656.56D/11–1651: Telegram

The Ambassador in France (Bruce) to the Secretary of State


2919. Re Neth–Indo impasse. Cochran was recd by Subardjo 9:30 Nov 15. FonMin said relations between Indo and Neth had worsened since his departure from Djakarta, principally because of Neth proposal to amend constitution to define West Irian as being part of Neth territory. Subardjo said he had talked with Stikker1 on this subj fourteenth. [Page 723] He said Stikker had handed him note constituting Neth reply to Indo request for info as to what Neth action signified. He said note explained it was necessary delimit new territory of Neth fol Indo independence.

Subardjo said he told Stikker it wld not be feasible for Indo Govt proceed with contemplated conversations with Neth Govt thru Supomo commission on negotiation of bilateral treaty to replace round-table conf agreements unless Irian question cld also be discussed. Subardjo said Stikker replied Neth Govt wld be willing discuss Irian question, but he cld tell Subardjo in advance such discussions wld be futile since Neth Parliament wld be unfavorable towards any measure contemplating de jure transfer of sovereignty over Irian to Indo.

Subardjo said he had been requested by PriMin Sukiman to return Djakarta for urgent discussions of above and related matters and presentation thereof to Parliament, and plans depart Nov 21 or 22. He said Supomo and members his commission wld most likely remain Djakarta awaiting Subardjo’s arrival. Palar wld head Indo del UNGA until Subardjo reaches Djakarta and sends Darmasetiawan to replace him here.

Subardjo told Cochran he had fourteenth broached proposal to Stikker of de jure transfer of sovereignty over Irian under conditions which wld guarantee national treatment to Neth subjects and certain privileges to Neth over period 25 years. He said Stikker wld not commit himself on this subj but wld be willing for Neth negotiating commission to discuss this with Supomo commission. Subardjo then asked that Cochran present to Secy fol proposal:

“That in order achieve polit stability in Indo:

Relations between Indo and Neth based on round-table conf (Hague Agreement in 1949), be altered into normal relations between sovereign states without form of union;
Dispute concerning West Irian be solved in satis manner for Indo, recognition of Indo’s sovereignty on Irian being done on fol terms:
Guarantee of Neth interests in Irian by giving to Neth national treatment during period 25 years; similar treatment extended to Amer and Australian nationals;
Giving Neth, American and Australian enterprises greatest possible opportunity to harness Irian’s natural resources both above and below ground. This will take place at such conditions and for period and time so as to enable enterprises to remain or to be guaranteed continuity making possible investment required for normal long-term business operations, except in those cases which are in contravention with public interest including the general econ policy of the Republic of Indo;
Tech assistance of Neth, USA and Australia in public admin and social and econ development of Irian. In conclusion particular [Page 724] stress shld be laid on desirability of having rapid solution concerning Indo desiderata because this will be instrumental to rapid achievement of polit stability in Indo.”

In answer to Cochran’s question, Subardjo said he had not informed Stikker of contemplated approach to US and Australia with view to including them in triangular arrangement. He said he had instructed his Amb to Australia at time of conf of Indo chiefs of mission at Djakarta in Oct to approach Australian Govt on this subj, but had not yet recd any report. He said he wld invite Australian FonMin Casey for tea fifteenth and wld make above proposal to Casey, letting latter know that Cochran was submitting same proposal for him to Secy. He promised to let Cochran know outcome of conversation with Casey so decision cld be taken as to how three FonMins—Acheson, Casey and Stikker—cld pursue question further. Subardjo stressed desirability of speedy action since Casey intends depart for Australia early next week.

Subardjo seriously concerned over deterioration Indo relations with Neth fol announcement Neth proposal to amend constitution regarding Irian. He said if Neth proceeds with this measure, he expects Indo Parliament enact similar measures, including Irian in Indo. He fears there is some danger of Indo Govt hesitating to send Supomo commission to Europe to negotiate on round-table agreements if Neth Govt appears adamant on Irian question. He mentioned possible unilateral abrogation of round-table agreements by Indo Parliament. Cochran urged patience and recourse to negot rather than any unilateral action. Subardjo concurred entirely in desirability of negot rather than any hasty action which might have unfortunate international repercussions for Indo. He stressed, however, urgency of making some progress soonest on working out satis settlement of Irian question. He did not think Indo Govt wld be content to fol suggestion which Stikker made to him fourteenth, namely, that two countries proceed through their respective commissions to negotiate bilateral treaty replacing RTC agreements, and then let period of time lapse to see how satisfactorily new treaty may work before Neth gives consideration to yielding sovereignty over Irian.

Casey has asked to see Secy sixteenth. Believe Dept shld not take up Irian question with Neth Govt Hague before receiving by pouch text of aide-mémoire handed to Secretary by Stikker2 and before knowing results of conversations with Casey.

Sent Dept 2919; rptd info The Hague 57.

  1. Dirk U. Stikker, Netherlands Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  2. Not printed; according to the covering memorandum of despatch 991 from The Hague, November 30, which enclosed a copy of this aide-mémoire of November 12, Foreign Minister Stikker had distributed copies of it among the Western Union Foreign Ministers at Paris (756C.00/11–3051).