Addison to Commonwealth Government

Cablegram D1939 LONDON, 17 October 1945, 11.35 a.m.


My telegram 11th October D No.1898. [1] Java.

Admiral Mountbatten recently discussed the situation in Java with General Christison, Admiral Patterson [2], Dr. van Mook, M. Van der Plas [3] and Admiral Helfrich and has reported as follows- (a) The existing Indonesian administration in Java is temporarily in a strong position (I) They hold some 100,000 Dutch prisoners of war and internees concentrated in camps in the interior whom they regard as valuable hostages.

(II) Administration of the country is in their hands.

(III) Indonesian forces are well armed with Japanese equipment.

(b) There is a most serious shortage of food and coal.

2. Complete agreement was reached by Admiral Mountbatten with the Netherlands representatives as to the immediate action to be taken, and as to further action to be recommended to the Government. The immediate action which Admiral Mountbatten intends to approve (within his existing directive) is (a) To accelerate the arrival of British troops.

(b) To authorise a meeting under British Military auspices at which Netherlands officers and Indonesian leaders would be invited. This meeting would be announced as one to negotiate various problems under the auspices of the United Nations.

(c) To occupy the areas of Buitenzorg and Bandoeng immediately.

3. Further action to which Admiral Mountbatten and Dr. van Mook agreed was that the latter should ask the Netherlands Government for authority to agree to a meeting of political leaders to discuss methods for implementing the Queen of the Netherlands declaration of December, 1942, (which did not reach the people at the time and has not been rebroadcast since. It will now be widely published in the Netherlands East Indies). Admiral Mountbatten recommended that General Christison (British Commander in Java) should attend this meeting, and should inform Indonesian leaders of the forces available to him should law and order not be maintained, and of his authority to use these forces. Pending the meeting, maximum use would be made of Indonesian officials now in Administrative Control; and Netherlands forces would be held back from initial contact with Indonesians and used only in areas already secured by British troops. Admiral Mountbatten has represented that the proposed action by General Christison is outside his (Admiral Mountbatten’s) present directive which would require amendment accordingly.

4. The success of the further action recommended in previous paragraphs depends, in Admiral Mountbatten’s opinion, upon the Netherlands Government authorising Dr. van Mook to secure the good will and co-operation of the Indonesian people.

5. General Christison has represented that if any further Netherlands troops are landed in Java, there would be a likelihood of civil war in which British Indian troops would become involved.

6. Mr. Dening (Political Advisor to SACSEA) considers that there are good reasons for including Soekarno in the negotiations referred to in paragraph 3 above, or if the Netherlands Government cannot be persuaded to do this, at any rate for not excluding him specifically if in the opinion of Netherlands officials on the spot it is necessary for him to be there.

7. The Viceroy of India [4] has informed Jawaharlal Nehru [5] in reply to a request for facilities to visit Java at the invitation of the President of the ‘Provisional Government of Indonesia’, that in the present conditions he cannot recommend that Nehru, or anyone else whose presence in Java is not absolutely essential, should be permitted to visit Java.

8. See my immediately following telegram. [6]


1 Document 306.

2 Rear Admiral Commanding, 5th Cruiser Squadron R.N.

3 Deputy Governor, N.E.I.

4 Lord Wavell.

5 Member, Working Committee, Indian National Congress.

6 Cablegram D1940, dispatched 17 October. It reported the visit of the Netherlands Ambassador to the Foreign Office on 14 October to communicate the views of the Netherlands Govt on proposals for further action, and his visit to the Prime Minister on 15 October.

It also reported that the Netherlands Govt had authorised Dr. van Mook to hold talks with Indonesian leaders provided that no talks took place with Sukarno; that the Queen’s 1942 proclamation was taken as a basis; and that General Christison was authorised to speak as recommended by Mountbatten. The U.K. Govt’s instruction, authorising Mountbatten to act as proposed in paragraph 3, was repeated in cablegram D1941, dispatched 17 October. Both cablegrams are on file AA : A1838/2, 402/8/1/1, i.


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