Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1898 LONDON, 11 October 1945, 10.30 p.m.


My telegram D.1893 10th October. [2] Java.

The Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs has again discussed the situation in the Netherlands East Indies with the Foreign Secretary. The Netherlands Minister for Overseas Territories [3] and the Netherlands Ambassador were also present.

2. Mr. Van Kleffens said that Dr. Van Mook had reported to the Netherlands Government that owing to the collapse of all authority the lives of 30,000 prisoners of war and civilian internees in Java must now be considered as in immediate danger. The forces of disorder were entirely out of control, even of Dr. Soekarno and his so called Government and lawlessness would develop at an increasing rate if firm measures were not immediately taken. In the view of the Netherlands Government this situation was due mainly to the utterly inadequate number of British troops and to restrictive instructions issued to the British Commander. Mr. Van Kleffens handed the Foreign Secretary a memorandum in which the Netherlands Government urge us to increase substantially as soon as possible the number of British troops in Java and to authorise the Force Commander in concert with Dr. Van Mook to take these progressive steps which the exigencies of the situation demanded.

3. The Foreign Secretary said that our information which differed somewhat from that given by Mr. Van Kleffens was that while the independence Movement was in part made up of extremists it included moderate elements who were generally not satisfied that the Netherlands Government were proposing to implement the Queen’s Declaration of 1942 or that the Dutch, if they returned to Java now, had any intention of liberalising their pre-war policy. Mr.

Bevin suggested that Admiral Mountbatten’s already difficult task might be simplified if the Netherlands Government sent a representative to Batavia to examine the situation on the spot.

4. Both Netherlands Ministers expressed the view that the despatch of another representative could only have the effect of undermining the position of Dr. Van Mook who had now been authorised (please see my immediately following telegram [4]) to indicate to such Indonesian elements as might be prepared to co- operate the main lines of reforms which the Netherlands Government were prepared to introduce into the Netherlands East Indies but not to have any dealing with Dr. Soekarno and his fellow extremists. But the value of such action would be wasted if meanwhile extremist elements were permitted to carry out their policy of complete lawlessness and the authority now given to Dr.

Van Mook was inseparably bound up with the rapid build up of authority in Java by the urgent despatch of further troops there.

5. Mr. Bevin said that the question was, in his view, primarily one of timing and that it was important during the first stage that moderate elements should be convinced that the Netherlands Government really meant business. Public formulation of detailed proposals might be left till later.

6. Mr. Van Kleffens and his colleagues seemed ready to agree in principle to the issue of a public statement on the lines of Dr.

Van Mook’s talking points (which Mr. Van Kleffens emphasized were not now concessions but merely a classification of the Queen’s 1942 Declaration) provided that the statement did not have the appearance of a concession to violence. It was suggested that Dr.

Van Mook should work out with Admiral Mountbatten the terms in which any public statement might usefully be made.

7. The Minister for Overseas Territories expressed the view that there were probably not more than 30,000 armed Indonesians, that the peak of organised resistance in Java had probably already been reached and that possibly only 20,000 troops were required to maintain law and order and to patrol the main lines of communication.

8. Mr. Bevin undertook to inform his colleagues of the views which the Netherlands Minister had expressed.


1 Corrected according to AA : A3642, vol. 24, I.32526/43.

2 Document 302.

3 Professor J. H. A. Logemann.

4 Cablegram D1899, dispatched 11 October. On file AA : A1838/2, 403/2/1/1.


[AA : A1838/2, 402/8/1/1, i]