756D.00/3–850: Telegram

The Ambassador in Indonesia (Cochran)1 to the Secretary of State


348. Negara situation remains confused but following may be pattern which will develop.2 RUSI will not oppose trend apparently gathering mass momentum for reincorporation former territories Republic Indonesia. Emergency bill likely to sanction unilateral steps [Page 982]already taken this direction by certain areas (Embtel 3343). Actually Republic Indonesia may end up with more territory than provided Linggadjati4 since may include portions Borneo. Negaras most likely oppose incorporation all East Indonesia and possibly East Sumatra although latter’s Negara police reported deserting in large numbers to TNI.

Result may be temporary reductio ad absurdum that single member state Republic Indonesia will include virtually all territory RUSI with important consequences to provisional constitution parliament membership and possibly RTC agreement. Republic politicians already meeting [to discuss?] abolition Senate and conversion into advisory group. Informed Minister explains quarrel is not between Republic Indonesia and RUSI but between forces favoring unitary state and personalities still holding to federalist principle such as Sultan Hamid5 and Anak Agung. Position of both described as difficult and may not be retained cabinet.

With emergence Republic Indonesia as nucleus unitary state capital will nevertheless remain Djakarta and will not be Jogja. Same Minister realized Dutch likely to protest under RTC but in not very good moral position to do so particularly in view Westerling affair and almost total lack popular support Negara system. According Minister in question unitary state is administrative necessity and is also will of people. Evolution from Republic Indonesia to completely national unitary state may follow through dissolution present parliament and convocation Constituent Assembly. Minister said this seems to be what Hatta has in mind. Final result may be strong central government with uniform national administration exercised through national governors with state or rather provincial government organizations being kept to minimum.

Acknowledged that many administrative adjustments and changes in parliamentary relationships would have to be made. One force promoting Republicanism at present comprises former Republican officials once jailed by Dutch and now released who are claiming back their jobs with popular support. Foreseen much sorting out will be needed between such officials and present incumbents performing their jobs in competent manner.

  1. Ambassador Cochran had been confirmed by the Senate on February 1.
  2. The Negaras (states) had been set up by the Dutch in 1948. Following the transfer of sovereignty at the end of 1949, a movement began in Indonesia to reincorporate these Dutch-created administrative units into the Republic of Indonesia.
  3. Not printed; in it Cochran reported that relations between the Republic and the United States of Indonesia were rapidly coming to a crisis. Demonstrations had occurred in East Java, Pasundan, and Madura denouncing attempts to block the return of these areas to the Republic. (656.56D/3–350)
  4. For documentation on the Linggadjati Agreement of November 15, 1946, see Foreign Relations, 1946, vol. viii, pp. 852 ff.
  5. Sultan Hamid II of West Borneo, Minister Without Portfotto of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia.