357. AA/3–1651: Telegram

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


1261. Gocus 957. After seeing Lamping1 yesterday Australian chairman Gilchrist2 completed canvass Netherlands and Indo views UNCI future (Gocus 956).3 Gilchrist told me orally position respective [Page 618] parties much as anticipated. Netherlands favored keeping UNCI in being in some form or other (Gocus 954).4 Indo FonMin Roem strongly advocated total dissolution UNCI. Gilchrist has impression Netherlands desires temporize seeking decision re UNCI pending shakedown new Netherlands Cabinet. Gilchrist also believed Roem for same reason wld not press for immediate decision. Gilchrist furnishing UNCI next day or so transcript his consultations.

March 14 Roem asked me call upon him state US position. I told him as indicated earlier talks with Ambassador Cochran we still favored early UNCI dissolution (Usgoc 495). Said we took this position impartially without reference whatever position Indo might adopt and simply because we believed it right procedure for all concerned. It was our feeling UNCI cld contribute nothing Netherlands–Indo relations and now that two governments had been working with each other as sovereign states for over year, established ways and means existed for settlement problems. Was well known Australia in impossible position UNCI re Irian function. Said Ambassador Cochran and myself strongly opposed suggestion UNCI affairs be transferred indefinitely UNCI nation displomatic missions Djakarta since we believed it better US–Indo relations be dealt with here on bilateral basis without being confused by UNCI matters. Roem replied Indo also favored UNCI total dissolution. Said wld be damaging to UNCI good reputation if it contd in present state and with existing membership. Roem also thought Indo question shld be withdrawn from SC agenda. Roem said now that Indo was UN member was preferable its differences with Dutch be handled more normal means than by UNCI with present composition. Was aware Netherlands plans for keeping UNCI in form “shadows commission” which he opposed.

After reading Gilchrist’s record conversations with Lamping and Roem, Ambassador Cochran and myself propose working on Australians along fol lines which we believe Dept shld likewise pursue with Canberra. With Indo party probably inclined refuse further cooperation with UNCI for reasons that can only be too clear to Australians, logical commission shld be dissolved. Australians in most invidious position since normally they would be expected support Indo wishes re commission’s future. Only trouble can ensue from continuation present commission. Indo has disqualified Australia as adjudicating party in Irian question which is most important matter in which UNCI might have been of help. Danger exists Australia may [Page 619] be publicly repudiated by Indo as acting in bad faith staying on UNCI. Australia accordingly shld join us in supporting UNCI dissolution. We consider this in Netherlands interest also since fail to see how commission which Indos consider suspect and may later attack as instrument western interests can contribute to Netherlands–Indo relations.

As previously reported Australia apparently willing reluctantly support Netherlands Belgian proposals for UNCI continuation because similarity views re Irian. Ambassador Cochran and myself urge strong efforts shld be made persuade Australians vote with us as majority in commission favoring dissolution. If this proves unsuccessful we believe US shld tell parties and UNCI nations we are considering withdrawing from commission. It is our guess that Australians particularly and possibly Netherlands might agree UNCI abolition rather than have recomposition commission debated in SC. Besides fear for future of union and RTC in which we cld be of greater help to Netherlands acting as individual nation, we consider Netherlands newly found enthusiasm for UNCI motivated in part by wish make US continuously responsible for Hague settlement which many Dutch politicians regard as failure.

First draft UNCI report to SC on developments sovereignty transfer down to present completed. Draft is merely objective historical survey which shld provoke little or no controversy. UNCI intent has been report shld be submitted SC with recommendations re UNCI disposition as soon as decision reached in commission on this point. We welcome Department’s suggestions re future tactics. Signed Beam.

Dept pass The Hague, Canberra. Sent Dept 1261, rptd info The Hague 123, Canberra 16.

  1. A. T. Lamping, Netherlands High Commissioner to Indonesia.
  2. H. Gilchrist, Second Secretary of the Australian Embassy in Indonesia and Australian Representative on the UNCI.
  3. In telegram 1239 (Gocus 956) from Djakarta, March 14, Ambassador Cochran conveyed Mr. Beam’s news that the UNCI was telegraphing the Secretary-General of the United Nations that in view of the satisfactory implementation of the arrangements for withdrawing the Netherlands’ troops from Indonesia, the UNCI no longer needed the services of the military observers as of April 6, 1951. Both the Netherlands and Indonesian governments agreed. Mr. Beam also reported that the UNCI had agreed that Mr. Gilchrist should approach the Netherlands and Indonesian delegations to ascertain their views regarding the UNCI’S future. (357. AA/3–1451)
  4. See footnote 2, p. 612.