123 Cochran, H. Merle: Telegram

The Chargé in the Netherlands (Coe) to the Secretary of State

top secret

433. Eyes only for the Secretary. In absence of Ambassador, have read your 350 April 7.1

Am aware contents memo in question. Ambassador informed me of Fockema Andreae’s remarks, and expressed his surprise at latter’s statement.

This is first time Ambassador or I have heard any Netherlands official make any such remarks regarding Cochran. Some weeks ago, however, Boon, Secretary General Foreign Office, said to me that he wondered if Cochran had been reporting to Department real state of affairs in Indonesia and asked if we had had any confirmatory reports from Cochran reference deteriorating situation. This was basis for Embtel 323 March 16.2 During Ambassador’s conversation with [Page 1008]Stikker (Embtel 384 March 28) so far as I am aware no innuendos reference Cochran were made.

It is my opinion that Cochran earned the healthy respect of Netherland officialdom at RTC because of his soundness, tact, persuasiveness and skill. Although he came to The Hague with the animadversion of many Dutchmen, he overcame their suspicions—at least in most official quarters—by his influence in bringing success to RTC negotiations.

Netherlands officials have tried to forget the past and Ambassador, myself and other Embassy officers believe they have the same aim as we have regarding Indonesia—namely, the establishment of the new state on a firm and solid basis. The Dutch like the Communists no more than we, and they realize that the RUSI Government is the strongest group in sight to keep Communists out of Indonesia, furthermore the hard-headed Dutch are practical enough to know that in a stable and effective Indonesian Government, there lies their only hope to get any returns at all from their heavy investments in the Archipelago.

Foreign Office takes gloomy view of outlook in Indonesia. As you will recall, Stikker made points in his conversation of March 28 with the Ambassador that Hatta must be forced to take much stronger hand in dealing with deteriorating situation and that Cochran should persuade him so to do. Perhaps the Dutch do not think Cochran will “push Hatta vigorously” and this may account for Fockema Andreae’s remarks. I cannot credit the Dutch with any Machiavellian motives, and think that in their genuine concern regarding Indonesia they are doing everything possible to strengthen Hatta. Their reports from Indonesia are disturbing, and they view the future with an alarm that they apparently do not believe possessed by Cochran. They may account for this clumsy tactic through Fockema Andreae. He has recently returned from Djakarta and was presumably selected to put Secretary Johnson “wise” as having the last word from Indonesia. I understand via Hunter (ECA Chief) that Ministers Lieftinck and Maarseveen who returned last week from Indonesia have equally disturbing views, despite their public declarations to the contrary.

Ambassador returns 16th and may wish to report further, but I am certain he will concur in views reported above.3 I shall keep alert [Page 1009]for any signs of an anti-Cochran campaign here and not hesitate to say, as we have in the past and if occasion arises during any conversation with Netherlands officials, that Cochran enjoys the full confidence of our government.

  1. Not printed; it informed Ambassador Chapin that Secretary Acheson had seen the memorandum of his conversation with Schokking on March 30 and asked Chapin for his appraisal of the extent to which Fockema Andreae’s views were held by other high Dutch officials. Chapin was also advised:

    “As you know we are all concerned to promote orderly and stable Govt in Indonesia consonant with our sponsorship Round Table Conf agreement. We believe that Cochran has vigorously been pursuing this policy. This is not first attempt of Dutch to discredit our reps in Indonesia. Present move may not be unconnected with possible involvement of important Dutch officials in improper activities in Indonesia. Our immed concern is how best to contribute to cessation of this kind of maneuvering and to insure maximum cooperation of Dutch. In absence of specific substantive info this clearly cannot involve Cochran replacement. In the meantime I believe you shld make clear in conversations whenever question is raised that Cochran enjoys full confidence of this Govt” (123 Cochran, H. Merle)

  2. Not printed.
  3. In telegram 463, April 18, from The Hague, not printed, Ambassador Chapin expressed his concurrence with Coe’s remarks and added:

    “I have never heard any other responsible Dutch official seek to discredit our representative in Indonesia since my arrival which more or less coincided termination RTC conference and do not believe Dutch Government would in any way countenance acts on part of Dutch officials in Indonesia prejudicial to what it has stated are our common objectives, namely, the establishment of a bulwark against Communism through the agency of a government capable of maintaining order, promoting welfare of Indonesian people and protecting legitimate foreign, interests in Indonesia.

    “I believe Dutch, including those who even before settlement were sincere friends of Indonesian independence, now to be seriously apprehensive (rightly or wrongly) at trend of events in Indonesia based upon such information as is reported here by cables or by returning officials and businessmen.” (123 Cochran, H. Merle)