319. Telegram From the Embassy in the Netherlands to the Department of State1

1044. Re Djakarta’s 69 sent Department 1495, repeated Canberra 42.2 Lubis, Counselor, and Zahar, Economic Counselor Indonesian Mission, requested meeting with Embassy official today. They said they had received report from Djakarta that Allison had asked Suwito, Secretary General Foreign Office, whether Indonesia prepared to enter into negotiations with Netherlands on broad range of outstanding issues troubling two countries. Suwito asked Allison if Allison had in mind negotiations “including issue of West New Guinea” and Allison said “yes”. Lubis said Indonesians supposed US was concurrently obtaining indication Netherlands willingness talk, and on same understanding of scope. Indonesians knew of Van Roijen’s frequent visits to Department, but assumed this approach would be Ambassador Young to Foreign Office and they were interested in response. Embassy official replied he had no knowledge of Allison conversation with Suwito to this effect or any such approach [Page 543] by Ambassador Young to Foreign Office. (Report on other subjects covered in conversation being pouched.)

On same subject AP carries brief report from Djakarta dated December 10 re Ambassador Allison’s call on Foreign Minister and states that Subandrio disclosed afterwards Ambassador offered US “mediation” to find solution to present impasse in Dutch-Indonesian relations.

Further on same subject, reftel suggests Presidential appeal to both Indonesians and Dutch to open discussions on all matters “in dispute”. We assume such appeal would cover issue of sovereignty over West New Guinea. Dutch position this point is unmistakably clear and has been reinforced, if that is possible, by their recent statements and actions. (See Drees’ statement to Oldenborgh, Embtel 1014;3 Star’s statements, Embtel 1031;4 Dutch position at NATO meeting, December 7;5 Drees’ letter to Djuanda, being cabled today.6)

It is clear here Dutch have no intention altering their position on New Guinea. Personally believe any Presidential appeal or any offer to mediate—unless specifically excluding issue of sovereignty over West New Guinea—would be taken by Netherlands Government as a most serious affront and a rejection by the US both of their entire position on this point (which is a fundamental matter of principle with them) as well as of their representations to US bilaterally and in NATO Council.7

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/12–1057. Secret. Repeated to Djakarta and Canberra.
  2. Document 316.
  3. Telegram 1014 from The Hague, December 7, reported Prime Minister Willem Drees’ statement to J. van Oldenborgh, chairman of an association of Dutch businessmen, that the internal Dutch political situation made a compromise solution on West Irian impossible. Van Oldenborgh had urged a compromise solution such as a U.N. trusteeship with Indonesia or Australia as administering power. (Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/12–757)
  4. Telegram 1031 from The Hague, December 9, reported a conversation with Netherlands Defense Minister Cornelis Staf, in which he “insisted that unless US took vigorous and effective action to help protect lives of individual Dutchmen now threatened in Indonesia moral content our policies would be incomprehensible to Dutch people including himself.” (Ibid., 656.56D13/12–957)
  5. Reported in Polto circular 19 from Paris, December 7, not printed. (Ibid., 656.56D13/12–757)
  6. Telegram 1046 from The Hague, December 10, transmitted Drees’message to Djuanda, released to the press that day by the Netherlands Government. The message requested the cooperation of the Indonesian Government in facilitating the departure from Indonesia of those Netherland citizens who wished to leave. (Ibid., 256D.5622/12–1057)
  7. Allison responded in telegram 1571 from Djakarta, December 12, as follows: “Suwito’s apparent report to Indonesian Embassy at The Hague indicated in reference telegram and Subandrio’s statement to press here after my talk reported my telegram 1518 to Department, 77 to The Hague, 47 to Canberra [Document 317], that I had offered US ‘mediation’ can only be interpreted as indicating strong Indonesian desire for such mediation. Press Officer Indonesian Foreign Office last night issued denial that I had offered mediation and implied that press had misunderstood Subandrio’s statement.” (Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D/12–1257)