Hood to Department of External Affairs

Cablegram 348 LONDON, 27 October 1945, 12 midnight


Reference your 422 paragraph 2, INDONESIA. [1]

Have had various discussions on this matter over the past week or 10 days but without gaining any definite impression of the United Kingdom views. I doubt whether any settled views on the question exist at all as the people concerned have been giving all their time to the day to day situation. On this the line taken by Dening at his meeting with Soekarno and Hatta was previously approved in London and can be taken as representing the present United Kingdom attitude.

2. The implication of this is that opinion here contemplates (A) The restoration of Dutch sovereignty although this will have to be done gradually and may take considerable time.

(B) The working out in the meantime of some accommodation between the Dutch and the Indonesians which will give a fairly wide autonomy to the latter. There is no enthusiasm at all for the trusteeship idea, partly because of the difficult moments which arose in this connection during the five Power Conference.

3. The Foreign Office, however, is quite clear that the Dutch have somehow got to be made to appreciate realities better than they have done. As an example of this they sent over to Holland the other day a certain Colonel Van Der Post, a South African who was interned in Java from March 1942 until this month. [2] Van Der Post saw the Minister for the Colonies [3], the Foreign Minister and the Prime Minister [4] and. told them flatly that the Nationalists were virtually in control of the administration in Java and could not be got out without months of civil war. Van Der Post also said that it was a mistake to exclude Soekarno from the conversations, that they should give their men on the spot as free a hand as possible and that they should go slow in putting N.I.C.A. [5] personnel into Java. Van Der Post also met representatives of Bunes interests and former Government officials. These for the most part were of the ‘firm hand’ school but he seems to have made some impression on the Ministers.

4. When the Netherlands Ambassador called at the Foreign Office yesterday he was told that it was up to the Dutch to announce the steps which they were prepared to take to implement the broadcast of December 1942 [6] as the only way of removing the profound suspicion and distrust felt by the Nationalists. The Ambassador agreed with this.

5. Will continue to report as ideas become clearer here.


1 Document 329.

2 Laurens van de Post, Mountbatten’s Military-Political Officer after his release.

3 Professor J. H. A. Logemann.

4 Professor W. Schermerhorn.

5 Netherlands Indies Civil Administration.

6 i.e. of the speech by Queen Wilhelmina promising a degree of self government to Dutch overseas territories.


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