He said Hirschfeld and Maarseveen stated difficult to use Netherlands and KNIL troops against dissident KNIL. Were not sure they would obey orders. Hatta said Buurman Van Vreeden made similar remark to Colonel Simatupang6 last night and added he was ashamed of his troops.

Hatta said he had this morning received telegram that KNIL troops had taken over authority in Ambon, inflicting many casualties. He referred also to recent statement signed by 800 KNIL in Macasser setting forth conditions only under which they would join RUSI national forces. He said these dangerous moves indicate that Netherlands does not have control of their own forces and that if strong measures are not taken soon there may be general revival of fighting between KNIL and TNI.

Hatta asked if I would talk with Netherlands officials re gravity of situation and also see whether they and/or my own government could do anything to facilitate withdrawal of Netherlands forces from Indonesia. I promised I would speak to Hirschfeld soonest. I said I would also report to my own government. I let him know however that at instance Jacob,7 I had raised June 1949 without success question our assisting with ships for evacuation. If there is anything Department can now do to expedite withdrawal Netherlands forces, I hope it will act promptly. Evidence is strong that Netherlands officers themselves either not disposed or incapable of commanding and directing their forces including KNIL in such fashion to contribute to law and order Indonesia.

I asked Hatta whether anything new on relation between RUSI and USSR and Communist China and Bao Dai8 regime and South Korea. He said nothing new on first three. He did not even recall that there had been any exchange of cables with South Korea but said he would look this up. (See 91 from Seoul to Department.9) In answer my query, Hatta said he had entered no negotiations for loan while in Switzerland, and nothing immediate in prospect. Said story of French loan was old affair which he had mentioned to me at Hague [Page 971]last September but has not developed (Deptel 6810). Said looking to US more importantly than ever in present situation. Said would need other than Export-Import Bank funds for consumer goods. I said hoped my government could either suggest some other agency which might help with such funds or perhaps get private American bankers interested. He said would look to Netherlands for some help this field but difficulty arises from fact many of consumer goods must be paid for with dollars. I promised let Department know urgent importance to Hatta government of Djuanda receiving quickest and fullest support.

  1. H. M. Hirschfeld, Dutch High Commissioner in Indonesia.
  2. J. H. Van Maarseveen, Dutch Minister for Union and Realm Affairs.
  3. On the evening of January 22, some 800 men led by Paul Westerling, a former Captain in the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL), had seized Bandung after killing most of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia Army garrison. Westerling’s forces contained men from the Royal Netherlands Army (KL) as well as demobilized soldiers from the Royal Netherlands Indies Army.
  4. Tentara Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Army).
  5. Darul Islam (the Islamic State), a conservative Moslem group which by the end of 1948 had become openly anti-Republican.
  6. Acting Chief of Staff of the Indonesian National Army.
  7. Jacob had been a member of the Dutch delegation that went to Indonesia in the late spring of 1949 to negotiate the principles and agenda for the Round Table Conference at The Hague. For documentation on these negotiations during June, see Foreign Relations, 1949, vol. vii, Part 1, pp. 415 ff.
  8. Chief of State of Vietnam.
  9. Not printed.
  10. Not printed.