756D.00/3–2850: Telegram

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


384. Personal for Secretary. Stikker1 called me to Foreign Office this afternoon to say situation in Indonesia deteriorating so rapidly that he felt it imperative bring condition to your personal attention. He said he still anxiously awaiting report he understood being prepared by Cochran to give unbiased account actual situation, but meanwhile he very much concerned.

Definite word had been received from Dutch authorities in Indonesia to effect some 40 to 50 thousand Dutch and Indo-Europeans wish to leave at earliest possible moment, having become convinced there no future for them in Indonesia, but on contrary considerable hardship and even danger. Ships are being procured, but aside from vastness transportation problem and difficulty in already overcrowded country finding livelihood, Dutch Government faced with necessity creating refugee camps here.
The pressure being exerted on East Sumatra, whose people desire federal status, to be incorporated in Republic, was being resisted to point where there was possible movement among Medanese to resist incorporation by force of arms. Dutch planters and Indo-European population in interior was rumored to be concentrating in Medan city in effort to leave. Should civil war break out in this richest area, economic life Sumatra might well be seriously damaged.
The Celebes state East Indonesia had consistently objected to receiving TNI troops but on March 26 it was learned that steamer actually chartered transport TNI to Macassar. Although Hatta when approached disclaimed knowledge any such move, when confronted with proofs of charter, he managed at last moment to stop it. President Sakawati had, despite strong Dutch official advice, even launched a “separatist movement.”
Yesterday report of mutiny on Ambon particularly disturbing since dissatisfied KNI [ KNIL ] native troops were reported actually fighting despite efforts on part Dutch officers control them. Already false reports circulating Jogja and elsewhere this movement engineered by Dutch.

Summing up, Stikker stated he did not like to “cry wolf” and that as the Secretary knew, he, Stikker, had strongly urged RTC settlement. He felt, however, that conditions were indeed serious and, if allowed to go on unchecked, might very well lead in short while to such chaos as to make excellent breeding ground for communism. In response my direct query, he said that he could not state from his information that there were any serious new Communist movements, although it obvious that Communist agents were endeavoring stir up trouble and prepared to capitalize not only Dutch-Indonesian difficulties but on local disorders.

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He was not prepared to assess any blame in any particular spot, but there was trouble brewing.

In his opinion, Hatta is not strong enough to take necessary responsibility and issue requisite orders. He must be pushed and pushed—vigorously pushed. He added that Dutch influence is no longer of any importance in this respect, although Hirschfeld and others had endeavored to get Hatta to take action. In his opinion, only way that Hatta could be forced to move would be from strong continued representations by US. He remarked that former Dutch Colonial officials still working with Indonesians report similar indecision and lack of action in all Departments of government, including their representation here. They are simply drifting.

In response my question, Stikker stated he felt deeply that conditions had not degenerated to point where strong action would not be effective and that he believed that Hatta could, if he would, get on top of situation. Unless action was taken promptly he reiterated, communism might well come in side door Indonesia while we were trying to keep the front door of southeast Asia blocked in Indochina.

  1. Dirk U. Stikker, Netherlands Foreign Minister.