357.AA/5–1250: Telegram

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


640. Gocus 858. Reference Deptel 411, May 8 (Usgoc).2 As reflected in greatly diminished reporting, UNCI activities since Soviet [sovereignty] transfer end 1949 have been extremely limited. Following is submitted as summary activities:

Commission has held 5 meetings since January 1, all very routine character as will be observed from records transmitted to Department. In addition there has been one meeting on February 6 of the “contact committee” at which decisions were taken and information given to [Page 1021]commission by Netherlands and Indonesian representatives chiefly concerning assembly sectors and Netherlands troops awaiting embarkation.
UNCI has received no request from either Netherlands or Indonesian side for intervention or assistance in connection with carrying out of RTC agreements and attributes this to excellent spirit of cooperation between union partners in execution of those agreements, despite certain incidents which have occurred and which although they did not directly involve Netherlands vs. Indonesian forces have caused certain bad feeling, particularly on part of Indonesians. Three major incidents have occurred since transfer, namely (1) Westerling attack on Bandung (2) Abdul Aziz Mutiny in Makassar (Celebes), (3)” Effort at rebellion in South Moluccas (Ambon) including proclamation of so-called Republic of South Moloccas. Westerling and Makassar affairs were viewed by RUSI Government as internal difficulties and were Suppressed by RUSI armed forces. Ambon affair is regarded in same light by RUSI which will presumably liquidate rebels in due course. In none of these cases has there been any official suggestion, let alone request, on part of either partner that UNCI should intervene or lend assistance. As noted in summary record of UNCI meeting of April 4, UNCI decided that I should as chairman of week suggest informally to Sultan of Jogja (Minister Defense) that he consider deferring landing of RUSI troops in Celebes until situation more clarified, this approach being met with friendly but firm reaction to effect that movement RUSI troops was purely internal matter. Similar attitude taken by Dutch officially although Dutch made some informal suggestions that UNCI should attempt to intervene on behalf of East Indonesian Government.
UNCI was invited to opening and closing public sessions of Netherlands-Indonesian Union Conference in early April. Although Indonesian and Dutch officials had stated that UNCI’S future role might be discussed during conference, understand from participants and official records that only reference to UNCI consisted in statement that results of negotiations in New Guinea joint commission would be brought to attention UNCI.
For all practical purposes component states of RUSI have ceased to exist and a unitary state is already in effect established, as Department will have noted from American Embassy’s comprehensive reports. There is question as to whether the method in which this is being accomplished is in full accord with RTC agreements and in this matter also some Dutch officials have informally criticized UNCI for not taking some action. Such officials state however, that they are not prepared to submit formal request to this effect and are probably [Page 1022]speaking without authority and against the wishes of High Commissioner Hirschfeld and Hague Government. In any case almost all observers are agreed that whatever methods are being used to form unitary state great majority of population favors centralized republic.
Netherlands headquarters here state that rate of evacuation of Netherlands troops from Indonesia has averaged approximately 9,000 per month since January 1. Total number embarked between January 1 and May 1, 35,000, total remaining to be embarked amounts to 26,000. It is estimated that rate of 10,000 per month can be maintained, particularly due to assistance of US Army transports, and that no Netherlands troops, other than military mission, will remain in Indonesia after July 31. Reorganization of KNIL (Royal Netherlands Indies Army) has presented greater problems. KNIL troops totalled 64,000 on January 1 and May 1 total was still 49,000. 13,000 have been taken into RUSI Army, 2,000 demobilized and embarked for Holland and 1,100 demobilized in Indonesia. Both Netherlands and Indonesian military expect rate of reorganization to be stepped up sharply in next 2 months and present target date for complete absorption or demobilization of KNIL is July 26, this date having been fixed by agreement between Sultan of Jogja and Fockema Andreae, Netherlands Secretary of State for War, and announced in joint communique May 9. It is planned to send 2,000 KNIL troops to Holland [where?] great majority would be incorporated in Netherlands forces in Europe. These men would almost all be either Dutch or Eurasian and figure would include very few if any native troops. Foregoing figures furnished by Netherlands headquarters on strictly confidential basis.
As Department will recall from previous messages total number of military observers in Indonesia has been reduced to 35, of which 9 are Americans. Military observers are stationed in 9 localities of Indonesia including Djakarta. Every military observer with whom I have spoken in Djakarta or on trips I have made elsewhere has stated that his duties are either negligible or non-existent, a view shared by the senior military observers in Djakarta, including Colonel Hisgen. Commission is considering further reducing number of military observers but some opposition is voiced by Belgian representative and both Netherlands and Indonesian officials while frankly stating that they do not know what military observers are doing, state that they hesitate to agree with further reduction or complete withdrawal in view of “possible incidents”.

Signed Dow

  1. Secretary Acheson was in London for talks with Foreign Ministers Bevin and Schuman: documentation on their talks is scheduled for publication in volume iii.
  2. Not printed; it asked for a summary of UNCI activities since the first of the year. (357.AA/5–850)