Politik Sovjet terhadap Indonesia (1945-1951): kerjasama Alimin-Soekarno , Perpecahan , kembalinya Musso dan Bingungnya Sovjet

ORIGINAL: Soviet Policy in the Far East, 1944-1951

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When the Republic of Indonesia was proclaimed on 17 August 1945 the Indonesian Communist Party ( Partai Kommunis Indonesia, PKI) was weak. Since the unsuccessful rising in Java in 1926-7 it had been outlawed and weakened by the secession of Tan Malakka, an able leader trained in Russia holding radical ‘Trotskyite’ views. After the war, Tan Malakka’s movement was more influential than the PKI, but it opposed any understanding with the Dutch and plotted against the republican Government which finally arrested its chief leaders in 1947. The PKI by contrast at first fully supported the Government. Early in 1946 it was reorganized by its leaders who had returned from abroad, notably by the Russian-trained Alimin. Leadership was assumed by Sardjono who after years of imprisonment had been removed to Australia while the Japanese attacked.2 While the PKI was consolidating its membership, organizing indoctrination centres at Madiun and later at Jogjakarta and establishing military formations, Alimin was in favour of an understanding with the Dutch, deeming it not only necessary for the preservation of the Republic from complete destruction, but also for securing the ‘breathing space’ necessary for the organization of the revolutionary movement.3 According to some reports, Alimin was instrumental in persuading President Sukarno to appoint an additional 180 left-wing members to the House of Representatives in order to press through Parliament the Linggadjati Agreement reached with the Netherlands on 15 November 1946, which provided for the establishment of a Dutch-Indonesian Union. The Communist, Socialist, and Workers’ Parties each had 35 members. Alimin became a member of the Central Committee of the House of Representatives and was in a position to bestow favours on the left-wing guerrilla bands and to facilitate Communist infiltration of the administration, the army, and the police force. In November 1945 he formed a united front of six leftist organizations under the name of Sajap Kiri (the Left Wing).

1See A. A. Guber, “The Indonesian People in the Struggle for Independence”, in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema.
2ibid. p. 151.
3 “De PKI, de Stem van Moskou”, Internationale Spectator (The Hague), 30 May 1951; L. G. M. Jaquet, “Tan Malakka’s National Communism”, ibid. no. 5, 7 March 1951.

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The Linggadjati Agreement was finally signed on 25 March 1947, but by May the Sajap Kiri began openly to oppose the concessions granted to the Dutch. The moderate Sjahrir Cabinet, faced both with right-wing and with Communist opposition, was forced to resign at the end of June, and was replaced on 3 July by a Cabinet ted by Sjarifuddin, who at the time was leader of the left wing of the Socialist Party, founded in December 1945, despite his having been a member of the Communist Party since before the war. His Cabinet of thirtyfive included fourteen members of the Sajap Kiri.1

Serious military reverses during the Dutch ‘police action’, which started on 20 July 1947, economic difficulties resulting from the Dutch blockade of the Republic, and right-wing opposition were instrumental in causing the fall of the Sjarifuddin Cabinet in January 1948. This happened a week after the signing on 17 January, under the auspices of the United Nations, of the Renville Agreement, which provided for a cease-fire, and established the principles of a political settlement. Sjarifuddin’s successor, Mohammed Hatta, invited the Sajap Kiri to participate in his Cabinet, but with a reduced representation, and the offer was declined.2 The Communists now sought broad popular support. They already dominated the important trade union federation, SOBSI ( Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia) which became affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions after its Congress in May 1947.3 After Sjarifuddin’s fall, they reorganized the Sajap Kiri on a broader basis into the ‘ People’s Democratic Front’. In March 1948 the rightwing parties formed, in opposition, a ‘National Front’, but later they endeavoured to re-establish unity with the forces of the Left. Negotiations were apparently successful since on 27 May

1 Internationale Spectator, 30 May 1951. One Communist at least was included though not as such. See also Guber in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema, p. 162.
2In November 1950 the Communists themselves analysed this move as a major blunder since it left the State power in the hands of the bourgeoisie which could use it to subdue the radicals (ibid.). Possibly already at this stage the PKI conceived a plan for revolutionary action (see G. McT. Cabin, “The Crisis and its Aftermath”, FES, 17 November 1948, vol. 17, p. 264; and V. Thompson and R. Adloff, “The Communist Revolt in Java”, ibid. p. 259).
3 Guber in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema, p. 153. It was represented at the WFTU by Setiadjid, a Communist who had taken part in the Resistance in Holland during the war, had founded the Workers’ Party in Indonesia at the end of 1945, and became Vice-Premier in Sjarifuddin’s Cabinet.


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limin declared that he would re-enter the Cabinet. On the same day, however, agreement was finally frustrated by the news received from Prague that the Indonesian representative there, the Communist Soeripno, had concluded an agreement with the USSR for the exchange of consular representatives, which was contrary to the Renville Agreement and was strenuously opposed by the right-wing parties.1

These developments received considerable attention in the Soviet press, which had traditionally given more prominence to Indonesia than other parts of South East Asia. Soviet commentators noted that the Communists in Indonesia were not very influential, and described the nationalist movement as broadly popular, supported not only by socialists but also by peasants. They had some reservations about Sukarno’s ‘pettybourgeois outlook’ and his opposition to violence, but they expressed approval of Hatta. They also applauded the Republic’s economic plans and excused its neglect of genuine agrarian reform on the grounds that it had had no breathing space.2

On the international scene, the Russians assumed the role of champions of Indonesian nationalism. Immediately after the landing of the British troops in Indonesia at the end of the war, they accused the British of forcibly suppressing the Indonesians with the assistance of Japanese. They ascribed British intervention to two motives: fear of the repercussions of Indonesian nationalism in British possessions, and the desire to preserve British investments in Indonesia. They maintained that only when confronted with determined Indonesian opposition did the British decide in favour of a compromise solution which would retain a modified Dutch rule with the support of the moderate elements among the Indonesians.3 In January 1946 the Ukrainian Republic lodged a formal complaint with the Security Council peace and security. The complaint was, however, rejected.4

1 Thompson and Adloff, Left Wing in South East Asia, p. 182.
2V. Vasilyeva, “The Fight for the Democratic Development of the Indonesian Republic”, Voprosy Istorii, no. 1, 1948; ‘ “Indonesia’s Ten-Year Plan of Reconstruction”, New Times, 6 June 1947, p. 20.
3 Guber in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema, pp. 158-9; I. Kopylov, “The Events in Indonesia”, New Times, 1 October 1946, pp. 11-12; Pravda, 7 August and 28 September 1946.
4 Yearbook of the United Nations, 1946-47 ( New York, United Nations, 1947), pp.

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The Russian press questioned the good faith of the Dutch and commented on the Linggadjati Agreement as the outcome of ‘a policy of concessions forced upon the Dutch imperialists who, however, intend to give these concessions a purely formal character and to preserve the essential colonial dependence and imperialist exploitation of Indonesia’. They maintained that the Dutch had endeavoured to ‘strangle’ the Republic by armed action and by naval blockade, and that they had ratified the agreement only after these means had failed.1

From May 1947 attacks against the United States in connexion with Indonesia began to appear in the Soviet press. They ascribed American interest in Indonesia to economic motives– to the favourable field for capital investment and to the already enlarged hold of the American ‘monopoly capital’ on all the basic branches of Indonesian economy, which, one commentator stated, had reduced the Dutch to ‘mere sales clerks’. The Russians maintained that the Security Council was acting as an instrument of Dutch, or rather American policy, and they strenuously opposed the establishment of the ‘Committee of Good Offices’. A Soviet reporter went so far as to call it the ‘Evil Offices Committee’, and accused its American member of having caused the downfall of Sjarifuddin’s Cabinet through ‘back-stage machinations’ and intrigue with the right-wing groups.2 Soviet criticism of the Renville Agreement of January 1948 was equally strong.3

The Russians declared themselves to be fully in favour of establishing consular relations with the Indonesian Republic, deeming them desirable ‘from the point of view of normal politics and common sense, from the point of view of the strengthening of peace and international co-operation.’ They accused the Dutch of employing fictitious arguments against their permitting them.4

Although the Soviet press represented the democratic

338-40. British troops were finally withdrawn on 30 November 1946. See “Nationalism in Indonesia”, The World Today, February 1948, vol. 4, p. 56.
1See Guber in Pravda, 13 January 1947; “Holland’s Agreement with Indonesia”, New Times, 4 April 1947, pp. 25-26.
2 G. Afrin, “In Indonesia”, New Times, 3 November 1948, pp. 27-32.
3 “The Indonesian Question in the Security Council”, New Times, 10 March 1948, pp. 1-2; Guber in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema, pp. 167-71.
4 Yavorov in Pravda, 8 June 1948.


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elements’ in the Netherlands as being strongly opposed to the Indonesian war,1 the Dutch Communist Party was itself distinctly weak, and supported the Dutch Catholic-Labour Coalition, which was in power from mid-1946. The Indonesian cause met with considerable sympathy among the non-Communist nations, particularly India, the United States, and Australia, but the only Communist-sponsored support from abroad came from the Communist-dominated Australian dock workers who refused to load ships with supplies for the Dutch.

Further developments were precipitated by the return to Indonesia on 12 August 1948, along with Soeripno, of the Moscow-trained Communist leader, Muso, who immediately took charge of the Communist movement. The Politburo of the PKI acknowledged its past mistakes and violently attacked the agreements with the Netherlands; Sjarifuddin dramatically announced at the end of August that he had been a Communist since 1935, and, using his experience gained as a previous Minister of Defence, assumed command of the military affairs of the PKI. Muso declared himself against further compromise with the Government and violently attacked Sukarno and Hatta. An agreement was reached in September for the fusion of the Communist, Socialist, and Workers’ parties.2 When the right-wing parties declined the ‘invitation’ to join the National Anti-Imperialist Front, the Communist leaders left for Madiun, in eastern Java, There, on 18 September, they staged a coup and seized the city, but found little popular response. Using its loyal troops and the support of Tan Malakka, who was released from prison, the Government was able to subdue the insurrection without availing itself of the proffered Dutch assistance, By the end of the month Madiun was reoccupied, and Muso killed, while Sjarifuddin and other leaders, with between 30,000 and 35,000 followers, were taken prisoner. The leaders, including Sjarifuddin, were executed and, although the rank and file were later released, the PKI remained disorganized while Tan Malakka’s followers, organized in Partai Murba, became an important political element.

Soviet reaction to the Madiun coup was extremely hesitant.

1 Pravda, 13 January, and Trud, 13 June 1947.
2 Guber in Krisis Kolonialni Sistema, p. 173. Muso is not mentioned in Guber’s account, just as little prominence is given earlier to the role of Alimin.

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On 22 August Pravda published a short communiquIé based on Dutch sources and declared that the information available was insufficient for a clear understanding of the situation. On 24 August Pravda was still non-committal, although it spoke unfavourably of Hatta’s actions. On the following day Pravda went so far as to style the insurgent authorities ‘the new Government at Madiun’. When, however, the failure of the insurrection became certain, reports ceased to appear. Subsequent interpretation of the coup was inconsistent. In October 1948 it was described as the expression of popular sentiments favouring real independence, and opposing ‘the policy of making deals with colonizers, pursued by the Hatta Government’. Early in 1949, however, the Communist press affirmed that the coup had been provoked by Hatta on American instigation, ‘with the purpose of beheading the progressive movement and crushing the democratic organizations, especially the trade unions.’ It described the period of co-operation between the PKI and the nationalists as faulty tactics, and stated that the Communists would ‘wage the liberation struggle to a victorious end’.1

The Madiun coup was followed by the second Dutch ‘police action’ in December 1948. Within a week the major centres of the Republican territory were occupied and the Republican leaders were imprisoned. While the Security Council was discussing the issue, the Dutch were endeavouring to reach an understanding with the imprisoned Indonesian leaders. The Russians maintained their critical attitude to the Security Council’s activities, and continued to accuse the Council of yielding to American influence. The Soviet representative refrained from voting on the Dutch proposal for a Dutch- Indonesian Round Table Conference, which was voted upon and accepted on 13 March 1949.2

The Republican leaders did not enjoy Soviet approval, even during the initial period of their imprisonment when they were rejecting the Dutch overtures. And the Russians regarded their later willingness to negotiate as conclusive proof of their subservience, and attacked the Round Table Agreement of November 1949 which established an independent United States

1 Pieter de Groot, National Liberation Movement in Indonesia, For a Lasting Peace, 14 February 1949.

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of Indonesia within the Dutch-Indonesian Union. They affirmed that the negotiators had acted in bad faith, since Hatta was not really representative of the Indonesian people. The Dutch were striving in their view to preserve the colonial régime behind a ‘smokescreen’ of freedom and equality, while in the background the Americans were pushing their claims to the dismay of their Dutch and British competitors. Accordingly, when the Round Table Agreement came before the Security Council, the Ukrainian delegate roundly denounced it. The PKI was equally emphatic in its rejection. But the transfer of sovereignty took place on 27 December 1949.1

At the beginning of 1950 the Soviet attitude to Hatta became somewhat less critical. Although on 18 January Izvestia again accused him of collaboration with the Dutch, the attack was couched in milder terms. At the end of the month the USSR accorded the Republic diplomatic recognition which Hatta immediately acknowledged, requesting at the same time that diplomatic relations should be established. The Indonesian Minister of Information announced that any ideology would be permitted in Indonesia, provided that its adherents did not disturb the peace. He thus clearly indicated the possibility of removing the legal ban on the Communist Party which still remained on the statute book from the period of Dutch rule before the war, although it was not enforced. During February the Indonesian request for the establishment of diplomatic relations received a reply from Vyshinsky, who suggested that either an Indonesian delegation should visit the USSR or that a Soviet delegation visit Indonesia. Negotiations proceeded very slowly, and in March the Soviet press repeatedly attacked the Republican Government and accused the United States of attempting to ‘undermine’ Indonesian relations with the USSR. In May an Indonesian delegation visited Moscow, and on 5 August Hatta announced that the Republic would soon appoint an Ambassador to the USSR.2

However, further violent attacks on Hatta soon appeared in the Soviet press in connexion with the conversion of the United States of Indonesia into a unitary State on 14 August 1950. While the Russians had rejected the previous federal solution as

1UN, Security Council, 455th meeting, 12 December 1949.
2 The Times, 6 February 1950; NYT, 5 August.


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being the result, in the main, of an Anglo-Dutch intrigue, they represented the new unification of the Republic as the outcome of American scheming. Subsequent Soviet comments on Indonesia reflected the belief that American influence on Hatta had become paramount both in the economic and in the political spheres. The Soviet press reported that the Americans had made plans for the establishment of military bases in Indonesia, and explained the controversy between the Dutch and the Indonesians over western New Guinea by United States pressure to retain that island under joint Dutch-Australian administration, as a link in the chain of American bases in the Pacific.1 By December 1951 no exchange of diplomatic representatives had taken place.2 Neither side explained the delay, but the Soviet attacks on the Indonesian Government indicate that the Russians were to blame.

Meanwhile, the PKI was being reorganized. The rank and file, taken prisoner during the Madiun coup, were released in the autumn of 1948 in order to take part in the guerrilla warfare against the Dutch, and the Communist Party was tolerated, although it was not legalized. Largely as a result of the coup, the trade union federation SOBSI split into three groups, but was reorganized early in 1951 and again claimed a large membership.

The PKI endeavoured to establish a ‘United Front’ with the Partai Murba. After long negotiations, on 30 March 1951 the two parties agreed on a common programme both on internal and on foreign affairs; but the ‘United Front’ did not materialize since no agreement was reached on the problem of leadership. From February 1951 the Partai Murba controlled a separate trade union federation.3

From its inception, the Indonesian Republic had to contend with internal opposition from Communists, right-wing extremists, former guerrillas, and some local communities. In mid-1951 disorders in which Communists participated became more serious in Java and Sumatra, and in August the Govern

1 Pravda, 17 and 21 November 1950; Izvestia, 2 February 1951.
2Orally confirmed by the Information Department of the Indonesian Embassy in London on 8 December 1951. Indonesia exchanged representatives with the Chinese People’s Republic; and the first Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia presented his credentials on 14 August 1350.
3For a general discussion of the PKI of this period see “De PKI, de Stem van Moskou”, Internationale Spectator, 30 May 1951, pp. 1-5, and 11 July 1951, pp. 1-6.

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ment retaliated by a security drive which involved the arrest of about 100 Communist suspects, including sixteen left-wing members of Parliament.1

The Russians commented severely on these developments. On 29 August 1951, the sixth anniversary of the proclamation of Indonesia’s independence, the New Times complained that the slogans of ‘freedom’ prominently displayed during the anniversary were contradicted by the simultaneous police raids and arrests. It maintained that the disorders had been provoked by the Government, which was seeking an excuse for the repression of the democratic movements. On 27 August Pravda printed a Tass dispatch from The Hague which contended that the arrests in Java and Sumatra alone had amounted to 1,500, including many non-Communists, and that the Dutch right-wing press did not disguise the fact that the mass arrests had obviously been ordered by the United States.


Kisah Pelarian Alimin /JUNGLE EXILES RETURN

For twenty years, several hundred Indonesian rebels lived as political exiles in thewilderness of southeastern New Guinea. Surrounded by jungle and swamps, they built thesettlement of Tanamerah in the upper region of the crocodile-infested Digoel River. Theupper Digoel is more escape-proof than Alcatraz. To fight your way from hilly Tanamerahto the New Guinea coast, you’d have to cross through miles and miles of head-hunterterritory. Even the most determined rebel preferred Boven Digoel to the certain death thatwould follow escape.

The Communists in Tanamerah, exiled after the bloody rebellion in Java and Sumatra in1926, listened daily to the short-wave broadcasts of the powerful Moscow radio. They wereable to obtain books and magazines; they had the company of their wives and children.On occasion, they could even see a motion picture. But it was not freedom. Headhuntersare just as effective barriers as prison bars, and you can’t saw your way through acrocodile.

Indonesia’s Communists kept their faith in Moscow. And when, after the Nazi attack onRussia and the Japanese assault on Pearl Harbor, the troops of Nippon landed onIndonesian soil, the Communists were eager to help oust the totalitarian invaders. One oftheir leaders, Sardjano, told them that Indonesia would have to be freed from Japaneserule before the fight against control by the Netherlands could be continued.

And then, one day, an Allied plane made a daring landing just outside Tanamerah.Charles O. Vanderplas, Netherlands member of the Allied Political Warfare Council, hadcome all the way from General MacArthur’s Headquarters at Canberra, Australia. Hetalked to Sardjano and the other exiled Communists. It was a difficult task. He wantedtheir help against the Japanese. And he had a great prize to offer: freedom. Vanderplasknew what he was doing. Japan was propagandizing the people of the Indonesian islands,trying to convert them to the doctrine of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere. Ifthey were successful in gaining the genuine collaboration of the native population, fewJapanese

troops would be needed to hold the island, and the assault on Australia could beundertaken.

The Allies needed help. They needed espionage agents, men who were daring enough tooperate clandestine radio stations or to distribute anti- Japanese leaflets. A nucleus ofmilitant underground workers was essential to the dual flow of information fromIndonesia and of Allied propaganda into the islands. American seaplanes ferried dazedCommunists out of their jungle prison. For several years, Indonesian Communists foughtalongside the Allied powers, including the Netherlands. But, as soon as Japan’s surrenderwas assured, they joined in the battle of Indonesian nationalists against continuingNetherlands control.

At the turn of the century, after three centuries of colonial rule by the Kingdom of theNetherlands, the spark of independence had been struck. But not until the 1920’s didnationalist thought turn into open, fierce, and bloody rebellion. The Communist Party wasfounded in 1919 and immediately sought “Soviet power.” Alimin Prawirodirdjo, one of itsleaders, visited Moscow in 1921. For a brief period, he opposed the Comintern policy of a”united front.” In August, 1924, he left the party, but he rejoined it when the nationalists ofIndonesia rose against the Dutch.

In 1924, the Communist Party in Indonesia adopted the slogan of “work and agitationamong the working class through the trade unions.” A year later, under Sardjano’sleadership, the Communists were able to claim that 70 per cent of the trade-unionmembers were under their influence. One outstanding Communist leader was TanMalakka, who represented the Communists in the Moslem society Sarekat Raya. OnMarch 25, 1925, the Communist International reported that “other nationalistorganizations are progressing, that is, they are being revolutionized and their membershipis growing, although not as rapidly as our party and the Sarekat Raya, which is underCommunist influence.”

