641.56D28/2–2450: Telegram

The Secretary of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 1


217. Urtel 301 Feb 24 and Gocus 851, Feb 27.2 For the Ambassador, and USGOC to Dow.3 Fol Dept comments re military observers and continuation UNCFI.

1. Dept relies upon your and Dow’s judgment as to continued usefulness military observers, and US position in UNCFI on issue whether shld be drastic reduction or complete withdrawal observers left to Dow’s discretion. Dept has recently requested Defense Dept reduce number of US observers to 9 in accordance UNCFI Feb 9 request thru UN SYG. If UNCFI, after consideration all factors, decides military observers shld be reduced to nominal number or withdrawn entirely, recommendation shld be sent to UN SYG. Dept wld take action with Defense to accomplish withdrawal immediately thereafter.

2. Dept considers any suggestion discontinuance UNCFI in immediate future wld be premature and contrary best interests Indos and Dutch. Under Jan 28, 1949 SC res4 UNCFI retains general and specific responsibilities Indo case which do not appear to have been fully discharged. Until withdrawal and removal Neth military forces are nearer completion and hazards of friction and outbreaks of fighting have been more substantially diminished, SC may expect UNCFI to remain on ground and be available to Neth and Indo as a forum for airing any grievances this matter and settling problems which may be referred to it regardless of whether or not Commission is busy from day to day.

SC res contemplates UN participation Indo elections, and Article 2 of Agreement on Transitional Measures recorded at Hague expressly requests UN Com assistance in planning and conducting plebiscite. UNCFI appears to be best possible UN agency for carrying out this [Page 981]task, and Dept agrees your comment to Anak Agung5 that wld be needlessly troublesome and possibly disruptive to suggest establishment of new com or revision of UNCFI’s terms of reference in SC.

Moreover, utilization UNCFI may be appropriate in other aspects of observing and aiding completion of settlement. For example, although possibility that UNCFI will be asked to mediate New Guinea question diminished by Australia’s recent démarche, UNCFI may have useful function as medium for proposing or implementing compromise solution.

Dept looks forward to termination UNCFI at earliest reasonable date and agrees that as each month progresses with Indo settlement becoming firmer need for continuation UNCFI lessens. Views of Indo and Neth expressed before, during or after Union Con will, of course, be entitled weighty consideration in SC’s discussion re ending UNCFI responsibility (Dept interested in Anak Agung’s comment: “both Union partners wld desire continuation UNCFI.”) Alteration or discontinuance UNCFI probably wld be taken only after thorough SC deliberation, and views of other SC members and general UN opinion have been considered. SC likely show extreme caution before dissolving UNCFI because if it became necessary for any reason to reconstitute another UN Comm for Indo serious difficulties re comm membership and terms of reference might be raised.

3. Later tel deals with Dow’s future status and possibility return for consultation.6

  1. Repeated to The Hague as 198, to Brussels as 281, to Canberra as 38, and to the United States Mission at the United Nations as 94.
  2. Neither printed; in the former Cochran reported his opinion and that of the British Ambassador and Indonesian Minister of Internal Affairs that the United Nations Military Observers should be removed from Indonesia. Cochran added that he believed the Commission for Indonesia (UNCI) should be continued for the time being unless both the Dutch and Indonesians desired its abolition. In the latter Dow reported that similar views were held by Australian officials. (641.56D28/2–2450 and 257.AA/2–2750)
  3. Edward A. Dow, Acting United States Representative on the United Nations Commission for Indonesia.
  4. For the text of the Security Council Resolution (S/1234), see Department of State Bulletin, February 27, 1949, pp. 250–251, or United Nations, Official Records of the Security Council, Fourth Year, Supplement for February 1949, pp. 1–4.
  5. Anak Agung Gde Agung, Indonesian Minister of Internal Affairs.
  6. In telegram 231, March 8, to Djakarta, not printed, the Department of State advised Dow and Cochran that the former should remain on post in Indonesia at least until the end of the Union Conference between the Dutch and Indonesians at the end of March, since the Indonesian situation indicated the need for full UNCI representation on the spot. Toward the end of the conference Dow and Cochran should make a joint decision on the status and future of UNCI representation. (357.AA/3–850)