A year later, nationalist agitation bore fruit. Netherlands authorities managed only withdifficulty to extinguish the flame of rebellion. From then on, and until the surrender ofJapan in 1945, the Communist Party was banned. The Dutch had known that an uprisingwas coming. On the eve of the 1926 rebellion, they ordered the arrest of Alimin, who hadthen made his peace with the Comintern. Alimin went underground. He arrived inSingapore by way of Palembang when the uprising began. Arrested and questioned byBritish authorities at Singapore, he nevertheless managed to escape.

Alimin made his way to China. After a difficult and daring journey, he arrived atKwantung, where he helped to prepare the Pacific Labor Conference of the Red LaborInternational. After Chiang Kai-shek’s break with the Communists, Alimin had to fleeagain. He stepped on Soviet soil from a boat that docked at Vladivostok, in time torepresent the Indonesian Communists at the Fourth Comintern Congres in 1928. TheIndonesian Communist paper, Bintang Merah, stated late in 1946 that Alimin was amongthe prominent attendants of the International Lenin School at Moscow. Quoted by thepaper, Alimin said that he had shared these instructions in Marxist theories andCommunist underground techniques with other leading Communists. He specifically, andin this order, mentioned Chou En-lai of China, Harry Pollitt of Great Britain, L. L. Sharkeyof Australia, Susumu Okano (alias Sanzo Nozaka) of Japan, Ernst Thälmann of Germany,and Maurice Thorez of France.

Like most other members of the Lenin School’s class of 1929, Alimin reached the peak ofhis career after World War II, when he was able to return to his homeland. But, beforethat, he widened his knowledge and ability as a professional revolutionary by visits toParis, Brussels, Berlin, London, and the Near East. In the company of many other AsiaticCommunist leaders, Alimin spent the war years in China. Although he stayed mostly inYenan, it was in Kuomintang-controlled Chungking that he heard the news of the creationof the Indonesian Republic. Alimin was grateful to the Chungking bureau of the UnitedStates Information Service (a branch of the Office of War Information), which transmittedthe startling report. He was thrilled, Alimin said later, when on August 7, 1945, at 9 P.M.,he heard that Indonesia was the first Asiatic nation to declare its independence. His firstreaction was surprise. This feeling was shared by the Chinese Communist Chou En-lai,whom Alimin quoted as saying that collaboration of Indonesian nationalists with theJapanese had been “clearly a tactical matter.”

Meanwhile, Sardjano had been able to rebuild the machinery of Indonesia’s CommunistParty. As an Allied underground agent, he was able to reestablish old contacts and tocreate new ones. He was successful, particularly in the Federation of Trade Unions (whichclaims 750,000 members), but he encountered rivalry from other Indonesians whoclaimed to follow the banner of Marx and Lenin. Prominent among them was TanMalakka, once an Oriental pillar of the Comintern, but now dubbed “Trotskyite” by hisformer comrades. Another ex-Communist,

Mohammed Hatta, obtained a cabinet post in the government of President AchmedSoekarno, the fiery ex-collaborator, and the Socialist-minded, clearly and cleanlyanticollaborationist, Premier Sutan Sjahrir.

For fourteen months, the troops of the young Indonesian Republic fought British andDutch troops. Finally, on November 15, 1946, the Netherlands and the IndonesianRepublic agreed on a compromise. Recognizing the Republic’s authority over Java,Madura, and Sumatra (about 86 per cent of Indonesia), the agreement foresaw “rapidformation of a democratic state on a federal basis, to be called the United States ofIndonesia.” In the end, the compromise stated, there would be a “Netherlands-IndonesianUnion,” under an over-all loyalty to the Netherlands royal house.

In the Netherlands itself, the agreement was opposed by the conservative parties,approved by the dominant Labor Party, and hailed by the Communists. According to theAmsterdam Communist daily De Waarheid, of January 16, 1947, Alimin “duly recognizedthe influence which Great Britain and the United States have had on the decision, and theparty realizes that under the prevailing circumstances no better arrangement could havebeen devised.” But, in Indonesia itself, some people looked upon Sardjano, Alimin, andSoekarno as traitors. Tan Malakka was one of them, and he exerted influence on theutmost outer fringes of Indonesian revolutionism. There were even allegations that TanMalakka had a hand in a brief kidnaping of Sjahrir, in June, 1946.

The Communist Party, with Sardjano as chairman and Alimin as secretary-general,pledged its cooperation to the Republic’s government. The Communists had a long anddifficult road ahead of them. Their thunder had been stolen by the inspired oratory ofSoekarno. Followers and potential followers, many of whom had difficulty distinguishingbetween Stalinism and Trotskyism (or between socialism, as represented by Sjahrir, andcommunism of the Moscow school), were slow and vacillating in their support. Yes, the so-called National Concentration of Revolutionary Nationalists, which had been founded inMay, 1946, was a coalition of various parties, including Communists. But it was not aCommunist-led combination. The Netherlands military attack on nationalist-held areas,which began in July, 1947, did not alter the Communist position. The cabinet whichSjahrir formed on July.3 contained one Communist member. The Dutch Parliamentdefeated a Communist motion denouncing the use of force in Indonesia by a vote of 79 to9.

Indonesia’s Communist Party must bide its time, organize and agitate, indoctrinate andpropagandize, if it wants to gain power. Compared with the youthful Soekarno andSjahrir, Sardjano and Alimin looked to the adolescent activists of the young Republic likewashed-up old-timers. But the Republic government must show its administrative ability.Once warfare in Indonesia ends for good, it will have to govern, and govern well. If it runsinto serious economic or domestic political trouble, according to the postwar patternnoticeable elsewhere in the south Pacific, the Communist Party of Indonesia might well getits second wind.

Dr. Sutomo, the Indonesian Study Club and Organised Labour in Late Colonial Surabaya

Sutomo, the Indonesian Study Club and Organised Labour in Late Colonial Surabaya

Ingleson, John, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies
Labour history of colonial Indonesia after the destruction of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) and its affiliated unions in 1926 has received little attention from historians. The accepted convention is that, after 1926 there was little or no labour union activity in the colony, or at least little of any consequence. (1) This period was certainly less dramatic than the years immediately after the First World War when strikes, demonstrations and political protest were commonplace. After 1926, repressive government policies and closer cooperation between government and employers severely restricted the space for organised labour. However this was far from the end of efforts to organise urban workers. Those who wanted to create a viable labour movement were forced to work within this restricted space and to develop less confrontationist strategies. (2)

The focus here is on the efforts of people associated with the Indonesian Study Club in Surabaya, the major port city of East Java, to organise private sector workers in Surabaya and surrounding towns after 1926. The Indonesian Study Club sought to develop enduring linkages with Surabaya workers through a strategy of engagement with the twin worlds of the neighbourhood (kampung) and the workplace. Its core constituency was the long-term residents of the kampung, though its social and economic work did not ignore the transient workers who made up a significant part of the urban workforce. The long-term Surabaya residents were people with differing levels of skill, education and status in the workplaces and different levels of wealth and influence in the kampung. In their own eyes they were what Frederick has called ‘arek Surabaya’, the real Surabayans, the city people.

The creation of labour unions was part of a broader strategy to create enduring linkages between the western-educated elite and Surabaya workers. It emphasised meeting the immediate needs of workers and providing educational and broad industrial support to them in their dealings with employers. It insisted that the labour movement should be separate from the political movement. It stressed the importance of providing social security for workers–sickness funds, death benefit funds, savings funds, insurance funds, cooperatives, legal support and the like both as a way of improving workers’ lives and as a way of motivating them to join unions. This provision of a measure of social security complemented and intermeshed with the Indonesian Study Club’s broader social and economic activities in Surabaya, which included the establishment of a national bank, the creation of poor and unemployment relief agencies, and the provision of worker education through courses, literacy programmes, libraries, pamphlets and newspapers. (3)


Surabaya was colonial Indonesia’s industrial city and, at least until the Depression, one of Asia’s major commercial cities. (4) Focused around the naval base, the railways and the sugar industry, Surabaya was home to engineering companies, small metal manufacturing factories, shipyards and railway workshops as well as to the service companies dependent on them. There was a greater proportion of workers employed by private companies than in the other major cities of Batavia, Bandung, Semarang and Yogyakarta. Surabaya was the great prize and the great challenge for labour union leaders trying to organise workers in the private sector. Workers were difficult to organise because they were scattered among a large number of companies and divided by ethnicity, race and status. (5) Most were illiterate, or barely literate, making access through the written word difficult.

Surabaya was a major site for labour unrest in the early 1920s, culminating in the last four months of 1925 in extensive strikes in the engineering companies. Employers joined forces to resist workers’ demands and crush the strikes. Many workers lost their jobs, others were demoted or, if re-employed, denied conditions and pensions accumulated over many years. (6) In the process, labour unions were greatly weakened. The bans in late 1925 on the railway workers’ union (VSTP), the single largest union in Surabaya, and the steadily increasing pressure on the PKI, culminating in the arrest of hundreds of PKI and labour union leaders in November 1926 after its abortive ‘rebellion’, brought Surabaya workers’ involvement in labour unions to a standstill.

Members of the Indonesian Study Club kept a careful eye on the Surabaya political and industrial landscape in the mid-1920s. Founded on 11 July 1924, its prime mover was Sutomo, a Surabaya doctor and teacher at the local medical school, who while in Amsterdam between 1919 and 1923, had been a member of the Indonesian students’ organisation, Perhimpunan Indonesia. (7) Members were in the main Dutch-educated, either independent professionals, such as doctors, lawyers or journalists, or employees of government organisations. Many were Netherlands-educated and like Sutomo, former members of Perhimpunan Indonesia. Some had been members of Budi Utomo before they went to the Netherlands but on their return to Indonesia found it too conservative. For them, it was the role of the new generation of western-educated intellectuals rather than the old generation of aristocrats, to regenerate society and bring progress and prosperity to the people. (8)

The emblem of the Indonesian Study Club, emblazoned on its letterhead and its publications, consisted of one hand holding a sickle and a rice plant and the other holding a pen. It symbolised the masses and the intellectuals working hand in hand with each other and the responsibilities of the educated towards workers and peasants. (9) Its colours were red and green–for example, in conference stationery or the flag flying from leaders’ cars on propaganda tours. Red was the colour of nationalism, and green, the colour of Islam. This symbolised an organisation committed to the idea of Indonesia and open to all people irrespective of political or religious convictions. Members were free to join political parties of their choice.

The Indonesian Study Club was the first of the study clubs that sprang up in the major cities of Java between 1924 and 1926. The other large one was the General Study Club in Bandung, West Java, founded in November 1925 by Netherlands-educated young men who had been members of Perhimpunan Indonesia together with prominent Bandung nationalists and students at the Bandung Technical High School. The study clubs were major centres for political debate at an exciting time in the development of Indonesian nationalism. The apparent strength of the Indonesian Communist Party and its ideological conflicts with Sarekat Islam, the major Islamic nationalist party, the strike waves of 1925 and 1926, and the increasingly repressive response of the colonial government was the context in which a new generation of young Indonesians debated their political future. The focus of all the study clubs was anti-colonial politics. They engaged in educational activities such as lectures and courses and both the Surabaya and Bandung Clubs published magazines debating the issues of the day in the context not just of Indonesia but also of the broader anticolonial struggles in Asia. The significant difference between the Indonesian Study Club in Surabaya and the General Study Club in Bandung was that the Indonesian Study Club focused as much on social and economic issues as on politics, arguing that these were vitally important for the creation of a modern, independent Indonesian nation.

The Indonesian Study Club was proudly Surabayan and its members saw Surabaya as the natural centre for nationalist politics. They had a strong sense of independence and of Surabaya not just being the major industrial city but being more advanced than elsewhere. They were wary of the growing importance of Batavia and Bandung in the broader nationalist movement and determined not to be subservient to political and labour leaders in these cities. There were many reasons for the divisions within the Indonesian nationalist movement–ideology, religion and ethnicity being the three most important–but regional tensions should not be overlooked. There was strong inter-city rivalry between the leadership groups in Bandung, Batavia, Semarang, Yogyakarta and Surabaya, which limited sustained cooperative endeavour, either on the political or the labour union front, throughout the colonial period.

Sutomo was the major intellectual influence in the Indonesian Study Club. He shared the world view of the new western-educated intellectual class that emerged in Indonesia in growing numbers from the 1910s. (10) The son of a minor government official, he had a strong sense of obligation to those less well placed than himself. (11) Sutomo’s work in the Indonesian Study Club and its affiliated organisations reveal a man with a strong sense of moral purpose, committed to practical ways of improving the lives of those less fortunate than himself, willing to put time and energy into worthwhile projects and with the intellectual and organisational skills as well as the personal and professional networks to be able to tap into government and private funding. His social and political base was Surabaya, and in the 1930s he was a widely known and respected political figure in East Java generally. The Surabaya/East Java base was, however, an obstacle to his aspirations for a broader role in the Indonesian nationalist movement after the destruction of the PKI as the centre of political action moved to Batavia and Bandung.

The Indonesian Study Club was not a large organisation. It probably never had more than 150 members. (12) However, its influence was far greater than its membership figures might suggest, because so many of its members were active within a myriad of political parties, labour unions and social and economic organisations in late colonial Surabaya. The nationalist world of Surabaya was small, with interconnected leaderships. Activists knew each other well and whatever their political, ideological and religious differences could hardly avoid frequent contact with each other. The Indonesian Study Club was the major forum in the city for Dutch-speaking intellectuals. Its buildings–in 1931, it moved from its original headquarters to a large building known as the Gedung Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Building) –were the major venues for Surabaya organisations, ranging from political parties to religious groups, cooperatives and self-help groups. There was a sharp edge to the relationship between the Study Club and the major Islamic political party, Partai Sarekat Islam (PSI), but relationships with the Surabaya branch of the Partai Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian Nationalist Party–PNI), and after 1931, the Partai Indonesia (Partindo) and the Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia (Indonesian National Education–PNI Baru), were more cooperative than competitive, as was its relationship with the Surabaya branch of Budi Utomo. Many leaders of the Surabaya branches of the PNI, Partindo, PNI Baru and Budi Utomo were simultaneously active members of the Indonesian Study Club.

The Indonesian Study Club was involved in relief operations for strikers and their families during the city-wide strikes of late 1925 and early 1926. It produced a detailed analysis of the strikes based on extensive interviews with strikers. The report stressed the economic causes behind the strikes, warning government and employers against labelling all labour union leaders communists and all strikes as communist inspired. Employers, it argued, must improve workers’ wages and must also improve their social conditions with better housing and medical services and closer regulation of hours and conditions of work. (13)

The Indonesian Study Club assumed a major educational role. Regular lectures and courses were organised, including literacy courses for Surabaya workers, a substantial lending library was created and at the beginning of 1926, it started its own monthly publication, Soeloeh Indonesia [Torch of Indonesia]. At the end of 1926, Soeloeh Indonesia proudly proclaimed that it had about 1,000 subscribers, mainly in Surabaya but also in cities and towns throughout Java. For over two years, Soeloeh Indonesia published regular reports on social and economic conditions in Surabaya and articles which urged the need for renewed political action by Indonesians. At the beginning of 1928, it changed its name to Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia [Torch of the Indonesian People], symbolising the Study Club’s wish to identify with ordinary people and foreshadowing its move to organise Surabaya workers directly. (14)

Labour unions and politics

The colonial government, supported by the European press, increasingly asserted that Indonesian labour unions should be politically neutral. By this, the government meant that leadership should be exclusively in the hands of workers in the particular industry and that unions should be concerned solely with negotiating wages and conditions and taking up individual grievances with employers in a non-confrontationist way. Meetings should not discuss political issues and journals should not push the nationalist agenda or challenge colonial authority.

The nature of the relationship between nationalist political parties and labour unions in the post-1926 repressive atmosphere was hotly debated by Indonesian activists. However, no Indonesian labour union leader believed in political neutrality. As the Partindo journal Soeloeh Indonesia Moeda stated in June 1932, ‘The absolute neutrality of labour unions means the absolute impotence of labour unions.’ (15) Indonesian labour union journals–whether published by unions for government workers or by unions for workers in the private sector–all had a strong nationalist

flavour. Public meetings of all labour unions were held in buildings adorned with nationalist symbols. The negative impact of capitalism and imperialism were regular topics. The need to end colonial rule was taken for granted. The idea of Indonesia was promoted. By 1933, almost all labour unions, even the most moderate ones, had incorporated the word ‘Indonesia’ in their name. The underlying support for the political agenda of the nationalist movement was clear and strong.

Just as political neutrality was rejected, most labour union activists also rejected the government’s position that central and branch executives of labour unions must be composed entirely of workers in the industry. (16) Their reading of European labour history and their understanding of their own society convinced them that in a colonial society at this particular stage of development leadership would not emerge from workers themselves. Moreover, they argued, even if it were possible, leaderships composed entirely of workers in an industry would leave unions too exposed to employer retribution.

While rejecting political neutrality, the Indonesian Study Club argued that labour unions should be independent. By this, it meant that while union leaders were properly active in nationalist politics, unions should cut across political and religious allegiances and, within a nationalist context, their meetings should focus on industrial issues and the social and economic advancement of workers rather than overt political issues. It was an important distinction, often lost on government and employers who viewed any organisation of workers by urban elites with deep suspicion as subversive of colonial authority.

In large part, the Indonesian Study Club leaders’ distinction between political and social-economic activities reflected their assessment of what was possible post-1926. They believed that the government would suppress labour unions which were too closely linked organisationally to political parties or if the tone and themes of their public meetings were no different from those of political party meetings. In part though, it also reflected their conviction that political allegiances could be divisive. They were particularly concerned about unions based on religion, and they observed with some alarm the emergence of Christian labour unions and the debates within the PSI about the possibility of creating Islamic labour unions. (17) In their view, Indonesian workers could only successfully combat the power of employers if they were united in one organisation tied neither to a political party nor to a religious group but with members joining political or religious organisations of their choice. (18)

In its analysis of the failure of the city-wide strikes in Surabaya in 1925, the Indonesian Study Club argued that a key factor was the lack of organisation and leadership among Surabaya workers. (19) This was a theme to which it returned repeatedly over the coming years. In the meantime, through 1927 and 1928, Study Club leaders watched efforts to fill the gap left by the collapse of unions connected to the PKI. The large unions for government workers, such as the pawnshop workers’ union and the teachers’ unions, continued to have a significant presence in Surabaya. Most interest, though, was in renewed efforts to organise workers in private employ–on the docks, in the factories, on the private rail and tramways and among lower-paid workers such as taxi drivers. It was a difficult task to reinstil confidence in labour unions. A Surabaya postal worker summed up the prevailing mood early in 1928 when he told a union leader that ‘I am not brave, although the work is heavy, if I speak out aloud I am accused of being a communist.’ (20)

Sarekat Kaum Buruh Indonesia

The Sarekat Kaum Buruh Indonesia (Indonesian Workers Association–SKBI) was the first attempt to create a city-wide union for Surabaya workers after the demise of the PKI. (21) Established in July 1928, its executive included former members of the banned PKI who had been active in Surabaya unions connected to it. The close connection between Surabaya political and labour union leaders, despite ideological and personal differences, is evident not just in the fact that a PNI branch leader was the first chairman of the SKBI but also that its inaugural public meeting was held in the Indonesian Study Club building with PNI and Indonesian Study Club members in attendance. Moreover, Sutomo was one of the speakers, urging workers to overcome their fears and become active in labour unions. (22)

The SKBI promised to confront employers on the workers’ behalf. It sometimes invoked the name of former PKI and union leader Semaun and tried to persuade workers that it was a continuation of PKI-led unions but moving now in a nationalist direction. The flag chosen by the SKBI symbolically linked it to the PKI. The red background with a black hammer and pen under the union name symbolised the unity of ‘kasar’ (literally ‘coarse’ but meaning blue-collar workers) and ‘halus’ (literally ‘refined’ but meaning white-collar workers). (23) The statutes and work programme of the SKBI made clear its leaders’ ideological convictions. The Marxist language was dangerously reminiscent of the banned PKI. (24)

In trying to create branches throughout Java, the Surabaya leaders of the SKBI sought support from local PNI members sympathetic to their aims. Many of the initial propaganda meetings in towns and cities outside Surabaya were organised by local PNI members and sometimes held in PNI offices. However, it was not long before Surabaya leaders of the Study Club and the PNI distanced themselves from the SKBI. Sutomo privately stated that he had been warned by the Surabaya Political Intelligence Service in late 1928, about associating with the SKBI Chairman Marsudi, because he was a communist. Marsudi was also suspected by many in Surabaya of being a government spy. (25) Communist or government spy (or both), by early 1929, Marsudi had no support from the Study Club or the PNI. He then wrote to Sukarno seeking support from the Bandung-based central executive of the PNI to no avail. The Bandung leadership issued an instruction to all branches that PNI members were not to become involved with the SKBI. It believed that it was only a matter of time before the government crushed the SKBI and was anxious that it did not suffer the same fate through association with it. (26)

On 1 April 1929, the SKBI central executive applied to join the Comintern-sponsored League against Colonialism and Colonial Oppression and on 30 May was formally accepted. The exchange of letters between the SKBI and the League against Imperialism and Colonial Oppression only came to the notice of the Surabaya political intelligence service on 16 July, when a spy supplied copies. Batavia was quickly informed and on 26 July, house searches and arrests were ordered of SKBI leaders. (27) The union was proscribed and six of those arrested were subsequently interned in Boven Digul. (28)

The Indonesian Study Club and labour unions

As he observed the failure of new unions to take root among Surabaya workers, Sutomo became convinced that the Study Club should take the initiative. On 12 July 1929, the Indonesian Study Club organised a public meeting at the Study Club building to establish a taxi drivers’ union, Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia. Consistent with the arguments he had been making over the previous five years, Sutomo argued that the new union should not be involved in politics but rather should seek to improve the economic and social life of drivers. (29) He believed that unions had so far not proved powerful enough to counter bad working conditions and that the Indonesian Study Club, with its strong leadership and well-resourced organisation, would be able to do much better. The arrest of SKBI leaders on 26 July confirmed Sutomo in his convictions. (30)

In the latter half of 1929, Sutomo outlined his thinking on labour unions in a series of major speeches at public meetings. In October 1929, for example, he surveyed the development of labour unions in the Netherlands. Thirty years ago, he said, there were no labour unions and the worst possible conditions for workers. This was all changed by the Netherlands Federation of Labour Unions which educated workers to be aware of their conditions and organised them to force better wages and conditions from employers. These improvements to Dutch workers’ wages and conditions had yet to flow through to workers in Indonesia. Sutomo was reported as saying:

If a more collective spirit had been shown during the 1925 workers’
unrest and if there had not been a shortage of leaders, then
workers would now be living in better circumstances and have
obtained acknowledgement of many of their rights from both
government and employers. [Sutomo] urged workers to organise
themselves and explained that the success of labour union action
depended on continual agitation, in conjunction with mutual
solidarity, party discipline and unconditional support of
everything decided by the organization, with all personal opinions
and interests set aside. (31)
Sutomo argued that labour unions must work in two directions. First, they must demand that the government introduce social laws, controlling such things as child and female labour, working hours and the safety of the workplace and providing basic rights of association for workers. Second, they must struggle for better working conditions: all unions should have a work programme which included raising wages and shortening working hours. He again warned against mixing religion and politics in labour unions, cautioning that worker unity would fall apart if differences in religious belief or ideological conviction were allowed to intrude. (32)

He also addressed the issue of strikes. On the one hand, he did not rule them out. He was well-read enough in European history to know that the strike was an important weapon in the improvement of European workers’ wages and conditions and he was aware that if workers did not have the right to strike, and did not threaten to exercise that right from time to time, they would have little leverage against employers. Along with all nationalists, he was strongly opposed to the battery of repressive laws in the colony which were used not just to suppress strikes but also to hobble the development of unions. On the other hand, he argued that a strike should only be considered when a union had good leadership, committed and disciplined members, and a strong strike fund. Strikes in Europe had succeeded, he argued, not just because the legal framework within which workers operated was less draconian than in Indonesia but also because European unions had large strike funds with which they could support striking workers and their families. If an Indonesian union wanted to organise a strike, he believed that the first question it should ask itself was whether or not it had a chance of success. Entering into strikes which were doomed to failure from the start only weakened the position of colonial workers. In his view, there were many important lessons to be learnt from the failure of the major strikes in the colony, the most important of which was that a large strike fund was essential. Without a large strike fund, a labour union had no power. The stronger the fund, the more attention employers would give to workers. Thus he argued that the largest strike yet seen in colonial Indonesia, the railway workers strike in 1923, never had a chance of succeeding because the VSTP lacked a strong strike fund. (33)

While Sutomo frequently spoke of workers’ right to strike and of the need for labour unions to have strong strike funds, it is clear that he was convinced that the basic conditions for successful strikes were lacking in colonial Indonesia. Whenever a particular strike occurred or was proposed, Sutomo made known his disapproval. For example, he had opposed nurses at the Surabaya Municipal Hospital going on strike in 1924 and considered the three largest strikes in the colony, those of the railway workers, the pawnshop workers and the sugar factory workers, ill-conceived, poorly planned and doomed to failure. (34) In his view, the short-term objective of a strong strike fund was not actually to launch a strike, but to use it as a tactical weapon in negotiations with employers:

… a fighting fund is nothing other than an asset of an
organisation, which is not exclusively created to use during
strikes, but in the first instance should be used as a way of
frightening employers. If a large fighting fund exists, then
employers will pay more attention to the wishes of employees. (35)
For Sutomo, the history of labour unions in Indonesia, so far, was a story of failure.

In his reading of the history of labour unions in Europe, Sutomo seems to have been particularly influenced by the British labour movement. He noted that many British labour unions had evolved out of friendly societies and trade guilds and observed that almost all had a deep involvement in social and economic issues, with a stress on mutual benefit societies and cooperatives. The lesson for Indonesia, he believed, was that if labour unions were to be successful, they needed to engage far more closely with workers’ daily lives. A labour union focused on supporting the everyday social and economic needs of workers and educating them about the value of collective action would in time draw workers into lasting commitments. While Sutomo would never have used the term ‘class consciousness’, nevertheless he believed that workers should be educated to an increased consciousness of themselves and their potential political power. He believed that a strong labour movement with deep linkages into urban workers’ world would be of enormous benefit to the broader nationalist movement.

Sutomo clearly believed that if unions were organised along these lines, then government and employers would take notice and could be persuaded to improve workers’ wages and conditions. Little personal correspondence between political leaders has survived, but one letter that has is from Sutomo to the Batavian nationalist, and close confidant of Sukarno, Husni Thamrin. (36) Written in September 1929, the letter might have been a response to criticism from Thamrin, and perhaps also Sukarno, about Sutomo’s emphasis on labour union activities at the expense of the political movement. In the letter, Sutomo sought the support of Thamrin for his taking the leadership of the labour movement and asked him to discuss the matter with the PNI leaders Sartono and Sukarno. Although he was not to get their support–the arrest of Sukarno in December 1929 intervened–the letter makes clear his views on the importance of organising urban workers:

If I can speak quietly with you and Sukarno, I will be able to
prove to you that our exertions in the labour movement, will make
us a thousand times more powerful. In this way we are also more
dangerous because the masses will truly stand behind us.

We often say that the colonial government stands under the
influence of capitalist forces which exploit our land. These forces
are only able to do so by using native labourers. And if we
mobilise them, not in a political sense, but by opening their eyes
to their human rights as employees, and we explain this active
struggle in this way to the colonial government, whereby through
good planning, through intensive work with the masses, through good
discipline and through the development of self-confidence we
possess power and authority in society, then the government will
pay more attention to us. (37)
Sutomo’s analysis of the power of the colonial government and the powerlessness of labour unions led him to conclude that labour unions must avoid direct confrontation with the government. He was well aware that in a colonial context, all labour union activity was essentially political. However, he wanted to try to limit the room for government intervention by keeping unions and political parties organisationally separate and by avoiding language that advocated strikes or unrest. It was a strategy of accommodation, but in the circumstance after 1926, where the colonial state was determined to tame labour unions by limiting the space in which they could operate, he believed there was no other option if labour unions were to have any chance of survival.

The nature of the relationship between labour unions and political parties divided the Indonesian elite. Those convinced that labour unions must be involved in nationalist politics, preferably directly linked to political parties, were critical of Sutomo’s views, arguing that they weakened the nationalist movement. If they had seen Sutomo’s letter to Thamrin in which he referred to mobilising people ‘not in a political sense’ they would have only been confirmed in their views. Clearly, though, Sutomo was not denigrating political activity, rather he was asserting that the organisation of urban labour was vitally important in its own right and would be more effective outside the ideological divisiveness of political parties. He believed that a strong labour movement, focused on industrial issues, on improving workers’ socio-economic conditions and on raising their consciousness of their rights both complemented and strengthened the political movement for independence and was essential for the creation of a just and prosperous post-colonial nation.

PNI and later Partindo leaders deeply involved in labour unions–men such as Gatot Mangkupradja, Anwari and Sartono–held similar views. For example, in January 1932, Sartono told the Partindo Conference that while it was important that nationalists were involved in labour unions, it was also important that labour unions should remain separate from political parties. He pointed to the history of the PKI and its affiliated unions which demonstrated the dangers of the labour movement and the political movement being closely integrated. (38) A speaker at the 1932 Congress of the teachers’ federation argued that while in a free country there was no difference between politics and labour unions, with one supporting the other, it was different in a colonial society such as Indonesia where workers were frightened to be part of a political movement because of fears of retribution. (39)

The labour unions organised by Indonesian Study Club members stressed the provision of social and economic services in order to attract urban workers. The Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia (SCI) established by the Indonesian Study Club is a good example of this. (40) It held courses every fortnight which focused on practical matters–such as how to drive carefully and how to avoid fines–and it supported members when they got into difficulties. For example, Nitiasmora, a commissioner in the branch executive, was badly injured in a car accident. The SCI executive circulated members asking them to visit him in hospital. Shortly after Nitiasmora was discharged from hospital and returned to work, his one-year-old son died. It was a double tragedy for Nitiasmora because only a month earlier his six-year-old son had also died. The branch organised hundreds of members to attend the burial of his son. (41) In such ordinary ways, the union sought to make itself an essential part of the life of Surabayan drivers.

The SCI called on lawyers in the Indonesian Study Club when it needed legal support for members. For example, in 1931, an SCI member named Dardjan, collided with a bicycle while driving from Tuban to Surabaya. He turned to the SCI for help. He was referred to its legal adviser, Mr Suwono. The SCI then represented him in court and he was found him innocent. The union even raised the cost of Dardjan travelling to Tuban for the court hearing. (42) In another example, the SCI took to the local court a case of three of its members dismissed without compensation. The court awarded each of them one-and-half months’ wages. (43) When in July 1932, the Probolinggo branch of the SCI successfully took up the case with an employer of a driver made redundant without compensation, the union proudly proclaimed that it was now clear ‘that the SCI does not merely make a noise but also works’. (44)

The Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia flourished, spreading beyond Surabaya to enrol taxi drivers in towns throughout East Java and into Central Java. Meetings of 400-500 people were common. The Surabaya leaders who travelled from town to town were determined to quell any nervousness about joining a union by repeatedly stating that the SCI was a labour union exclusively concerned with the welfare of its members, and did not mix labour union activity with nationalist politics. (45) The union prided itself on its mutual benefit activities. In April 1929, it established a credit cooperative, which made small loans to cover sudden emergencies, such as fines imposed on taxi drivers by local courts. (46) No wonder taxi drivers borrowed from the credit cooperative when it charged only 9 per cent interest on a six-month loan compared with up to 40 per cent by moneylenders. Members also trusted it with their savings. (47) In addition, the union introduced members to the Indonesian National Bank, created by the Indonesian Study Club in October 1929, where they could obtain larger loans for the purchase of vehicles so that they could become owner-drivers. (48)

The provision of financial services saw the Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia quickly grow to over 250 Surabaya taxi drivers, with hundreds more enrolling in branches in other East Java towns. (49) About one in three Surabaya taxi drivers joined. Other unions were established for printing industry workers, for hospital nurses and for workers in the batik industry in towns near Surabaya. Efforts were also made to gain a foothold among workers in Surabaya engineering and metal working companies and among workers at the British American Tobacco Company (BAT), though after the experiences of these workers in 1925/26 and again with the SKBI in 1929, it was a hard road. The union for workers at BAT, for example, had only 50 members out of a total workforce of about 2,000 in May 1931 when the factory was closed because of the Depression. (50)

The Surabaya branch of the PNI, under the leadership of Anwari, was also increasingly active in organising labour unions. There was strong cooperation between the Surabaya leaders of the PNI and the Indonesian Study Club–most of the former were also simultaneously members of the Study Club–and the Study Club building was frequently the venue for public meetings of PNI-connected unions. As we have seen, Sutomo was a major speaker at public meetings of PNI-connected labour unions. In the close circle of the Surabaya political elite, it was often difficult to separate PNI and Study Club labour union activities. (51)

For example, PNI members led by Rahardjo, a commissioner in the PNI Surabaya branch, were behind the establishment of the Persatuan Djongos Indonesia (a union for male house workers) in August 1929. About 150 Surabayan men came to its inaugural meeting. (52) Rahardjo also established a union for workers in the Surabaya clothing industry–Perkumpulan Kaum Kleermaker Bond (PKKB). The initial meeting was again held in the Study Club building and was attended by about 90 workers in the clothing industry. (53) These PNI-connected unions, like those connected to the Indonesian Study Club, used public meetings to constantly impress upon workers that the unions were quite distinct from political parties and were focused on supporting them and on improving their wages and conditions.

PNI and Indonesian Study Club members were behind the creation of the largest union for Surabaya workers employed in the private sector. This was established in August 1929 for rail and tramway workers in the East Java Steam Tram Company (Oost Java Stoomtram Maatschappij, hereafter OJS). As with many other unions, its origins were in a reading club for rail and tramway workers, created under the leadership of Rahardjo, as a way of entering the world of urban workers. Rahardjo became its chairman and its secretary/treasurer was Djojosoedjono, another PNI member. (54) Both were also members of the Indonesian Study Club. Central leadership was in the hands of PNI Surabaya / Indonesian Study Club members, and most branch executives were managed by local PNI members, though the majority of branch executives were skilled workers in the rail and tramway industry.

The OJS Bond Indonesia gradually spread its influence from the East Java Steam Tram Company in Surabaya to workers in the private rail and tramway companies based in Semarang. In order to reflect this, in August 1930, the name of the union was altered to Persatuan Pegawai Partikelir Tramlijnen Indonesia (Union of Indonesian Workers in Private Tramways). In August 1931, it changed its name again to Persatuan Buruh Kareta Api Indonesia (Union of Indonesian Railway Workers–PBKI), in a move indicating that it wanted to expand from its base in the private railways to challenge the Bandung-based Perhimpunan Beambte Spoor dan Tram di Indonesia (Association of Rail and Tramway Workers in Indonesia–PBST) which was dominated by workers in the State Railways. (55)

The railway workers’ union grew very quickly, reflecting the relatively poor wages and conditions of workers in the private railway companies of East and Central Java. Workers in the State Railways were paid higher wages, had better working conditions and had higher pension entitlements on retirement. Large crowds attended public meetings not only in Surabaya but in other towns in East and Central Java. A meeting in Semarang in July 1931 was typical. It was held in a local cinema and attended by 1,500 people, mostly railway workers but with a sprinkling of representatives from other local unions and political parties. The meeting opened with the audience standing and singing the Indonesia Raya, which by this time had become the ‘national anthem’ for Indonesians. Dr Samsi Sastrowidagdo, from Partindo, was one of the major speakers. His theme was the importance of cooperatives for the advancement of Indonesian people and economy. (56)

By March 1933, the PBKI had about 4,150 members in over 20 branches in the towns and cities of Central and East Java. This was its nominal membership. Its financial membership was probably little more than half of this number. Its members were predominantly employed by the private railway companies, but it slowly built up a small membership base in the State Railways in Surabaya and surrounding towns. (57) Its growth was largely the result of its provision of social and economic services to members. It created a cooperative, a savings fund and a death benefits fund and it provided financial support to members who were sick and needed help to pay for a doctor. At the time of the first mass dismissals in the railways in 1931, as a result of the Depression, it raised money for their support. (58)

The OJS Bond Indonesia, large though it appeared to be, suffered the same problems as other unions, particularly those catering for workers in the private sector. At a course meeting in January 1930, for example, its chairman, Rahardjo, urged those present to work harder to overcome the indolence of many in the union. He expressed the frustration of western-educated middle-class union leaders by stating that workers were not sufficiently conscious of their rights and duties as members of labour unions, that there was no trace of discipline among them and that the labour union executive received not the least cooperation from them. Workers’ nervousness about their vulnerability can be seen in January 1930, when in response to the arrests of Sukarno and three other PNI leaders, many members of the PNI who worked at the East Java Steam Tram Company destroyed their PNI membership cards fearing they might be caught up in the government repression. (59)

A new labour union federation

Throughout the last three decades of colonial rule, labour union leaders of all political persuasions dreamed of overcoming the divisions between labour unions by creating labour union federations in the major cities. Difficult as this was (none of the city-wide federations were long lived), it was even more difficult to overcome the intercity rivalry by creating a Java-wide federation. The two attempts in the 1920s–the Perserikatan Persatuan Kaurn Buruh (formed in 1920, initially under Central Sarekat Islam and PKI joint leadership but by 1921 under exclusive CSI leadership) and the Revolutionaire Vakcentrale (formed in 1921 under PKI leadership)–were short lived failures, as was the Persatuan Vakbond Hindia (PVH) created in 1922, to try to bring the communist and non-communist-led federations together. (60)

In the more restricted circumstances after 1926, leaders of unions for government employees and for those in private employ once again sought to create federations. Late in 1929, Volksraad member and chairman of the Vereniging Inlandsche Personeel der Irrigatie dan de Waterdienst (Union for Native Workers in the Irrigation and Water Service–VIPBOW), Suroso, was instrumental in forming the Persatuan Vakbonden Pegawai Negeri (PVPN) which brought together the pawnshop workers’ union and the VIPBOW. The PVPN grew in the 1930s to embrace all the major labour unions for Indonesian workers in the government sector. It played a significant coordinating role, provided a platform for joint activity and enabled common approaches to the government on wages and conditions. (61)

Sutomo and his colleagues had hoped that the Indonesian Study Club would become the foundation of a new Indonesian nationalist party based on the principles developed in Perhimpunan Indonesia. This was not to be. The impetus for the new nationalist party came from the General Study Club in Bandung and control was in the hands of Bandung and Batavia leaders, led by Sukarno in Bandung and Sartono in Batavia. The arrests of Sukarno and three other leaders of the PNI in December 1929 was the catalyst for renewed efforts by Sutomo to create organisational unity in the nationalist movement. In March 1930, he initiated discussions with the PNI central executive–Sartono, Iskaq and Samsi Sastrowidagdo–during which he argued for the dissolution of the PNI and the creation of a new party which while ostensibly working for economic and social improvement and not for Indonesian independence, would in practice be a continuation of the work of the PNI. He clearly saw the Indonesian Study Club as pivotal to the new party, given its financial and organisational strength in Surabaya. Sartono rejected the proposal. The PNI was dissolved, replaced by Partai Indonesia (Partindo), the PNI Baru was formed from disaffected PNI members and, as a consequence, in November 1930, Sutomo led the conversion of the Indonesian Study Club into the Persatuan Bangsa Indonesia. (62)

Sutomo and Anwari had wanted the rather ineffectual federation of Indonesian political parties (PPPKI) founded in July 1928 to become the vehicle for a labour union federation but again to no avail. The formation of Partindo was the catalyst in May 1930 for the Indonesian Study Club to create its own labour union federation, Persatuan Sarekat Sekerdja Indonesia (PSSI). Leadership of the PSSI was a mix of Indonesian Study Club leaders and PNI Surabaya branch leaders, the most prominent of whom were Ruslan Wongsokusumo and Anwari. (63) They saw the formation of the federation as ultimately leading to a fusion with the PVPN to establish a strong Java-wide labour union federation. (64) The PSSI continued the emphasis on self-help: savings societies, death benefit funds, pension funds and cooperatives were all seen as critical for the success of a labour union. Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia was the voice of the PSSI. Like all labour union journals, it published articles designed to educate workers about the labour unions in an international context and to encourage greater support for their own union leaders. It also published detailed reports on individual union matters and regular reports of disputes between workers and employers, highlighting those where a union successfully supported a member. In July 1931, a leading article tackled the assertion of some nationalists that many labour unions were so deeply involved in cooperatives that they no longer behaved like unions, by pointing out that the origin of cooperatives in Indonesia was worker communities themselves and that cooperatives were important for the advancement of workers. (65)

By May 1932, the PSSI had eight affiliated unions, primarily for workers in the rail and tramway companies, the printing industry, the tailoring industry, for domestic workers and for workers in the sugar factories. Public meetings were held regularly in Surabaya and in nearby towns. Oerip Kasansengari, one of the most energetic of the PSSI propagandists, repeatedly assured well-attended meetings that the PSSI labour unions were all about improving workers’ wages and conditions and not about politics. At a meeting of sugar factory workers at Sukaredjo in February 1932, for example, he spoke about the earlier sugar factory workers’ union (PFB) which had been dead for 10 years. He urged workers to overcome their fears and join the new sugar factory workers’ union established by the PSSI and reminded his audience that the social laws in Europe which regulated working conditions, old age pensions, invalidity pensions and sickness benefits had only been achieved through collective action by workers. (66)

In addition to industry-specific unions, the PSSI also created a Sarekat Sekerdja Indonesia as a cross-industry union. Within a month, the Sarekat Sekerdja Indonesia was reported to have had a membership of 250. Once again Ruslan Wongsokusumo was the chairman with the PNI Baru Surabaya commissioner Rustamadji as Treasurer and one other member of the PNI Baru Surabaya on its executive. (67) All attracted workers by offering social welfare benefits to members and their families, ranging from death benefit funds and savings groups to consumer cooperatives and, in the case of the tailors’ union, a production cooperative. The PSSI strategy was relatively successful, but its chairman complained that there were too many people who joined, hoping only for support and unwilling to work hard or make any sacrifices for the wider aims of the union. Workers’ expectations of their unions were such that ‘whenever a member is unable to be helped or provided with mutual aid, reports are spread everywhere that the organization is no good and should not be supported’. (68)

It is difficult to assess the membership of the PSSI-affiliated unions. The Surabaya-based federation claimed that its member unions had 2,000 members in August 1930. (69) In March 1933, it claimed growth to 3,200. (70) In March 1933, the colonial government estimated PBKI membership at 4,150 in 20 branches in East and Central Java. (71) While membership figures touted by unions and government must be treated with caution, these estimates do show both the rapid growth of the PBKI and also, apart from the railway industry, the difficulty Surabaya-based labour unions had in recruiting more than a small proportion of workers in private employ. A relatively large number of workers attended public meetings organised by labour unions, but fewer actually joined.

The Depression impacted on all labour unions throughout Java from 1931. Membership fell away as growing numbers of workers were retrenched and those that kept their jobs became less willing, or able, to pay their dues regularly. Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, the voice of the PSSI, closed at the end of 1931 and as funds dried up, there were of necessity fewer paid officials. As it became clear that labour unions were still very unstable, the PSSI and the Indonesian Study Club/PBI responded by increasing the emphasis on social and economic action to support Surabaya workers. In January 1932, the Indonesian Study Club established a Comite van de Pembrantas Pengangguran Indonesia (Indonesian Unemployment Relief Committee), which over the next five years, raised considerable support in cash and in kind in order to provide relief work, housing and financial support to the Surabaya unemployed. (72) The Study Club Poor Relief arm, managed and run largely by the wives of Study Club members, redoubled its efforts to assist the urban poor and the marginalised. (73) Low cost schools were established, cooperatives were strengthened and annual night markets (pasar malam) became a means to promote Indonesian-made products.

PSSI-affiliated unions struggled to survive the Depression years as did all labour unions for privately employed workers. Even the large unions for government workers faced financial difficulties as the retrenchment of government workers impacted on their memberships. Uniquely for a labour union or political party, the PSSI became involved in a scheme to resettle unemployed Surabaya workers on the land. A transmigration group (Perkurnpulan Transmigratie Indonesia) had been established in Surabaya early in 1931. Its aim was to help resettle people from the Surabaya kampung who were finding life tough because of the Depression. Study Club members played a major part in its creation. (74) The PSSI determined to work with the Transmigration Group, which was cooperating with a group at Banyuwangi that had targeted over 1,400 hectares of land at Bajulmati, about 24 kilometres away, which was unused and suitable for farming. At a public meeting in Surabaya at the end of April 1931, 21 families, 60 people in all, registered interest in moving out of the city to the new land. The PSSI then set about raising the money needed to purchase the land and cover transportation and establishment costs, estimated at around 150 guilders per family. Union members were urged to support the fund, and local businesses that had advertised in their newspapers and journals were solicited for donations. Union leaders acknowledged that the scheme could only assist a very small number of the urban unemployed, but saw it as an important part of their relief work. Over 1,000 guilders was raised by the end of June 1931, and in October, PSSI leaders triumphantly announced that that they persuaded the East Java Provincial Council to provide the balance of 4,000 guilders needed to implement the project. (75)

As the PSSI responded to the Depression by strengthening its work in the social and economic spheres, differences began to emerge within its affiliated unions over the merits of the strategy. On the one side, were those who held firmly to the principles of the Indonesian Study Club, enunciated since the mid-1920s, that there must be a degree of separation between labour union activities and political party activities. The PBI restated this position in January 1932, when it urged branches to redouble their social and economic activities and their efforts to protect workers’ living conditions but not to mix unions and politics ‘because history has shown that a labour movement which gets involved in politics eventually becomes smashed into pieces’. (76)

On the other side, were PNI Baru activists and the Sukarno group within Partindo, both of them arguing that in a colonial situation, there should be no separation between labour unions and politics. Sartono had consistently agreed with Sutomo on the need to keep the political movement separate from the labour movement. This view was strongly challenged by Sukarno after his release from jail in December 1931 and his formal joining of Partindo in August 1932. The Partindo Congress of August 1933 formally adopted the Sukarno position.

Indonesian Study Club members become discomforted by what they saw as the increasing politicisation of the labour unions they had created. In January 1932, Ruslan Wongsokusumo, one of the most active Indonesian Study Club members within the Surabaya labour unions, announced that he had left the Sarekat Sekerdja Indonesia, because the SSI had decided to leave the PSSI, critical of its separation of politics and labour union activity and particularly critical of its involvement with the transmigration group. Ruslan stated that he was a political person and a labour union person, but that he knew the line between the two. In his view, the new SSI leaders, all of whom were PNI Baru members, were now mixing the two to the ultimate detriment of labour unions. (77)

From early 1932, the PSSI came increasingly under the influence of PNI Baru and Partindo activists. Both groups saw the existing labour unions for private sector workers as potentially important vehicles for their political agendas. Their influence can be seen in the Indonesian Workers’ Congress organised by the PSSI in Surabaya at the beginning of May 1933. Throughout the four days of the Congress, there was strong criticism of colonialism and capitalism, with many speakers linking the labour movement with the political movement. The Congress was held at a time when the government was intensifying its warnings to PNI Baru and Partindo leaders about unacceptable political action and was increasingly jailing writers for transgressing the draconian laws governing the written word. One of the key speakers was Sukarno who argued strongly ‘that the labour movement must engage in politics’. Sutomo was the only alternate voice, holding to his view that the labour movement should be kept separate from the political movement. (78) The dominance of the PNI Baru / Partindo activists was seen in the Congress decision to create a new labour union federation, the Centraal Perhimpunan Buruh Indonesia (CPBI) and to dissolve the PSSI into it. The statutes of the CPBI stated that the labour union would be involved in social, economic and political action and that it aimed to create a socialist model of production. (79)

J. D. Syranamual, the editor of the PBI-owned Surabaya daily newspaper Soeara Oernoern, wrote a series of articles in May in which he restated the position of Sutomo and the Indonesian Study Club / PBI about the danger of mixing politics with labour union activities. He agreed with Sukarno that capitalism must be overthrown, but argued that it was not the responsibility of the labour movement as such to do this. Rather it was the responsibility of the political movement. He reaffirmed the view that if labour unions became involved in politics, because of the many streams of politics in Indonesia they would struggle against each other thereby weakening their fight against employers. (80) One consequence of the dissolution of the PSSI into the CPBI was that Sutomo and other PBI leaders significantly reduced their involvement. (81)

The end of the railway workers’ union

The colonial sgovernment had generally taken a benign view of the labour union activities of the Indonesian Study Club / PBI, though as early as July 1930, the attorney-general had expressed concern about the close connection between the Indonesian Study Club and the PNI in the organisation of Surabaya workers. (82) This changed in late 1932 and led in mid-1933 to a prohibition on railway workers being members of the PBKI.

There were four key factors behind this change. First, was the deepening of the Depression, with many tens of thousands of urban workers losing their jobs from the middle of 1930 and no end to the job losses in sight. The mounting jobless, compounded by the return of tens of thousands of retrenched contract labourers from Sumatra, raised European fears that Java’s towns and cities were ripe for nationalist agitation. European newspapers began to publish exaggerated reports on lawlessness in city and countryside and raise the spectre of an outbreak of serious unrest.

Second, was concern in government and employer circles that the more radical people in Partindo and the PNI Baru had taken over control of Indonesian Study Club / PBI labour unions. The government was also concerned about the PBI’s success in organising among farmers (rukun tani) and its stated objective of linking urban workers and rural farmers. It believed that it saw a significant shift in the tone of the meetings of the PBI, and of unions connected to it. (83) More specifically, it feared that not only was the PBKI under PNI Baru / Partindo influence but that its ambitions had expanded to become a Java-wide union, enrolling workers in the State Railways network, and thereby threatening to become another VSTP. The ‘loyal’ PBST certainly expressed this concern quite publicly. (84) So too did the European press. In February 1932, De Indische Courant, accused the PBKI of being a political party rather than a labour union: ‘It is an organisation exclusively for native workers, non-natives cannot join. Nationalist politicians in Surabaya are the force behind its establishment, with Dr Sutomo at the head.’ (85)

Third, in February 1933, Dutch and Indonesian sailors aboard the naval vessel Zeven Provincien mutinied over cuts in wages. The mutiny only ended when the ship was bombed. The European community became even more nervous as a result and increasingly intolerant of nationalist activities of any kind. In April 1933, the editor of the Soeara Oernoem was jailed for 20 months for an article on the Zeven Provincien affairs deemed to be seditious, causing the political intelligence report for May 1933 to comment about the PBI: ‘there is an increasingly anti-authority spirit in Soeara Oemoem, the official organ of this organization….’ (86)

Fourth, was the decision by the Indonesian Workers Congress in May 1933 to create a Centraal Perhimpunan Buruh Indonesia under the control of the PNI Baru leader Sjahrir. The government was now certain that the formation of the CPBI marked a distinct shift of the labour movement in an overt political direction with strong anti-capitalist and class struggle language. (87)

While the PBKI central executive was in Surabaya, and its members predominantly members of the PBI, the Semarang branch was in the hands of men who were members of the PNI Baru. It was this that concerned the colonial government and the head of the Semarang-based Netherlands-Indies Railway Company (NIS). For some time, the head of the NIS had been warning his directors in the Netherlands about what he saw as growing unrest in native society. In March, he warned that there was considerable tension and unrest among the Company’s Indonesian workforce, the blame for which he laid at the feet of the PBKI. He believed that a conflict between the company and its Indonesian workforce was likely in the near future. (88)

The PBKI Central Executive in Surabaya became increasingly concerned about NIS management’s attitude to the union and even more concerned about what Semarang leaders’ reactions might be to this. It feared that they had lost control over Semarang. On 16 May, it issued a statement directed at Semarang leaders, which stated that it had received reliable reports that provocateurs were moving around the NIS stating that the PBKI would strike in May or June. It urged members to exercise restraint in the face of this provocation:

Brother PBKI-ers, especially brother branch leaders! Be careful and
pay attention! This is a time of provocation! Our PBKI is being
targeted by its opponents. Therefore be strong and guard our
fortress so that it is not breached or destroyed by the enemy! (89)
On 6 June, the head of the NIS stated his belief that the PBKI was no longer a labour union but a political party ‘which directs itself against capital and spreads propaganda that capital must be opposed’. He informed his directors that he intended to ban NIS workers from being members of the PBKI even though he realised that this would probably lead to short-term conflict. (90) The ban, he argued, was justified, ‘on the basis that through its actions this organisation has shown that it is not a labour union and merely serves to incite loyal employees against their employer’. (91)

On 27 June, the colonial government banned all government workers from membership of Partindo or PNI Baru. This was followed on 1 August by the arrest of Sukarno and the imposition of tight restrictions on the rights of assembly for Partindo and PNI Baru. (92) The government’s action against the political parties was the catalyst for NIS management finally moving against the PBKI. On 5 July, the NIS issued an instruction banning all employees from membership of the PBKI and stating that any worker who refused to withdraw from the PBKI would be immediately dismissed.

As the PBKI central executive had feared, the Semarang branch responded unilaterally. It immediately printed 4,000 pamphlets calling on NIS workers to defy the order, urging ‘passive resistance’ on the grounds that if workers gave in to this arbitrary order, they could not foresee what further oppression they would be subjected to in the future. It further argued that if workers held out, the company would be unable to operate and would be forced to re-employ those dismissed.

The ‘passive resistance’ failed. The Semarang branch seriously underestimated the power of NIS management and overestimated its influence among railway workers. Certainly, NIS workers were unhappy that their wages had once more been reduced in January 1933 by a further 20-25 per cent on average, but they were also well aware that in the depths of the Depression, they needed to hang on to their job. Within the PBKI itself, there were divergent views of the wisdom of the call for ‘passive resistance’. The other branches on the NIS network quickly decided to accede to the NIS demand and recommended that members leave the union. (93) Some 84 railway workers were dismissed, mainly from Semarang.

The PBKI central executive was far from happy with the unilateral action taken by the Semarang branch, but felt it had no choice but to support it publicly. Soeara Oemoem probably expressed the PBKI executive’s views in a leading article, commending the need for struggle but cautioning that it was the responsibility of leaders to assess the risks in any particular struggle, to ensure that the tactics were appropriate and more than anything to ensure that its organisation was strong. Otherwise only defeat would ensue. Readers were reminded that, in Indonesia at this time of crisis, there were tens of thousands of educated people looking for work and even greater numbers of uneducated seeking lower level work. (94)

Implying that the ‘passive resistance’ would fail, Soeara Oemoem stated that it hoped that the action in Semarang would be closely studied by the labour movement at a later date for the lessons that could be learnt from it:

This should not be conducted simply out of passion but in order for
it to report on these actions in a way that strengthens us in
This is real politiek, which provides us with the assurance that
we will be victorious. (95)
The PBKI Central Executive publicly supported the action, and to the annoyance of the government, so too did the PVPN, the labour federation for government workers, along with all nationalist parties and non-political organisations. (96) Privately, the Semarang branch executive was told that its call for ‘passive resistance’ would fail. (97)

The NIS bans were quickly followed by the State Railways and the East Java Rail and Tramway Company,also banning workers from joining the PBKI. (98) In the circumstances, in November 1933 the PKBI leadership in Surabaya decided that there was no point in continuing and dissolved the union. It immediately established a new union, the Sarekat Sekerdja Oemoem, but this tactic quickly failed when railway company managements banned workers from joining it as well. For the remainder of the colonial period, the Bandung-based PBST was the sole major union for railway workers.


The creation of labour unions was part of the Indonesian Study Club’s broader efforts to create enduring linkages between the western-educated Surabaya elite and Surabaya workers. It recognised the difficulty of getting employers to engage with unions, let alone accepting them as workers’ representatives. It also recognised that the colonial government had an increasingly narrow view of the role of unions. Its options were very limited. In its view, a strategy of accommodation was the only real choice.

The government tolerated labour unions for workers it directly employed, because it believed they had been tamed after the pawnshop workers strike of 1922 and the railway workers’ strike of 1923, and were now in relatively safe hands. The action against the railway workers’ union, the PBKI, just as it was beginning to recruit among government railway workers, made it clear that it would not take any chance of a repeat of the union militancy of the early 1920s. Private employers, supported by local and central government, did all that they could to restrict the ability of labour unions to establish footholds in their workplaces.

The strategy developed by the Indonesian Study Club assumed that if unions focused on providing social security and mutual benefit funds, they had a better chance of maintaining workers’ loyalty and in time creating enduring structures into worker communities. The unions created by the Indonesian Study Club did provide tangible benefits for many Surabaya workers and for this reason were relatively successful given the limits of colonial tolerance. However, they did not evolve into sustainable unions with significant numbers of committed members. The Depression ended any hope of this occurring.

Labour unions had always had difficulty in converting nominal members into financial ones. As the impact of the Depression deepened, it became even harder. There were fewer workers in public and private employ and those who did retain work were more cautious about joining labour unions for fear of risking their livelihood. Moreover, during the Depression, labour unions proved unable to deliver the social security promised. Unions created by the Indonesian Study Club in Surabaya were affected as much as others. Membership rapidly declined.

The collapse of the PBKI was a reminder of the difficulty experienced by central executives of all labour unions, and political parties in controlling branches in other cities. Regionalism was strong and communications and organisational structures weak. The Surabaya leaders of the Indonesian Study Club/PBI learnt from their experiences with the Semarang branch of the PBKI and henceforth restricted their activities to Surabaya and East Java, where they could more closely exert control. They were also chastened by their experience of losing control of the PSSI.

The deepening Depression and their experience with the PBKI and the PSSI persuaded the Indonesian Study Club / PBI leaders to redirect their energies from labour unions for the time being. They did not abandon labour union activity altogether; indeed they remained active in Surabaya labour unions throughout the 1930s but they focused more on social and economic issues, supporting Surabaya workers outside a labour union framework, including unemployment relief, cooperatives and the creation of schools for the children of Surabaya workers. It was not until the economy recovered from 1936 that membership of labour unions began to grow again. In the last four years of colonial rule, renewed efforts were again made to organise Surabaya workers in private employ. Former Indonesian Study Club activists were once more in the middle of this renewed activity, hoping to build on their social and economic base to further strengthen their linkages with Surabaya workers. Sutomo died in May 1938, but the strategy he had espoused so strongly remained the strategy for this renewed labour union activity.

The author wishes to thank colleagues in the School of History at the University of New South Wales, especially Ian Black and Jean Taylor, who have provided a wonderfully stimulating environment in which to work.

(1) For example, neither of the two most recent excellent studies of Surabaya by William H. Frederick, Visions and heat: The making of the Indonesian revolution (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1989) and H. W. Dick, Surabaya, city of work: A socioeconomic history, 1900-2000 (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2002) discuss the organisation of the Surabaya workforce after 1926. Indeed, Dick argues that ‘The rebellion nonetheless marked the end of any organised trade union activity until after the Japanese occupation’ (p. 64). Peter Boomgaard has published a brief survey of some of the major unexplored themes of the 1930s–what he refers to as ‘the dullest phase of the Indonesian labour movement before the War in the Pacific’–in ‘Labour in Java in the 1930s’, Working Papers on Asian labour, changing labour relations in Asia project (Amsterdam; International Institute of Social History, n.d.). On the labour movement to 1926, see John Ingleson, In search of justice: Workers and unions in colonial Java, 1908-1926 (Singapore: Oxford University Press, 1986), Ruth T. McVey, The rise of Indonesian communism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1965) and Takashi Shiraishi, An age in motion: Popular radicalism in Java, 1921-1926 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990).

(2) John Ingleson, ‘The legacy of colonial labour unions in Indonesia’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 47, 1 (2001): 85-100.

(3) I have discussed the broader theme in John Ingleson, ‘Labour unions and the provision of social security in colonial Java’, Asian Studies Review, 24, 4 (2000): 471-500.

(4) For a comprehensive history of this port city, refer to Dick, Surabaya: City of work.

(5) John Ingleson, ‘Urban wage labour in colonial Java: The growth of a skilled labour force’, in Wage labour and social change, ed. Michael Pinches and Salem Lakha (Melbourne: Monash papers on Southeast Asia, 16, 1987), pp. 141-58.

(6) For a discussion of the 1925 strikes, see Ingleson, In search of justice, chapter 6.

(7) On Perhimpunan Indonesia, see Harry H. Poeze, In het land van de overheerser. Indonesiers in Nederland 1600-1950 (Dordrecht, Holland: Foris Publications, 1986) and John Ingleson, Perhimpunan Indonesia and the Indonesian nationalist movement 1923-1928 (Melbourne: Monash University papers on Southeast Asia, 1975).

(8) Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia, 18 Jan. 1928.

(9) For a discussion of the symbolism, refer to an article in Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia, 21 Nov. 1928.

(10) What Frederick calls the ‘new privayi’; see Frederick, Visions and heat, especially ch. 2.

(11) For portraits of Sutomo, see Savitri Prastiti Scherer, Keselarasan dan kejanggalan: Pemikiran-pemikiran priayi nasionalis Jawa awal abad XX (Jakarta: Sinar Harapan, 1975); Benedict R. O’G. Anderson, ‘A time of darkness and a time of light: Transposition in early Indonesian nationalist thought’, in Benedict R. O’G. Anderson, Language and power: Exploring political culture in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1990); Robert Van Neil, The emergence of the modern Indonesian elite (The Hague: Van Hoeve, 1970) and Susan Abeyasekere, ‘Partai Indonesia Raja, 1936-1942: A study in cooperative nationalism’, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 3, 2 (1972): 262-76; see also the memoirs of Sutomo: Kenang-kenangan dokter Soetomo, ed. Paul W. van der Veur (Jakarta: Sinar Harapan, 1984).

(12) Soeloeh Indonesia, Dec. 1926, in Overzicht van de Inlandsche en Maleisch-Chineesch Pers (Survey of the Native and Malay-Chinese Press–hereafter IPO), 1 Jan. 1927, pp. 14-15.

(13) The report was published in Soeloeh Indonesia, Mar. 1926. It was reprinted in lava Bode, 27 Mar. 1926.

(14) While only a small proportion of urban workers were literate, it was common for Indonesian- (and Javanese-) language newspapers and magazines to be read aloud in the kampung. The tone and form of some of the articles was shaped by this aural society. The best example is the magazine, Fikiran Ra’jat, edited and largely written by Sukarno in 1932 and 1933. Its language, its humour and its pithy comments had listeners as much as readers in mind.

(15) Soeloeh Indonesia Moeda, June 1932, p. 80. ‘The labour unions as a primary mass organisation must serve to increase the power of the fighters for Indonesian Independence by bringing them into contact with the broad masses. There must he strong co-operation between the party of the people and the labour unions.’

(16) There was a minority view–held most clearly by the leaders of the Bandung-based railway workers’ union (PBST) which catered primarily for state railways workers and the numerous teachers’ unions that leadership should be restricted to workers in the industry.

(17) See Soeara Oemoem, 13 May 1933 which reported the establishment of a Catholic Teachers’ Union. It urged Indonesian workers to pay attention to the lessons from overseas where labour unions divided on religious lines were weakened. Refer to Fadjar Asia, 4 Apr. and 3 July 1929 for reports of the PSI Surabaya branch urging the establishment of labour unions for Muslims; also comments by R. P. Suroso, in a speech as chairman of the PVPN (more details later) at its Annual General Meeting in Solo in Dec. 1937. Suroso opposed labour unions organised on religious lines. He argued that in the Netherlands where they were organised on religious lines, they were weaker than in England, Sweden and Denmark where they were not. Kareta Api, Jan. / Feb. / Mar. 1938.

(18) ‘Perkumpulan Sekerdja haroes dipisah dari perkumpulan Politiek dan Igama’, in Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 Apr. 1931.

(19) Soeloeh Indonesia, Mar. 1926, pp. 3-5.

(20) Quoted in Pembrita Kemadjoean, 17/24/31 Mar. 1928.

(21) The most comprehensive discussion of the SKBI is Takashi Shiraishi, ‘Policing the phantom underground’, Indonesia, 63 (1997): 1-46.

(22) Indonesia Bersatoe, 7 July 1928.

(23) See reports in Politiek Politioneele Overzicht (hereafter PPO), July 1929, V 27 Apr. 1929-X8, General State Archives, The Hague (hereafter ARA) and in Indonesia Bersatoe, 28 July and 4-11 Aug. 1928. The PPO were the regular (generally monthly) political intelligence reports prepared for the colonial government by the Attorney-General’s department from information supplied by the Political Intelligence Service and its monitoring of local language magazines and newspapers.

(24) ‘Werkprogram Kita “SKBI'”, enclosed in Attorney-General to Governor-General, 21 Oct. 1929, V 8 Apr. 1930-S7, ARA. The SKBI stated that ‘The SKBI party must hold firmly to the hegemony of the worker and peasant class, it must create a dictatorship of the proletariat, based strictly on the principle of the supremacy of the worker and peasant class. The SKBI party aims to achieve an authentic society, with the worker and peasant class freed from being squeezed by either foreign or indigenous capitalism. The SKBI party will support every party, without regard to religion or race, which shares its revolutionary principles and which wants to unite the workers and peasants with worker and peasant organizations throughout the world.’

(25) See ‘Rapport van de SKBI’, by the ISDP, Batavia, 21 Oct. 1929, p. 16, Stokvis Collection, Bundle 11113, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. Takashi Shiraishi also refers to Marsudi’s reputation in Surabaya, stating that ‘When he was arrested in Nov. 1926, he provided the Surabaya PID with important information which led to the arrest of “several PKI leaders who had eluded the police till that moment”. He was released as a reward.’ Refer to: ‘Policing the phantom underground’, p. 11.

(26) PPO, Feb. 1929, in V11 Sept. 1929-N 18, ARA. Government reports also referred to the lack of trust between Marsoedi and PNI leaders in Bandung.

(27) Assistant Wedono, Political Intelligence Service Surabaya, Secret Report, 16 July 1929, enclosed in Attorney-General to Governor-General, 30 July 1929, V30 Sept. 1929-O19, ARA.

(28) ‘Rapport over de SKBI’, by the ISDP, Batavia 21 Oct. 1929, pp. 19-20, Stokvis collection, Bundle 111-13, International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam. Of the 23 arrested in Surabaya, 20 were released. All 20 arrested in Solo were also released with clear warnings. One of those released was a worker in the state railways in Surabaya; he was warned that the only union he could join in the future was the European-controlled Spoorbond. Another was an employee at one of Surabaya’s major printing houses. He was re-employed but on lower wages.

(29) PPO, July 1929, in V10 Mar. 1930-C5, ARA.

(30) Sutomo believed that one of the major reasons why the Indonesian Study Club would be successful in organising labour unions, whereas others before it had failed, was because a broad range of Indonesians respected it, from the aristocrats to the common people. This respect was because they knew that all of its activities were based on the principles of “kebenaran, keadilan dan ketjintaan’ [Honesty, Justice and Devotion]. See speech reported in Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia, 7 Aug. 1929.

(31) PPO, Nov. 1929, in V10 Mar. 1930-C5, ARA.

(32) Ibid.

(33) Ibid. At a course meeting of the Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia in Jan. 1930, Sutomo was reported to have stated that a successful strike could only occur ‘… at a time when international trade was strong, and when there was solidarity between leaders and members, which can only be realised through organizational discipline and the possession of a powerful fighting fund …’ PPO, Jan. 1930, in V26 May 1931-V9, ARA.

(34) See discussion in Ingleson, In search of justice, chapters 3 and 5.

(35) PPO Mar. 1930, in V26 May 1931-V9, ARA.

(36) There are portraits of Thamrin in Susan Abeyasekere, One hand clapping: Indonesian nationalists and the Dutch 1939-1942 (Melbourne: Monash papers on Southeast Asia, 5, 1976) and William I. O’Malley, ‘Indonesia in the Great Depression: A study of East Sumatra and Jogjakarta in the 1930s’ (Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, Ithaca, 1977), chapter 5.

(37) Sutomo to Thamrin, 10 Sept. 1929, enclosed in Attorney-General to Governor-General, 23 July 1930, Secret Mail Report 1930/727, ARA. The copy of this document sent to the colonial office in The Hague contains a footnote stating that the emphasis was in the original.

(38) The speech is reported in PPO Jan. 1932 in Secret Mail Report 1932/268, ARA. Gatot Mangkupradja, PNI activist, union organiser in Bandung and Batavia and for a while, editor of the railway workers union journal Kareta Api, argued along similar lines to Sutomo. In an editorial in 1928, he reminded readers that the PBST was not involved with matters of politics or religion. The PBST was a labour union, while the PNI (of which he was a member) was a political party. PBST members were free to join the PNI and as long as PNI activities did not in any way interfere with the PBST it was content to be supportive of it. Kareta Api, Oct. 1928.

(39) See the report of the speech by Susanto in Oetoesan Indonesia, 17 Oct. 1932.

(40) The grievances of taxi drivers were manifold. They complained of arbitrary treatment from the Surabaya police (all of whom were either Dutch or Eurasian), including abusive language and being regularly booked for transgressing regulations that they did not understand because they were in Dutch. Moreover, they complained of daily arrests for minor offences, such as having a broken light, speeding or using the horn too frequently, and of being fined or even imprisoned by the courts without being able to defend themselves properly because the court proceedings were beyond their understanding. See Fadjar Asia, 12 Mar. 1929 and Frederick, Visions and heat, p. 5.

(41) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 Apr. 1931.

(42) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 July 1931.

(43) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 Sept. 1931.

(44) Soeara Oemoem, 8 July 1932.

(45) See, for example, reports of a speech by Reksoadmidjojo at Kudus in Aug. 1931, Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 31 Aug. 193 I, and of Oerip Kasansingari at Jember in July 1931, Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 July 1931. Employers also placed considerable pressure on workers who joined labour unions. Sometimes, though, they were outsmarted by workers. The story was told of a Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia member who was seen looking at his membership card by his employer. The employer demanded to know what it was and when told, got very angry. The story continued:

‘Boss was very angry and said: “For God’s sake, do you want to oppose me in this way?” I answered,

“Oh no sir, the reason I went to an SCI course was to understand from the executive such things as:

Drivers must drive a car with care

Drivers must look after their car

Drivers must behave in a respectful way

Drivers must wear clean clothes

Drivers must live a thrifty life.”

On hearing this, the employer expressed satisfaction with the union.’

Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 31 Mar. 1931.

(46) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 Apr. 1931.

(47) Soeara Oemoern, 3 Feb. 1931.

(48) The Indonesian National Bank was established on 20 Oct. 1929. It developed from the Bank Bumiputra established by the Indonesian Study Club some 18 months earlier. In its short life, the Bank Bumiputra received some 269 loan requests, totalling 152,000 guilders. The decision to convert the Bank Bumuputra into a limited liability company was to enable it to expand its operations. It had a share capital of 500,000 guilders, with shareholding restricted to Indonesians. The prospectus was advertised widely in Indonesian language newspapers. The Indonesian National Bank was established after some months of debate between the Indonesian Study Club and the PSI as to whether charging interest on loans was permitted by Islam. The Study Club had argued for a national bank to be established by the PPPKI, but the first Congress of the PPPKI in 1929 abandoned the idea after strong opposition from the PSI. The Study Club decided to go ahead on its own, publishing a series of articles in its newspaper by one of its members, Fakih Hasin, which argued that charging interest on loans was permissible. Soeara BOW, Dec. 1928; Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia, 2 May 1928 and 21 Oct. 1928; Soeara Oemoem, 25 Feb. 1932.

(49) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 Apr. 1931. The SCI credit cooperative was established in Apr. 1929 with just 13 members. At the end of 1931, it had 99 members and over a two-and-a-half year period had loaned 19,997.50 guilders to members. Soeara Oemoem, 3 Feb. 1932.

(50) Soeloeh Ra’jat Indonesia, 30 May 1931.

(51) Take the example of Ruslan Wongsokusumo. Ruslan was born in 1910 in Madura. He worked as a postal assistant at the Surabaya Post Office, then as a bookkeeper with the NHM in Surabaya and later as a bookkeeper with Japanese companies in Surabaya. In May 1930, he was chairman of the PSSI Central Executive, chairman of three affiliated unions (Persatuan Personeel Drukkerij Indonesia, Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia and Sarekat Sekerdja Indonesia), a commissioner of the PNI Surabaya branch and a prominent member of the Indonesian Study Club. He was also the chairman of the Pasar Malam committee in Surabaya in the 1930s and when the PBI established schools from 1932, he was again deeply involved.

(52) PPO, Aug. 1929 in V 10 Mar. 1930-C5, ARA.

(53) PPO, Apr. 1930, in V 26 May 1931-V9, ARA.

(54) PPO, Sept. 1929, in V 10 Mar. 1930-C5, ARA.

(55) The extraordinary conference of the PBKI, at Surabaya 22 May 1932, formally decided that the PBKI would seek to bring all rail and tram workers throughout Indonesia into the PBKI. Soeara Oemoem, 25 May 1932.

(56) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 July 1931.

(57) Attorney-General to Governor-General, 22 Sept. 1933; enclosed in Secret Mail Report 1933/1137, ARA.

(58) Soeara Oemoem, 27 Jan. 1932; Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 30 Aug. 1931.

(59) Reports in PPO Jan. 1932 in V 26 May 1931-V 9, ARA.

(60) Ingleson, In search of justice, pp. 124-7, 214-17 and McVey, The rise of Indonesian communism, chapters 4-8, especially pp. 101-54.

(61) In 1939, the PVPN had 16 member unions with around 36,000 members. About one in four of the Indonesians employed by the colonial government was a union member. The largest unions were: the teachers’ unions (about 13,000); the rail and tramway workers’ unions (about 8,000); the post and telegraph workers’ unions (about 5,000); the union for workers in the irrigation and water services (about 2,600); and the pawnshop workers’ union (about 2,300). See, ‘Verslag van het Congres Perstoean Vakbond Pegawai Negeri [PVPN] op 28 en 29 Januari 1939 te Bandung’, in V 3 Nov. 1939-M 46, ARA.

(62) John Ingleson, Road to exile: The Indonesian nationalist movement, 1927-1934 (Singapore: Heinemann Educational Books, 1979), pp. 122-4.

(63) Fadjar Asia, 4 June 1930. A PSSI meeting at Jombang in mid-Aug. 1930 attracted an audience of about 1,500. Sutomo spoke on the separation between labour unions and politics, Anwari spoke on the purpose of labour unions and Ruslan Wongsokusumo spoke on labour movements overseas, especially in Europe. At the conclusion of the meeting, 80 people enrolled in a local branch of the PSSI. Keng Po, 18 Aug. 1930, in IPO, 1930, No. 35, p. 358.

(64) At a conference in Surabaya on 30 Aug. 1931 between a visiting delegation from the Netherlands Trade Union Federation (NW) and representatives from the PSSI and the PVPN, a commission was established to investigate a fusion between the PSSI and the PVPN. Nothing came of this, probably because by 1932, the PSSI had come increasingly under the influence of Partindo and PNI Baru activists who viewed the PVPN as a conservative organisation for the better paid elite. PPO Aug. 1931 in Secret Mail Report 1931/979, ARA. Ruslan Wongsokusumo states in his article in Soeara Oemoern, 28 Jan. 1932, that the SSI people had been influential in preventing the PSSI from proceeding with plans to unite with the PVPN because they considered the PVPN to be a slave of the government.

(65) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 31 July 1931.

(66) Soeara Oemoern, 11 Mar. 1932.

(67) PPO, Apr. 1930, V 26 May 1931-V9, ARA.

(68) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 Apr. 1931.

(69) This is an estimate by Bintang Timoer, 19 Aug. 1930, quoted in PPO Aug. / Sept. 1930 in V26 May 1931-V9, ARA.

(70) PPO Mar. 1931 in Secret Mail Report 1931/496, ARA.

(71) PPO Mar. 1933 in Secret Mail Report 1933/528, ARA. In Nov. 1931, the PBKI lamented that, despite its best efforts most railway workers had not ,joined. It put forward four reasons to explain this: often they are content and therefore see no reason to join; they are frightened that they will be dismissed from work or suffer other restrictions if they join; they are frightened that if they are involved in a labour union meeting they will be investigated by the police or a local government official; and, finally, they have decided to give in. Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 Nov. 1931.

(72) Soeara Oemoem, 28 and 30 Jan. 1932.

(73) Soeara Oemoem, 3 Feb. and 15 Apr. 1932.

(74) Soeara Oemoem, 28 Jan. 1932.

(75) Soeara Boeroeh Indonesia, 15 and 30 May, 15 June and 31 Oct. 1931; Mustika, 6 May 1931.

(76) Soeara Oemoem, 2 Jan. 1932.

(77) Soeara Oemoern, 28 Jan. 1932.

(78) See, ‘Report on the first Indonesian Workers’ congress held at Surabaya, 4-7 May 1933′, enclosed in Adviser for Native Affairs to Governor-General, 29 May 1933, Secret Mail Report 1933/689, ARA.

(79) The first two paragraphs of the CPBI statutes read:

1. Maintain and improve the destiny of Indonesian workers in all areas (social, economic and political)

2. Strive to create a socialist means of production

Soeara Oemoem, 18 May 1933.

(80) ‘Politiek dan Pergerakan Sekerdja’, Soeara Oemoem, 31 May 1933. Sukarno’s response was published in Fikiran Ra’jat, 43-48, May-June 1933 and reprinted as ‘Bolehkah Serekat Sekerdja berpolitik?’ in Dibawah Bendera Revolusi, vol. 1, Jakarta, 1965, pp. 227-35.

(81) Sutomo had already withdrawn as adviser to the Sarekat Chauffeur Indonesia because he believed that it had started to adopt a more outspokenly political agenda. ‘Report on the first Indonesian Workers’ Congress held at Surabaya, 4-7 May 1933′, enclosed in Adviser for Native Affairs to Governor-General, 29 May 1933, Secret Mail Report 1933/689, ARA. A critical editorial in Soeara Oemoem on 15 May 1933 stated that previous efforts to create labour union federations built on politics failed because member unions all followed different political directions.

(82) He argued: ‘that in my opinion the leadership of Surabaya unions is not in the hands of independent people schooled in labour union issues. Also the promoter, Dr Sutomo, in recent times, appears to be rather energetic. The words of Dr Sutomo may also lead to the disturbance of public order, because he has said that in a labour organisation, a struggle between employers and employees cannot be avoided and that a labour organisation without struggle is impossible, and that the action of a labour organisation is never only directed against the employer but also against the government.’

Attorney-General to Governor-General, 23 July 1930, Secret Mail Report 1930/927, ARA.

(83) The sharper tone of PBKI meetings can be seen in a report on a propaganda tour through the railway towns on the state railways network of East Java in early June 1933 by central executive members Oedin and Djojosuprapto. When asked by state railways workers what the difference was between the PBKI and the Bandung-based PBST, Oedin is reported to have answered that ‘the PBST seeks to improve the destiny of its members along a path of quiet negotiation with employers, while the PBKI moves along the path of education and consciousness raising of Indonesian railway workers about their rights as workers, in order that through the power of united action, full of a spirit raging strongly and unwaveringly, they bravely struggle to demand and defend an improved destiny’. Soeara Oemoem, 15 June 1933.

(84) The PBST journal, Kareta Api, was highly critical of the PBKI.

(85) See reprint in Soeara Oemoem, 25 Feb. 1932. The PBKI leadership strongly rejected the assertion, stating that the PBKI had emerged from within the workers themselves because the PBST had shown very little interest in railway workers in the private companies. It denied that the PBKI mixed politics with labour union activity but asked the rhetorical question of who in the Indonesian labour movement was not also interested in politics? It further asserted that while the PBKI often sought advice from Sutomo, he did not control the union and it was totally concerned with labour issues.

(86) PPO, May 1933 in Secret Mail Report 1933/835, ARA.

(87) Ibid.

(88) Chairman CvB (Vorster) to Chairman RvB, No. 82, 1 Mar. 1933, NIS Archives, Box 272, ARA.

(89) Soeara Oemoern, 16 May 1933.

(90) Chairman CvB (Vorster) to Chairman RvB, No. 93, 6 June 1933, NIS Archives, Box 272, ARA.

(91) Chairman CvB (Vorster) to Chairman RvB, No. 94, 19 June 1933, NIS Archives, Box 272, ARA.

(92) See Ingleson, Road to exile, pp. 215-16.

(93) Hoofioureau van Politie Semarang, Afdeeling Politieke Inlichtingen Dienst, 13 July 1933, in Secret Mail Report 1933/879, ARA.

(94) Soeara Oemoem, 11 July 1933.

(95) Ibid.

(96) Daulat Ra’jat, the journal of the PNI Baru, called on NIS workers to stand firm even if many were dismissed because the Company could not dismiss everyone. It described the government’s reaction as a symptom of the crisis of capitalism. Daulat Ra’jat, 20 July 1933. Dr Sukiman, closely connected to the PNI Baru, a prominent member of the Pawnshop Workers’ Union, adviser to other unions in Yogyakarta and editor of Oetoesan Indonesia, the daily newspaper owned by the pawnshop workers’ union, delivered a strong speech at the July Congress of the Union in which he stated that the PPPB ‘… supports and helps this labour union action. All labour unions are united’. Doenia Pegadaian, 25 Aug. 1933.

(97) Doenia Pegadaian, 25 Aug. 1933. PBI members are reported to have argued against the passive resistance at a meeting of the Semarang branch of the PBKI which eventually decided to urge workers not to abide by the NIS demand that they withdraw from the PBKI. They reportedly argued that the PBKI had little power against the NIS and had little chance of success. They urged members to consider the suffering which would be inflicted on their families if they were dismissed. Their view was that as they could not win, they should withdraw from the PBKI and the branch executive should follow a ‘diplomatic’ route and seek discussions with NIS management.

(98) The State Railways banned membership on 21 Aug. 1933 on the grounds of the close connection between the PBKI and PNI Baru / Partindo, both of which were prohibited organisations for government employees from 27 June.

Imagined Communities in Cyberspace. Kisah orang2 Indo-ambon dulu dan sekarang

Imagined Communities in Cyberspace

Pentecost, Kathryn, Social Alternatives
The growth of new technologies, particularly the internet, has allowed new communities of people to imagine themselves. These communities are linked by emotions, mutual interest and sometimes by a common curiosity to uncover hidden or silenced voices and stories. In this case, I am excited by the possibility of connection, dialogue and interchange offered by Facebook and my ‘imagined community’ of Dutch-Indonesians/Indos who are travelling a new road together to exchange knowledge about their hybrid family histories in what was once the Dutch East/Netherlands Indies and is now Indonesia.

Communities can be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined (Anderson 1991, 6).

On 17 August 1945, after approximately 350 years of Dutch colonial rule (and several years of the British interregnum 1811-1816), Indonesia was proclaimed merdeka (independent) by Sukarno and Matta, and Indonesia as a nation began its period of struggle and consolidation. During the period known as Bersiap (purge) after the end of World War Il and before the Dutch relinquished their claims to the archipelago, many Europeans, Indo-Europeans and Ambonese were slaughtered or terrorised by pemuda (young men) with the fire of revolution in their bellies. In the words of author Hans Meijer, translated from Dutch by Rob Kramer:

In Batavia (now Jakarta), posters called for the extermination of ‘Indische parasites’ and the slogan ‘Death to the Ambonese and Indos’ could be read on a building. The radical Indonesian populist leader Soetomo called for a vendetta against Indo-European bloodhounds …

Torture them to death, root out those watchdogs of colonialism … Brave warriors of Indonesia, countless generations of oppressed ancestors look down upon you. Their immortal spirits demand your revenge! Vendetta!’ (Meijer 2004 [1945], n.p., quoted on Facebook, Dutch-Indonesian discussion group, June 2010)

Many survivors of Japanese internment camps were forced to go on the run or stay in the camps with their former camp guards acting as protectors, until Allied forces could rescue them.

In the twentieth century, Indonesians had suffered greatly through the economic depression of the 1930s and from the colonial repression of nationalist expression (McKay 1976, 136). Sukarno and Matta had been tried and imprisoned. For ordinary people, the hope that the Javanese prophecy of Jabayaya would come to pass must have seemed palpable by the time of the Pacific War (McKay 1976, 136). The Javanese prophecy essentially pictured the ‘little yellow chicken’ (the Japanese) driving out ‘the white buffalo’ (the Dutch), to make way for the rule of Ratu Adii (a rightful king) – though Sukarno claimed that he never directly exploited people’s superstitions that he was Ratu Adii (McKay 1976, 136).

During 1945-1949, while the new ‘community’ of Indonesia was being established, several hundred thousand people who had called the Dutch East Indies ‘home’ were now being forced to consider their fate. After 1949, most would have to leave Indonesia, never to return again; many reminisced in the years to come about tempo dulu (times past/paradise lost) in the place they sometimes referred to as ‘the Belt of Emerald’. These traumatised migrants to countries such as the Netherlands, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia would often not explain more than fragments of their experiences to their children and grandchildren; they were silent for personal reasons or because of societal conditions in their adopted homelands.

In my own case, my maternal family lived in what is now Indonesia for approximately 240 years, from the early nineteenth century until 1949. The family were composed primarily of Dutch men who married Dutch or German women and brought them to the colony, or who married or lived with Javanese women (Lutter 1992). I am also descended from Javanese Muslim Raden (royalty): both male and female ancestors who lived mostly in Jawa Tengah (Central Java) and Jawa Timur (East Java). My great-great-grandfather, Raden Hadje Abdulhamed Djochria, had made the pilgrimage to Mecca, as symbolised by the inclusion of ‘Hadje’ in his name (Gillissen 2011). To add to the complex family ‘melting pot’, my maternal grandfather was a European Jew, tried and slaughtered by the Japanese for being a resistance fighter in the Corsica underground operating out of Malang. According to unofficial estimates, he was one of only about 2,000 Jews living in either Java or Sumatra in the 1930s (Cassuto 2005-2011).

In 1856, W. L. Ritter, writing De Europeanen in Nederlandsche Indie, explicitly set out to describe who was a ‘European’:

We count as European all those with white faces, who are not born in the Indies, all Dutch, English, French, Germans … even North Americans… Readers, … a European … in the Indies is an entirely different being than in his own country … There, he identifies himself so much with all that surrounds him that he no longer can be considered as a European, at least for the duration of his stay in the Indies, but rather as belonging to a specific caste of the Indische population … whose morals, customs and habits are certainly worthy of close examination. (Ritter 1856, 6, quoted in Stoler 1995, 104)

Ritter’s book expressed the colonial anxiety that Europeans coming to settle in the Indies would fall prey to the markedly different culture that existed in the colony as distinct from the ‘mother country’, the Netherlands. The Dutch even had different words to distinguish ‘real whites’ (echte) from ‘creole whites’ (mestizen) but the reality of life in the Indies was that intimate relationships between the Dutch, Javanese and other ethnic and cultural groups had been going on for hundreds of years. Prior to the arrival of the Dutch, Chinese, Portuguese, Indians and Arabs had come to the archipelago to trade; some of these groups had also settled there and intermarried.

Despite Dutch (and British) colonialism, Indonesia was always and continues to be a place of diversity, ethnically, culturally and spiritually. The most populous Muslim nation on earth, Indonesia has 240 million people, 700 local languages and 300 distinct ethnic groups living in the approximately 6,000 inhabited islands throughout the archipelago (Jackman 2011). The motto of the Republic of Indonesia, ‘Unity in Diversity’, certainly reflects this. During the late colonial period, however, colonial administrators of the Indies were concerned about how to define Dutch citizenship (burgerrecht) and shore up ‘civilised morals’, and so attempted to enforce sanctions against inter-racial marriage (Stoler 1995, 120-1). According to Ann Laura Stoler, perhaps the foremost authority on Dutch colonial racism, The family, as Foucault warned, was not a haven from the sexualities of a dangerous outside world but the site of its production. Colonial authorities knew it only too well’ (2002, 153).

The colonisers and the colonised were classified under the Tripartite Racial Policy as ‘European’, ‘Native’ and Other Foreign Oriental/Chinese’ (Wiseman 2000, 1). Roger Wiseman contended that this classification system was by no means simple or transparent and that the ‘majority of those identified as European’ were actually ‘Indo-Europeans’ (or ‘Chinese-Europeans’) (2000, 1). Furthermore, Stoler suggested that the lateness of the prohibition against intermarriage was part and parcel of a wider socio-political agenda designed to slow the decline of the colonisers’ power. Classification by race meant difference of opportunity in education, career and entitlement to social welfare (Stoler 1995, 120-1). By the 1940s, 250,000 people in the Indies were classed as ‘Europeans’ – though many (if not most) of these people were actually Indo-Europeans (Krancher 1996, 5).

In Australia, it has been my experience that until recently I have not been able to fully contextualise the stories of my maternal family from the Indies/Indonesia. For most of my life, I have felt as though we were some sort of historical anomaly; fundamentally ‘illegitimate’ in the scheme of things. For instance, I have always felt that, although on the surface we were as Australian as anyone else, underneath it all our differences from the mainstream made us less entitled to claim our national identity with quite the same vigour as those from a wholly Anglo-Protestant background. It has also been my experience that people who were born here and whose families have lived here for several generations tend not to understand what I am talking about. When they look at me, they do not see any strong visual differences that signal my Otherness’ and so they are quite surprised when I mention the Indies/Indonesia as the home of my maternal ancestors.

In 2009 I discovered a community of people who immediately understood my situation. Not only did they understand my ‘hybrid ancestry’ but they were keen to exchange stories and information about Indonesia’s history including Dutch colonialism, World War 2, life under Japanese occupation and the period known as the Bersiap. The second and third generation descendants of those who left Indonesia after independence have now located the diaspora imaginatively in Cyberspace.

On Facebook: Dutch-Indonesian discussion group and The Indo Project website, individuals add their voices to an open-ended community of people whose description is based on the term ‘Indo’ – an abbreviation of the term ‘Indo-European’, though the term ‘Indo’ is neither universally agreed upon or one that only encompasses Dutch-Indonesian ‘mixtures’. In addition to discussions, internet contributors add a wealth of family photographs, often showing warm scenes of ‘mixed-blood’ families before World War 2, mostly in Java and Sumatra.

Both the Facebook group of ‘Dutch-Indonesians’ and The Indo Project website are locations where cultural transmission and interaction regularly take place. The ‘Indos1 on Facebook and The Indo Project encompass a wide variety of people of mixed ethnicity who are descendants of the diaspora of original inhabitants of the Indies, including, for instance, even someone of ScottishChinese ancestry. The ‘style’ in which the community is imagined is pluralistic, fluid, inclusive and empathetic. The community is also curious, communicative, multilingual and multi-faceted. Participants engage in detailed discussions about history, culture, language and family heritage. On Facebook, one can participate in any or all of a number of streams of discussion; for instance: ‘Spelling reform in Bahasa Indonesia’, ‘Books’, ‘Movies’, 1Do you feel more of a connection with Holland or with present day Indonesia?’ or even one entitled The Asian Squat’. In such discussions usually three languages are used – English, Dutch and Bahasa Indonesia – and participants also help one another with translations from one language to another, and between older and newer versions of Indonesia’s official language (once known as ‘Administrative Malay’). Within these contexts, participants may meet up with long-lost (or unknown) relatives and/or uncover previously hidden dimensions of their family history. Because the Bersiap was such a traumatic period for our relatives, most Dutch-Indonesians on Facebook are trying to fill in the missing pieces of their family histories by discussing the period with one another. Discussion of history is not confined, however, to the late colonial period, as many families have roots in the archipelago going back (on the European side) for a number of generations, and on the Indonesian side for hundreds of years.

Due to my interaction on Facebook, I have recently discovered several relatives across the world; all descendants of an extended clan of van de Poels/van der Poels – some of whom originally came from the Netherlands to South Africa and then to the Indies. Many were born and/or settled all across Java, from Jakarta (Batavia) to Bandung, Garut, Tegal, Semarang, Ngawi, Madiun, Kediri, Besuki, Surabaya, Malang, Pasuruan, Probolinggo, Jember and Puger. Among these relatives, there is a young Muslim relative (saudara) living in Yogyakarta who contacted me on the ‘Indo’ (DutchIndonesian) site via a discussion board called ‘What is your family name?’ So far, we have had extensive online discussions about our ancestors while trying to unravel the complexities of the family tree information that is written in Dutch. Among other things, she and I have also discussed the efforts of relatives trying to protect the graves of ancestors in Tegal, West Java, which are still being defiled by those seeking to erase any traces of Dutch colonialism. ‘Why should they protect those graves if they don’t have any respect for these “Europeans”?’ she asks.

Organised by some of the participants of the DutchIndonesian discussion group on Facebook is The Indo Project, a USA-based not-for-profit organisation with a colourful website that offers historical information, blogs and sumptuous personal photographs of Indo families, Indo culture and old maps of the Indies. The intention of the organisation is to preserve ‘Indo heritage and culture’ and to act as a ‘source of education’ to raise awareness of the ‘role of Indos in society and history’ Indo Project (2009, 1). To this end, the organisation is also engaged in documenting on digital video the personal stories of the survivors of World War 2 and the Indonesian revolution.

Older ‘Indos’ and their descendants outside Indonesia are controversial because they are often considered (by contemporary Indonesians and postcolonial academics) as part of the legacy of colonialism. Young ‘Indos’ are also controversial within Indonesia, in the sense that they are often stereotyped as coming from ‘affluent or regal’ families (Kebon 2011, 2). In addition, for many years the Indonesian entertainment industry has capitalised on the ‘perceived charm and allure’ of these ‘honey-milk skinned’ people who feel that they are trapped inside unrealistic social expectations of achieving high levels of fame and success (Kebon 2011, 2). The online quarterly, Inside Indonesia, has recently published a series of articles on ‘being Indo’ which has highlighted both historical and contemporary issues about ‘bicultural’ Indonesians (2011).

While Benedict Andersen’s quotation about the ‘style’ in which communities can be imagined emerges from his book about the evolution of nation-states in a time of expanding print capitalism, perhaps it still offers a way into thinking about ‘communities’ in general. In this twentyfirst-century era of cyber communication, there are many ways to traverse and challenge national boundaries and concepts of national identity. The internet- through email, social networking sites, personal blogs, online publications, podcasts and other forms – offers myriad opportunities for people all over the world to reconceptualise themselves as both individuals and communities. Indeed, within the ‘Indo’ diaspora, Cyberspace is a realm where people can ease some of their persistent heimwee (homesickness) and where younger generations can uncover the background to the more traumatic parts of the family stories that their parents and grandparents have been reluctant to share. It can, perhaps, also be a place to heal the wounds of the past as well as move with dignity into the future. Within Indonesia, Cyberspace is certainly an avenue for young ‘Indos’ to discuss social expectations, consider how to shape their own destiny and perhaps even influence the evolution of their nation’s identity.


Nationalism in Southeast Asia: Revisiting Kahin, Roff, and Anderson.

Nationalism in Southeast Asia: Revisiting Kahin, Roff, and Anderson.

by Terence Chong


Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. By George McTurnan Kahin. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1952.

The Origins of Malay Nationalism. By William R. Roff. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994 (1967).

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. By Benedict R.O’G. Anderson. London; New York: Verso, 1991 (1983).

Keywords: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, indigenous religions, “western education”, social radicals and communists.


Area studies and research into nationalism in Southeast Asia have always mutually reaffirmed each other. Their shared premises like clear territorial boundaries, the centrality of language and culture, and the notion that both must be studied ‘from within’, have shaped the development of Southeast Asian scholarship since Second World War (WWII). The result of which has been a very unproblematized understanding ‘place’ where the sites of nationalist sentiments or cultures have clean perimeters for fieldwork. Another consequence of this mutual affirmation is the search for patterns and common characteristics for generalization. As such, the Southeast Asian literature identifies three general historical sources of nationalism.

The first is through the vehicle of indigenous religions. From Burma’s Young Man’s Buddhist Association in 1906 to the Indonesian mass political movement, Sarekat Islam, in 1912 that brought all Indonesian Muslims together under its banner of reformist Muslim ideas, religion has been a fertile ground for the animation of nationalist sentiments. Religion’s indigeneity as a cultural system and its hermeneutical isolation from colonial influence has long provided a conducive space for anti-colonialist and nationalist awareness to nurture. The second is through “western education”. Examples include Burma’s new “western educated” elite who worked with Buddhist monks and other Burmese, while in the Philippines the “western educated” leaders first fought against Spain, but later worked with the United State, and most effectively, Singapore’s People’s Action Party comprising middle class English-educated Chinese who went on to form a single party state. The narrative of the “western educated” is the post-colonial tale of the native who is educated in the ways of the west only to find that he is not equal to the Westerner. The anticolonial struggle, even though it enlists the arguments of local culture, is thus primarily fought with the vocabulary of the Enlightenment whereby the concepts of ‘freedom’, ‘equality’ and ‘dignity’ are harnessed to reject the projection of the colony or dependency as a possession of the metropolis. The third is contact with social radicals and communists. The Malayan Communist Party, the Indonesian Communist Party, and the Vietnamese communists who took control of the nationalist movement in the 1930s are cases in point.

Few other texts have shaped the way areas studies and nationalism have been conceived more than George Kahin’s Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia, William Roff’s The Origins of Malay Nationalism, and Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. Published in 1952 and 1967 respectively, Kahin’s Nationalism and Revolution and Roff’s Origins emerged in the golden period of Southeast Asian area studies. It is no coincidence that the promotion and funding of Southeast Asian area studies as a matter of national interest for the U.S. Government also led to the keen attention to the stirrings of nationalist consciousness and subsequent anti-colonial struggle that played out in the region.

From the “Accidents of Agency” to Activism

For many Euro-American men, there were two major routes that led them to Southeast Asian area studies: their participation in either WWII or the Vietnam War or in the Peace Corps (Rafael 1999). Both entailed travel opportunities, extended residence, and sustained contact, hostile as well as friendly, with the peoples of the region, not to mention the need to learn their languages and histories. George Kahin’s Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia is a prime example. Both routes, as Rafael notes, privileged white men, allowing them to step into enormously unequal power relationships. On the one hand, wars and the regimes they install invariably place white men in the position of colonizers vis-a-vis local populations while on the other, the developmentalist altruism of the Peace Corps born in the midst of the Cold War endows the volunteer with considerable privilege backed by the entire apparatus of the American state. Indeed, the American state mediates the conditions that allow for such travel and contact, as well as the inequalities and dependencies that result.

Nevertheless, what is interesting is what Rafael (1999) calls the “accidents of agency”, that is, the series of chance events that leads the Western scholar to build a career and, indeed, devote his life to the region. Take for example the path of George Kahin, who founded Southeast Asian Studies at Cornell University. Kahin’s interest in Asia probably began at the beginning of the Pacific War when he helped campaign on behalf of interned Japanese Americans, urging those who owed the latter money to honour their debts. Enlisting in the U.S. Army, he learnt Bahasa Indonesia and was detailed to be part of the Allied forces that would retake the islands but was, at the last moment, re-assigned to Italy. Still, his interest in Indonesia grew, leading to his field research in 1948 when the revolution against the Dutch was gaining momentum. For a Westerner, Kahin enjoyed unparalleled access to the young Indonesian revolutionaries which resulted in the landmark study notable for its deep sympathy with the nationalist cause. (For a broader biographical context of Kahin’s work see also Kahin (2003); and Anderson (2003).)

The Western scholar as accidental agent who records history unfolding before his eyes has done much to romanticize the region as a site of mystery and danger. And though many of these young American researchers were highly sympathetic to local nationalist struggles not least because they were analogous to the American struggle against the British colonialists, they were also responsible for examining Southeast Asian societies in three historical phases like traditional society, colonial rule and nationalist response, and national independence (McCargo 2006). It can be further argued that the imposition of such markers on unfolding events not only suggests framing these events with a Western concept of linear time, but also allows the researcher to transform himself from accidental agent to an active one by defining a niche and role for himself in the country’s political trajectory. The Western researcher chooses his moment of intervention by marking out phases in a country’s history, and it is invariably the phase that strikes a moral cord with the historio-cultural experience of his society of origin. From accidental intruder, the Western researcher becomes an active participant in society’s march towards nationhood. Or as Daniel Lev (2000) puts it “One can reasonably argue that [Kahin] was above all a research scholar or educator or political activist, each with persuasive evidence. A former student of his once came up with the pat analysis that Kahin had two distinct sides, scholar and activist. It missed the point completely. Kahin drew no lines between the demands of scholarship and those of public engagement or undergraduate and graduate education.”

Nationalism and Revolution became the template for how non-Western societies could be presented, described and analysed for the understanding of a Western readership. The first three chapters, “The Social Environment of Indonesian Nationalism”, “Genesis of the Indonesian Nationalist Movement”, and “History of the Nationalist Movement until 1942”, stand together as a classic ’cause and effect’ analysis of a socio-political phenomenon, seeking to answer the ‘why’, ‘where’ and ‘what’ questions which many thesis today take so much for granted. They also showcase Kahin’s mastery over his Dutch, French and English primary and secondary materials. The majority of Nationalism and Revolution covers the period from 1942, the beginning of the Japanese occupation which broke three centuries of Dutch rule, to the end of the 1940s, the dawn of Indonesian independence.

Kahin’s position as both scholar and participant in the unfolding events provides him with valuable contacts and insight into the behind-the-scenes struggles at various levels. The fruits of which are a blow-by-blow account of the contention between the Dutch and Indonesians after independence, the Indonesian factions and individuals and within the United Nations over the country’s future from chapters seven to twelve. Kahin’s presence, both on the national landscape and the book, is also constantly underlined in his footnotes. Referring to himself in the third person, footnotes like “The Dutch attack was witnessed by the writer who was then in Jogjakarta” (Kahin 1952, p. 337) or “The writer possesses a copy of the text [of the ‘BIO Decree’]. Paraphrases of it which were obviously carefully sifted from the original were seen by the writer in the press while he was still in Indonesia (which he left on May 18, 1949), but he never saw its most pertinent phrases in literal form made public while he was there” (Kahin 1952, p. 387), give the reader a profound sense of agency and accords the writer much legitimacy, not to mention dramatizing the historiographic process.

However, one criticism, albeit mild, is that, because of the tremendously wide array of players in the field which Kahin offers to the reader, there are some under-fleshed personalities which some readers may have deemed important. One example is the intriguing role of Japanese Vice-Admiral Mayeda, navel chief of Java and in charge of naval intelligence for all Indonesia. In 1944, following a relaxing of Japanese public policy, Indonesian leaders were allowed to speak more openly of independence and freedom. Mayeda and his staff established a school for semi-educated youths and arranged for them to be lectured on topics such as nationalism, economics, Marxism, with a “principal emphasis to the study of communism” (Kahin 1952, p. 116). Kahin offers little explanation as to why the head of Japanese naval intelligence chose to teach Marxism and communism to Indonesian youths and, indeed, to agree to “turn over his house to a meeting of the nationalists” that included Soekarno and Hatta even when the Kempeitai was on high alert (Kahin 1952, p. 136). There is little doubt that Mayeda was one of the key players that gave the nationalist movement some traction but Kahin ends his role rather abruptly by noting that, upon the launch of the Indonesian revolution, “Mayeda and his entire staff were quickly jailed” (ibid.).

Despite this, Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia’s status as a key text on nationalism in Indonesia will never be questioned. It has stood the test of time as a first class combination of scholarship and in-the-field reporting. Kahin’s unproblematic simultaneous participation in the worlds of scholarship and activism has been a fine legacy shared by other luminaries from Chomsky to Bourdieu, and it is perhaps more fitting to allow his contemporaries to speak for the man. In a 1953 review of Nationalism and Revolution in the academic journal Political Research Quarterly, Maki (1953, p. 185) wrote:


 Any aspect of the colonial problem is highly controversial today 
 and revolution (or independence) in Indonesia is no exception. 
 Professor Kahin's sympathies are obviously on the side of the 
 Indonesians: for this he will be adversely criticized. Yet he has 
 also mentioned (if he has not stressed) some aspects of Indonesian 
 conduct which are scarcely favourable to their cause. He will also 
 be brought to task for this. Professor Kahin's study may be 
 paralleled, but it's hard to see how it can be superseded for some 
In 2000, upon Kahin’s death, Lev (2000), a close associate and former student, observed:
 Kahin showed little interest in his own prominence, however, and 
 took in stride the disfavour power visits on critics. During the 
 late 1940s or early 1950s, the American government blocked his 
 passport for a time. The New Order government in Indonesia denied 
 him a visa but also awarded him a medal, which sums up nicely his 
 odd impact in high places.
The Autochthonous Malay-educated Intelligentsia The most influential study of Malay colonial society is Roff’s The Origins of Malay Nationalism, published in 1967. A largely retrospective examination of Malay identities and cultural milieus in the colonial era, Roff gathered an impressive amount of Malay literature from periodicals, pamphlets, books and other materials published between the late nineteenth century and the Japanese occupation in order to trace the slow growth of communal, ethnic and national feeling among the Peninsula Malays. According to Roff, although the 1946 rejection of the Malayan Union lent a sense of urgency to the struggle for the Malay soul, the sources of Malay nationalism were certainly diverse. There was the religious-oriented such as the radical Al-Imam (The Leader) periodical first published in 1906 that galvanized younger reformists who became known as Kaum Muda (Young Faction) against the Kaurn Tua (Old Faction), and also voluntary organizations and sports clubs formed by the small aspiring Malay middle class. In their diversity, however, a common strand was the rising tide of anti-colonial sentiment within the Malay community. Arabic education in the early twentieth century produced “a small but challenging group of religio-social reformists” but they were too far located in the periphery cities to make any headway (Roff 1967, p. 126). Meanwhile English-educated Malays, not a large group, were pro-British and too comfortably ensconced in the colonial administration to engage in nationalism.Malay nationalism, according to Roff, arose almost by chance. The seminal Report on Vernacular Education (1917) by Richard Winstedt, the Director of Education of Malaya, was a profound influence on Malay education for a quarter of a century. The report was notable for “the absence of any thoughtful reflection on the aims and effects of vernacular education (such as had been demonstrated by Wilkinson [his predecessor]), or of any concern at all beyond the practical aims of British colonial rule” (Roff 1967, p. 139). In fact, Winstedt’s report laid the foundation for the perpetuation of Malaya’s “agricultural peasantry”, thus famously introducing his “rural bias”. “In his way, he did more to circumscribe Malay educational progress, and to ensure that the Malay peasant did not get ideas above his station, than anyone else before or since” (ibid.). And yet, it was from this circumscribed vernacular education that the “autochthonous Malay-educated intelligentsia” arose.

At the core of this autochthonous Malay-educated intelligentsia were journalists and teachers of the 1920s. This intelligentsia became known for their strong Malay (and Indonesian) literary and political orientation, as well as their cultural vigour. Previously impoverished, Malay education underwent reformation when the Sultan Idris Training College (SITC), a facility for teacher-training, began to emphasize the study, use and development of the Malay language, history and literature. SITC also became responsible for the “rationalizing” of Malay history where the syllabi steered clear of myths and folk stories, and turned to logical arguments in the education of Malay teachers (Mohd Hazim Shah 2007). Students received something akin to a liberal arts education where all lessons were conducted exclusively in the Malay language. Textbooks were imported from the Netherland East Indies, a fact that opened later Malay literary groups to the influence of Indonesian political ideology.

All this resulted in Malay access to higher education and awareness of a Malay literary tradition that brought about the belief that the state should yield to ethnic loyalties. This belief came at a time in the 1920s when there was enough self-confidence amongst the autochthonous Malay intelligentsia to focus political change and discussion on the redefinition of the relationship between the Malays and the British. The ideological fermentation of this Malay intelligentsia continued without contributing much to the public sphere until 1934. On March of that year, the twice-weekly newspaper Saudara, published in Penang by religious reformists introduced a new column–Pa’ Dollah–in its back page, usually reserved for children’s stories and educational articles. The young Kedah Malay journalist Arifin Ishak, assuming the Pa’ Dollah pseudonym, modelled his new column after Lembaga Malaya’s widely popular ‘Pa’ Pandir’ which indulged in wry and often insightful sociopolitical commentary on Malayan society. Arifin’s first Pa’ Dollah article appeared on 31 March 1934, “and from this small beginning grew, beyond all the expectations of its sponsors, the first and one of the largest pan-Malayan Malay organizations to appear before the Second World War” (Roff 1967, p. 212).

For Roff, there is little doubt that the Malay-educated intelligentsia was the epicenter from which anti-colonial and nationalist awareness arose. The religious ulamas were too peripheral to be of much influence while the English-educated Malays were seen as ineffectual and too comfortably positioned within colonial state. Roff’s contribution to the understanding of Malay nationalism was to provide the intellectual trajectory and literary materials from which today’s conceptions of the Malay world could be formed. His decision to focus on Malay literary materials to describe the Malay identity that was struggling with the impulses of traditionalism, modernity and brotherhood from a specific agricultural-economic position predates Raymond Williams’ notion of “structures of feeling” whereby ethnicity and class narratives bring into sharp focus the historicity, mental and emotional organization of the lived experience as explanation of social life. In the same way “structures of feeling” was a methodological device to describe “a particular quality of social experience and relationship, historically distinct from other particular qualities, which gives us the sense of a generation or of a period” (Williams 1977, p. 131), Roff, through the study of Malay literature, managed to articulate the character and tenor of the Malay identity as shaped under and in response to the colonial state.

The criticism of Roff, however, has been one of functionalism. Written soon after Malaysia’s independence in 1957, the retrospective excavation for evidence and clues to explain the present was perhaps understandable. Milner (2002, pp. 4-5) hints at this functionalist approach by describing Origins as “one of those works concerned to identify unifying elements and processes in colonial Malay society” and tells of the need to re-read Roff in order to “tease out wherever possible elements not of cohesion and agreement but of division and debate”. For scholars like Milner, the task is not to present a coherent Malay narrative which Roff sought to do by looking at the Malay-educated intelligentsia of teachers and journalists who later, on 6 August 1950, established the literary movement Angkatan Sasterawan 50 (Literary Generation of 1950), or ASAS 50. The establishment of ASAS 50, a nod to the Indonesian literary movement Angkatan 1945 (Generation 1945), signaled the first time Malay literature and the arts were harnessed to express Malay identity and nationalism, something which the political elites and aristocracy took little interest in (Tham 1981). Instead, the contemporary literature is less keen to present a singular narrative of nationalism. As Milner (2002, p. 6) goes on to note, “nationalism never achieves hegemony as a defined and widely acknowledged doctrine. Even in the last years of the British presence, the character and value of nationalism continued to be a matter of debate”.

It is not a criticism to argue that the strength of Origins is not its definitive or hegemonic presentation of Malay nationalism but its detailed histories of Malay socio-cultural groups in a shifting political landscape. His rich gathering of Malay literary materials allows the emergence of several spheres of Malay identities from the Malayo-Muslim world of Singapore, the Al-Imam and the reformists as well as the politicization of the Kuam Muda, all of which set the scene for the emergence of the autochthonous Malay intelligentsia. Origins remains a key text not only for its compelling historical perspective of nationalism but also for its heterogeneous presentation of the Malay identity.

Going Beyond Area Studies

The final and most famous text on Southeast Asian nationalism is Benedict Anderson’s Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. And befitting the fate of any classic, it is probably one of the most cited but under-read texts around. Imagined Communities dates the rise of national consciousness to the modern-industrial era in Western Europe. The age of Enlightenment spelt the end of the traditional and stratified models of social organization seen in institutions like Christianity. For Anderson (1991, p. 37), the flattening of these stratified social organizations came with specific economic factors which helped disseminate supposedly universal, homogenous and “horizontal-secular, transverse-time” notions of national space, territoriality, and citizenship. The flattening of stratified structures of social life was complete with what Anderson calls “print capitalism”, that is, the symbiosis between capitalism and the development of print as a process of mass communication.

With print capitalism, comprising pamphlets, posters, tracts, notices and books, an information highway was created. Ideologies, beliefs, values, identities and consciousness suddenly had the vehicle to travel across socio-cultural boundaries to germinate some conception of shared experience or identity. The concept of the ‘nation’, a fast traveling non-religious phenomenon, quickly entered mass consciousness. Meanwhile, Anderson’s conception of the nation is one of a community that is socially-constructed, or “imagined” into being. Hence the often quoted phrase that the nation must necessarily be “imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion” (1991, p. 6; italics original).

Chief among Imagined Communities’s many contributions is its attention to the culture of symbols, creative imagery and the role of ‘invented traditions’ as a meta-narrative of the nation. The nation then, as Anderson would have it, is not just a story that people tell themselves about themselves, but a story that evolved upon subjection to the forces of capitalism and cultural selection. Anderson’s explanation of nationalism is resolutely modernist in that it diverges from the ‘primodialist paradigm’ of nationalism with rigid ‘racial’ categories where “popular attachments, kinship and cultural bonds” are animated to explain why “millions are prepared to lay down their lives for their ‘nation'” (Smith 2000, p. 2; see also Smith 1998; 2001). Instead, Anderson resolves the question of “popular attachment, kinship and cultural bonds” by advancing the social construction, even romanticization, of the community. The national community is thus imagined not as a specific network of individuals connected to each other, the way traditional cultures did in a particularistic manner, but as umbilical cords from individuals to a larger abstract community where everyone was imagined as members in a “deep, horizontal comradeship” (1991, p. 7). Thus unlike Smith’s primodialist nation where citizens laid down their lives for their ethnie or some ontological essence, Anderson’s nation saw people willing to do so for the fraternity and comradeship of this imagined community, hence offering contemporary scholars a useful framework for today’s multicultural societies.

It is thus deliciously ironic that such an important exposition on nationalism in Southeast Asia should be confronted with the simple yet fundamental question: whose imagined community? The most compelling critique of Imagined Communities came from Partha Chatterjee (1986; 1991) whose question reminds us of historical and cultural specificity between the European and Asian experience. Chatterjee takes issue with Anderson’s conception of nationalism as one that exists in ‘modular’ forms, whereby its basic creeds and doctrines may be exported from Europe and resurrected unproblematically in post-colonial societies. Chatterjee’s criticism was devastating: Anderson’s explanation of nationalism came from a totalizing and universal history of the modern world, and failed to consider the dynamics and subjectivities of anti-colonial nationalisms (see also Culler and Cheah 2003).

Anderson’s response to such post-colonial critique was to add the chapter–“Census, Map, Museum”–in the 1991 edition. In so many ways, it is this chapter that elevated Imagined Communities from being a merely good book to a great book. One can do no better than let Anderson (1991, p. 163) speak for himself as he begins the new chapter:


 In the original edition of Imagined Communities I wrote that "so 
 often in the nation-building policies of the new states one sees 
 both a genuine, popular nationalist enthusiasm, and a systematic, 
 even Machiavellian, instilling of nationalist ideology through the 
 mass media, the educational system, administrative regulations, and 
 so forth." My short-sighted assumption then was that official 
 nationalism in the colonized worlds of Asia and Africa was modelled 
 directly on that of the dynastic states of nineteenth-century 
 Europe. Subsequent reflection has persuaded me that this view was 
 hasty and superficial, and that the immediate genealogy should be 
 traced to the imaginings of the colonial state. At first sight, 
 this conclusion may seem surprising, since colonial states were 
 typically anti-nationalist, and often violently so. But if one 
 looks beneath colonial ideologies and policies to the grammar in 
 which, from the mid nineteenth century, they were deployed, the 
 lineage becomes decidedly more clear.
Inspired by Thongchai Winichakul’s (then) doctoral thesis on the mapping of Siam, “Census, Map, Museum” sets about explaining how a ‘modular’ nationalism may, in fact, have been activated in post-colonial Southeast Asian societies. With this chapter Anderson paid more attention to the role of local colonial administrations in shaping the character of later nationalisms instead of the more conventional relationship between colonies and metropole. It demonstrates how colonial administrations organize local peoples, land, cultural artefacts, and knowledge in a linear narrative where meanings are added or excluded such that the historicity of the colony aligns perfectly with colonial orientalist imaginations. In this sense, because of the colonial state’s previous control over artefact and knowledge, postcolonial nationalisms cannot help but be influenced by previous colonial imaginations. After all, the production of knowledge is closely related to the geography of colonial conquest. For example, the mapping and land surveys of colonial territories laid the “cartographic basis” for the imposition of capitalism in much of Asia, Africa, the Americas and Australia (Harvey 1984, p. 2), while the museum–a quintessentially Western institution–was the gate-keeper to the native’s past, instrumental in legitimizing certain histories while ignoring or altering others. Meanwhile much of the ‘positivistic’ forms of scientific ‘Western’ knowledge often claim objectivity and neutrality without realizing that the colonial context of imperialism and expansionism provided the “social basis for the production and use of that knowledge” (ibid.). With this chapter, Anderson was able to return to his text to correct, reposition and re-argue his original thesis. This is not to say the book has escaped other criticisms. For one, Breuilly (1996) notes that Anderson lacks a strong economic discussion because the concept of ‘capitalism’ in the book lacks nuance and remains embedded in the background of the discussion on print language. In looking at Ireland, MacLaughlin (2001) disagrees with Anderson’s argument that nationalism emerged and spread in the vacuum that religion left behind. If anything, nationalism actually contributed to the power and legitimacy of the churches, as well as the strengthening of religious beliefs among the working class. Meanwhile Lessnoff (2002) observes that the focus on the supply side of print capitalism and marketing is only half the story. Not enough space is devoted to the discussion of the demand side and the consumer habits and impulses of the readership which would have presented a clearer picture of nationalism from below. Despite certain criticisms Imagined Communities remains a highly relevant springboard for any serious discussion of nationalism. According to Hamilton (2006), a recent internet search of the book’s usage in academic courses resulted in over 13,000 hits. This vastly surpassed other classical texts like Gellner’s Nations and Nationalism (506 hits), Hobsbawrn’s Nations and Nationalism since 1780 (216 hits), Chatterjee’s Nation and its Fragments (196 hits), Smith’s Theories of Nationalism (191 hits), Smith’s Nationalisms and Modernism (116 hits), and Brubaker’s Nationalism Refrained (114 hits).However, the legacy of Imagined Communities lies not in its well deserved popularity but its ability to go beyond the paradigm of Southeast Asian area studies to inform contemporary research areas such as diaspora studies, hybrid identities and multiculturalism. Of the three texts discussed here, it is Imagined Communities that has the ability to go beyond the ambit of area studies. This is not a criticism of Nationalism and Revolution and Origins but an acknowledgement of their hallowed status as shapers of Southeast Asia area studies. One key contribution of Imagined Communities to transnational studies is the mechanics of imagination in the age of globalization. Anderson’s earlier arguments that print capitalism had made national space “horizontal-secular” and had flattened stratified structures of social life have provided crucial tools to address the porosity of national borders, the deterritorialization of space and the emergence of scapes and flows, thus pushing it to the forefront of diaspora studies.

Its second contribution is its cultural and constructivist arguments for nationalism and ethnicity, thus alerting us to the social constructions of the ethnie and primordial memories. This mode of inquiry allows the researcher to transcend the confines of national societies and area studies to understand that the building blocks of national imaginings are often borrowed, stolen or modified from societies across imaginary borders. Such signs and symbols are reified by nationalists and the elite for what Duara (2003) calls “regimes of authenticity” from which ideas of the nation are captured and epitomized by notions of timelessness and sacredness.

Finally, Anderson’s idea of “long-distance nationalism”, a variant of classical nationalism, where global capitalism, mass communication and mass migration have made it possible for disporas to retain their ‘Old World’ identity whilst in a different location, continues to find traction in today’s world. Chatterjee’s question as to whether this so-called “long-distance nationalism” is not really a case of failed cosmopolitanism deserves some thought. Be that as it may, it only shows that the ideas and arguments from Imagined Communities have yet again forced us to debate where we believe our place in this world is.


Anderson, Benedict R.O’G. “Introduction”. In Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia, by George McTurnan Kahin (reprint). Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 2003.

–. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London; New York: Verso, 1991 (1983).

Chatterjee, Partha. Nationalist Thought and the Colonial World: A Derivative Discourse. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1986.

–. “Whose Imagined Community?”. Millennium: Journal of International Studies 20, no. 3 (1991): 521-25.

Culler, Jonathan and Pheng Cheah, eds. Grounds of Comparison: Around the Work of Benedict Anderson. London and New York: Routledge, 2003.

Balakrishnan, Gopal. “The National Imagination”. In Mapping the Nation, edited by Gopal Balakrishnan. London: Verso, 1996.

Breuilly, John. “Approaches to Nationalism”. In Mapping the Nation, edited by Gopal Balakrishnan. London: Verso, 1996.

Duara, Prasenjit. Sovereignty and Authenticity: Manchukuo and the East Asian Modern. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2003.

Hamilton, Mark. “New Imaginings: The Legacy of Benedict Anderson and the Alternative Engagements of Nationalism”. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 6, no. 6 (2006): 73-89.

Harvey, David. “On the History and Present Condition of Geography: An Historical Materialist Manifesto”. The Professional Geographer 36, no. 1 (February 1984): 1-11.

Kahin, George McTurnan. Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1952.

–. Southeast Asia: A Testament. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003.

Lessnoff, Michael. Ernest Gellner and Modernity. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2002.

Lev, Daniel S. “George McT Kahin: 1918-2000”. Indonesian Insider, 2000 (accessed 19 December 2008).

MacLaughlin, Jim. Re-imagining the Nation-State: The Contested the Terrains of Nation-building. London: Pluto Press, 2001.

Maki, John M. Book Review: Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia. Political Research Quarterly 6, no. 1 (1953): 185.

McCargo, Duncan. “Rethinking Southeast Asian Politics”. In Southeast Asian Studies: Debates and New Directions, edited by Cynthia Chou and Vincent Houben. Singapore and Amsterdam: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and International Institute for Asian Studies, The Netherlands, 2006.

Milner, Anthony. The Invention of Politics in Colonial Malaya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Mohd Hazim Shah. “Historicising Rationality: The Transmission of Rationality and Science to the Malay States under British Rule”. Asian Journal of Social Science 35, no. 2 (2007): 216-41.

Rafael, Vicente. “Regionalism, Area Studies and the Accident of Agency”. The American Historical Review 104, no. 4 (October 1999): 1208-20.

Roff, William R. The Origins of Malay Nationalism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

Smith, Anthony. Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001.

–. “Theories of Nationalism: Alternative Models of Nation Formation”. In Asian Nationalism, edited by Michael Leifer. London and New York: Routledge, 2000.

–. Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nation and Nationalism. London: Routledge, 1998.

Tham, Seong Chee. “The Politics of Malay Literary Development”. In Essays on Literature and Society in Southeast Asia: Political and Sociological Perspectives, edited by Tham Seong Chee. Singapore: Singapore University Press, 1981.

Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature* Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

Terence Chong is Fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore.


Publication Information: Article Title: Nationalism in Southeast Asia: Revisiting Kahin, Roff, and Anderson. Contributors: Terence Chong – author. Journal Title: SOJOURN: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia. Volume: 24. Issue: 1. Publication Year: 2009. Page Number: 1+. COPYRIGHT 2009 Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS); COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale, Cengage Learning

Belanda menguasai dunia


In 1640 the people of Portugal revolted against Spain. The national revolution spread over all colonial territories and in Brazil naturally directed itself against the Netherlanders. The States General, glad of the Portuguese resistance to Spain, could not very well attack these same Portuguese for their support of the rebels in Brazil. Once peace with Spain was concluded, the Republic declared war on Portugal, but only the East India Company benefited through the conquest of Portuguese strongholds in Ceylon and India. Brazil was irretrievably lost. In 1661 peace was restored. The West India Company ceded all claims in Brazil in exchange for a lump sum of eight million guilders. The great Atlantic enterprise had failed. Not only Brazil but also Angola on the African coast had been reconquered by Portugal. In 1664 King Charles II of Great Britain decided to make good his claims to the eastern seaboard of North America. A British squadron appeared off New Amsterdam and forced the surrender of the colony. Subsequent Dutch-British wars brought a short-lived restoration of Dutch sovereignty on the Hudson in 1673, but the eventual outcome was the restriction of Dutch territory in the New World to the island groups of Curacao and St. Eustachius, and to the coastlands of Guyana where in 1664 an enterprising Zeeland commander had added the territory of Surinam to that of Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, now forming British Guyana. These small countries and islands, and some slave trading posts on the African Gold Coast, were the meager result of fifty years of warfare and colonization in the Atlantic area. No wonder that the West India Company went into bankruptcy in 1674, with a debt of six million guilders, and no prospects to speak of. A new West India Company with a modest capital of 630,000 guilders took over the Company’s assets and one-third of its debts. Except for the slave trade, the West Indies were thrown open to private commerce.

The Dutch settlements in the Americas left few traces. Only the Netherlanders on the Hudson vigorously maintained their traditions, of which the Dutch Reformed Church was the main support. Of the colony in Brazil nothing but memories remained, but the national revival provoked by the Dutch invaders of that country contributed greatly to Brazilian national consciousness and the territory of Pernambuco became the cradle of Brazilian nationalism. Thus, unwittingly and unwillingly, the Netherlanders may have contributed to the independence of the largest South American republic. The Jewish communities fled from Pernambuco when it was restored to Portuguese sovereignty. Some of their members returned to Europe; some sought a new home under the Dutch flag in the West Indies where many of their descendants may still be found in Curacao and Surinam.

The development of the Asiatic Dutch empire was the exact reverse of that in the West. Here expansion and stabilization were continuous. The

conflict with Portugal, so disastrous to the West India Company, provided its sister institution in the East with a golden opportunity to finish the job interrupted by the Treaty of Muenster. In 1648 the status quo had been accepted as a basis for the demarcation of Dutch and Spanish-Portuguese colonial spheres of influence. This had left the coast of Ceylon divided between the Dutch and the Portuguese, a situation which benefited only the king of Kandi, who ruled the interior and thanks to this divided control was able to play one European power against the other. The southern tip of India was also under divided control. The second war with Portugal resulted in the establishment of the supremacy of the Dutch East India Company in this whole area. Ceylon became the company’s “cinnamon garden,” and the king of Kandi its vassal and royal purveyor of elephants. The only use the gentlemen of Amsterdam had for these interesting animals, was as presents to other Asiatic princes.

Control over the ports of southern India gave the Company a monopoly over Asiatic textiles, and cloth from Malabar was one of the principal objects of trade in the Malay Archipelago. Once in possession of all these trading posts (which nowhere included authority over the interior), the Dutch Company definitely superseded the Portuguese empire in Asia. Only the bravery of their inhabitants saved Goa and Macao, which are Portuguese today, from the same fate as Colombo and Malacca. Some Portuguese commerce was still carried on with the connivance of native princes, who now resented Dutch control of the seas as much as they had formerly detested Portuguese supremacy. The sultans of Macassar in southern Celebes were among the principal supporters of non-Dutch trade. In their capital, Portuguese, Danish, and British traders had factories, and the hardy Buginese and Macassar sailors kept up a brisk smuggling trade in cloves and nutmeg in the strictly monopolized area of the Moluccas. In 1661, tension between the government of Batavia and the king of Macassar resulted in war. In two strenuous campaigns the Company’s troops, commanded by Cornelis Speelman and aided by Aru Palacca, prince of the Buginese, forced Macassar to submit. Foreign traders were driven from the town, which lost all significance once monopoly had stifled its trade. Some Portuguese merchants continued to intrude from the island of Timor, where missionaries of their nation had established native Christian communities. The Company paid no further attention to this remnant of its rival’s empire and eastern Timor has remained Portuguese despite successive Dutch-Australian and Japanese occupation.


Against these gains, and the exclusive right to trade with the people of Japan–through a single factory on the small island of Deshima opposite Nagasaki–stood the loss of Formosa, one of the Company’s most promis-

ng settlements. The Company’s dealings with this island just off the Chinese coast present unusual features, which distinguishes its history from that of other Dutch settlements in the East. When the Dutch went to Formosa in 1624, the island was still definitely outside the Chinese cultural and political area. Its inhabitants, racially related to the Philippine tribes, were more open to western influence than those of the south Asiatic regions, where Hinduism and Mohammedanism opposed European cultural influence and the Company could not promote Christianity without impairing its good relations with the natives and consequently its commercial interests. Formosa provided an opportunity for the “Spanish” method of colonization: converting the native people to the religion and the language of the rulers. The results were most encouraging. Within fifteen years a Christian community of five to six thousand people had been formed. Wherever congregations were organized schools were opened, because knowledge of Dutch was necessary for the new Christians, who were supposed to read the Staten Bible. Several hundred children attended school, and the hope seemed well founded that the whole population of Formosa would be won over to Christianity and Netherland civilization. The Netherlanders did not have the opportunity, however, to indoctrinate the people of Formosa for an equal period of time as the Spaniards had to educate the Filipinos. Thousands of Chinese patriots, forced to seek refuge on the sea from the Manchu invasion of their homeland, lurked around Formosa in the hopes of establishing a foothold on the island. In 1661, the Chinese leader Koxinga landed with a strong force and undertook the successful siege of the principal Dutch stronghold. The negligence of the Government at Batavia contributed as much to the loss of the Dutch fortress as the skill and courage of the Chinese partisans. The Netherland settlers were murdered, the natives ruthlessly punished, and the island occupied by Chinese immigrants. Even so, traces of Dutch cultural activity among the natives lingered on into the XIXth century.

The loss of Formosa, deprived the Company of its base for the China trade and was a major setback. It was the only setback, however, that the Batavian merchant-princes suffered in those years of their greatest prosperity and expansion under the able and cautious leadership of GovernorGeneral Johan Maetsuijcker ( 1653-1678). For twenty-five years, without once taking a vacation, this shrewd and stubborn administrator ruled the Dutch Asiatic empire from Batavia’s sultry castle. He knew how to pick his men from among the crowd of naval officers, employees, and native allies with whom he had to work. His legalistic mind was well adapted to the task of keeping everyone, from the boisterous and extravagant admiral Speelman, the conqueror of Macassar, to the ministers of the Church in

Batavia, in his proper place. His firm policy of never allowing any person or interest to disturb the rigid principles of administration laid down by the Company, truly represented in the Far East the political traditions of the Dutch ruling class. Not being himself a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, he vigorously opposed religious intolerance. Strictly interpreted, the ordinances of the Company, permitted only congregations of the Dutch Reformed Church to worship publicly in the Company’s territory. These were not enforced, for the Chinese and Mohammedans continued to practice their own forms of worship. In calling for the suppression of these practices, the Batavian consistory made the mistake of basing its argument on the Law of M oses instead of on an ordinance of the directors, which gave Maetsuijcker an opportunity to rebuke them: “The laws of the ancient Jewish republics have no force in the territory of the East India Company!”

Maetsuijcker was the author of the first code of laws of the Netherlands Indies. Known as the Statutes of Batavia, this code was promulgated in 1642. It is important as the basis of Dutch judicial organization in the East. Dutch law was to be followed in all cases not provided for in the code. Where Dutch law was insufficient, Roman law was to be followed. One important exception was made to this general rule: if a case touching upon a point of Chinese customary law was brought before the court, the court might assign a Chinese judge to sit on the bench and to decide the case according to Chinese law. This was the beginning of the plural judicial system still prevailing in the Netherland Indies.

The directors of the East India Company, whose record as exploiters of native peoples is sufficiently bad, are usually charged with the additional crime of gross cultural negligence. In this respect their reputation is worse than their deeds. It is obvious that they did not promote scientific research or spread knowledge as part of their government in the East. Like modern business concerns, the company showed great interest in discoveries that contributed directly to the financial success of their enterprise. The directors were willing to pay for better methods of combating the diseases that were frequent aboard ship on long voyages; but when asked to submit their ideas on the subject, the professors of medicine found endless subterfuges to avoid answering that they had none. The Company did nothing to discourage the publication of books on the East Indies, their peoples and their natural characteristics, unless they thought some trade “secret” was involved. Abraham Rogerius’s description of Hinduism and Rumphius’s work on botany are monuments of Indology. Herbert De Jager, one of the greatest linguists of his age, was in the service of the Company when he studied the affinity of the Malay-Polynesian language group. The directors

paid for translations of the Bible into Malay and for the education of missionaries, but the results of their endeavors were modest. Like most modern business men the directors did not go out of their way to promote learning or culture, but encouraged it when their help was asked. Business interests predominated. The spread of Christianity usually meant the converting of those already baptized by Portuguese Jesuits from Catholicism to Calvinism. Interference with the internal administration of native princes, allies of the Company, was not tolerated. Wherever Islam ruled (and that was nearly everywhere in the Company’s sphere of direct influence), the conversion of the natives and the spread of western knowledge was not to be looked for. Even the field of education was not completely neglected by the Batavian government, too often described as showing no interest in this field, for it opened schools for slave children in its capital.

Shortly before Maetsuijcker took the reins of government in Batavia, a most important decision was reached by the directors in Amsterdam. To lessen the dangers and discomforts of the long sea voyage to the east, a half-way station was founded on the southern tip of Africa. In 1647, the ship “Haarlem” had been wrecked in Tafelbaai. The crew succeeded in getting ashore and stayed there five months, during which time they grew vegetables and traded with the natives. The climate, the fertility of the soil, the friendliness of the natives, all seemed to invite a settlement; and in 1651 the directors sent Commander Jan van Riebeeck to South Africa, where on April 6, 1652, he went ashore and built his camp on the present site of Capetown. His instructions were to maintain good relations with the native Hottentot tribes, and he was explicitly forbidden to take part in their mutual wars. His arguments that the Dutch settlers by joining with one tribe against another could easily procure herds of cattle for the colony, failed to change this decision.

The problem at the Cape, as in Brazil and New Netherland, was how to recruit settlers. Riebeeck offered a simple solution which if carried through would have changed African history. The “cheapest” and best colonizers, he said, were the Chinese. He had been in the Indies and knew how Jan Pieteerszoon Coen had esteemed the Chinese for their industry and simple way of life. Batavia could never have flourished as it did but for Chinese artisans and trades. The Batavian Government rejected Riebeeck’s idea, and sent out a small number of slaves. Others were brought in from the coast of Guinea, but not in considerable numbers. In 1657 Capetown numbered 134 Europeans and 11 slaves. The new settlement served real needs. In the first seven years of its founding, an average of twenty-five ships a year carrying five thousand men, anchored in the bay. For the crews, the change of diet, from salt fish and biscuit to fresh vegetables and meat, was

a relief that saved thousands of lives. The captains, who liked to increase their income by cutting down on the crews’ rations, naturally complained of Capetown, where they said, the meat was lean and the roadstead dangerous.

In those years four great modern cities came into existence under the Dutch flag: New York, Pernambuco, Capetown, and Batavia. New York, small as it was in 1660, was already a city of many languages and peoples. Pernambuco had a population drawn from all nations and was notorious for its “night-life,” to put it mildly. Capetown was a small hamlet, a street with a church and a fortress, with a tribe of miserable, degenerate Hottentots living beneath its primitive walls. Batavia was the most “magnificent” of the four, with its streets along the canals, just as in Holland, with its Chinese shopkeepers and artisans, its Dutch burghers with their numerous slaves, and its Mardykers, freedmen, descendants of former Portuguese slaves born in India. They were Christians and aped the Europeans, walking the streets, as a contemporary author says, “dressed up like a quack’s monkey at a country fair.” They were so many that Portuguese, with a mixture of Dutch and Malay, was the common language of XVIIth century Batavia, much to the disgust of the directors in Amsterdam, who vainly urged the use of correct Dutch. This was the Netherland empire of the middle of the seventeenth century. It was curious that a small nation should wield greater power in the distant oceans than in the sea washing its home shores.

The European position of the Netherlands underwent considerable change in the second half of the XVIIth century. Netherland trade no longer expanded as it had done in the first four decades of the century. As larger ships were used, the bulk of the merchandise carried increased, but not enough to keep Netherland trade at the same high level in relation to international commerce as a whole. Substantial profits were made in the Baltic, the Spanish and Mediterranean trade; but in France and England the predominance of the Netherlanders was waning rapidly. More and more capital amassed in the hands of’ Dutch merchants. The desire to seek new economic outlets, to exploit every possible opportunity, decreased with the progress of well-being. This accumulation of wealth seemed to ensure to the merchant princes of Amsterdam a firm and permanent hold over a great part of international trade. They did not want to spend all their time and energy acquiring more.

Satisfied with their gains and those of their ancestors, the Dutch merchants were no longer so keen to eliminate competition, especially as they understood the grave risks entailed. The general situation of Europe had changed considerably since 1648. Spain was reduced to a second-class power.

Perang Dingin di Indonesia

The Cold War in Indonesia, 1948.

by Harry A. Poeze

After the end of the Second World War, communication between the Soviet Union and the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI, Indonesian Communist Party) was complicated, difficult and for periods of time, non-existent. It fitted a pattern that can be discerned since the founding of the PKI, the first communist party in Asia, in December 1920. The PKI, then a legal party, joined the Communist International (Comintern) and was represented at Comintern congresses in the early twenties. Reports given at the congresses, articles in Comintern press and information to the responsible Comintern functionaries featured a mixture of rosy images, personal preoccupations and opportunistic adjustments. The Comintern was thus misinformed about developments. Its guidelines for PKI action also became blurred and distorted in transmission to Indonesia, to the extent that the PKI on the spot (increasingly fragmented because of Dutch repression), could select the policy which suited it best.

This gap between local action and international control can be seen in the events of November 1926 on Java and January 1927 on West Sumatra: armed uprisings, both easily quelled by the Dutch. The outcome for the PKI was disastrous. The party was prohibited, thousands of its members were arrested, and after extra-judicial procedures 1,300 were sent for an indefinite period to Boven Digul, an internment camp deep in the swamps of remote New Guinea. The chances for a PKI comeback seemed remote.

Information in Moscow on the fate of the PKI was scant and contradictory. To remedy matters Muso, a PKI leader who had fled Indonesia shortly before the 1926 uprising, was sent to Indonesia in 1935, to gain a reliable insight in the state of affairs of communism and rebuild the PKI. He stayed, secretly, for half a year, with Surabaya as his base. After Muso left Indonesia, his trusted comrades founded the PKI-Muda (Young PKI). Of the founders all but one were soon caught and exiled. The remaining leader at large, Pamudji, established a small network of followers. Great caution and a cell system limited further arrests. There was also, to some extent, communist influence in the legal leftist party Gerindo, led by Amir Sjarifuddin. In its own periodical the PKI followed Moscow’s line: a People’s Front should stop the advance of the totalitarian powers, Germany and Japan.

Shortly before the Japanese occupation of 1942-45, when Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union had become allies, the Dutch handed Amir Sjarifuddin a substantial amount of money to organise resistance against the Japanese. Amir, by then close to being a communist, shared his money with known PKI cadres, among them Pamudji. The Japanese secret police was successful in rolling up this amorphous network. Pamudji was executed, and Amir given a life sentence. Thus, the second PKI generation was eliminated.

A third generation emerged, inspired by the sense of belonging to a great world movement, and by awareness of a glorious PKI tradition. Japanese repression did not allow for much more than PKI survival: maintaining communication, finding hiding places, anti-Japanese propaganda and education. The party sustained heavy losses, but some bases survived.

The defeat of Japan saw the remaining leadership decide to keep the PKI at a low profile until further notice. But what the new international order would entail was unclear. What would be the position of the Soviet Union among the victorious Allies? Would cooperation and the People’s Front line be continued? If so, to what purpose?

There was also the question of what would happen to the Republik Indonesia, proclaimed on 17 August 1945. An active and strong PKI might persuade the British and Americans to support reimposition of Dutch colonial control, damaging the survival chances of the infant Republik. Moreover PKI lacked a popular leader; Amir was still in jail, and other leaders abroad. Furthermore, a prominent PKI role in Indonesia would discourage the bureaucracy there from supporting the new Republik. The PKI was in need of time–it lacked leaders, members, money and weapons. The party did not know how many PKI members had survived the occupation, or where they were. The decision was therefore just to issue a pamphlet to support a national revolution. The name PKI was not mentioned in the text. In this way, the PKI disappeared from the political scene, except in Surabaya, where some radical pamphlets were circulated, opposing the policies and past record of the Republican leaders, Sukarno and Hatta.

Amir Sjarifuddin was back in Jakarta on 2 October to take up his task as Minister of Information. The facilities at his disposal were subsequently generously distributed to his fellow-leftists–jobs, transportation, money and authorisations.

The first information about international communist developments, meanwhile, was brought by three students, among them Abdulmadjid Djojoadhiningrat. They were flown in from the Netherlands, where they had been active in Dutch resistance against the German occupying power. In this respect they had collaborated closely with Dutch Social democrats, who became prominent in the first post-war coalition government. The Dutch expectation was that they might oppose the Republik, because of its Japanese ‘smell’ (Sukarno had ‘collaborated’ with Japan during the war). It did not turn out that way. They took sides with the Republik, probably because Amir was a cabinet member. Neither, however, did the arrival of the students from Europe bring any firm news of international communist policy. The dissolution of Comintern in 1943, in this respect, had led to worldwide confusion. A number of parties, including the American one, were discontinued in favour of broad People’s Front organisations. The Dutch party seemed to be taking the same course, although there was considerable opposition. Only after a few months was it resolved to reestablish the Communistische Partij Nederland (CPN, Netherlands Communist Party), mainly because the Social democrats rejected cooperation with the communists. It was the end of 1945 before Moscow made its position clear–that communists should organise in their own parties.

The emissaries from the Netherlands were probably content with the pragmatic choice of remaining underground for the time being. The internationalist outlook of the Dutch comrades, of Amir and of Sjahrir, the new Prime Minister, did not meet with sympathy from many of the wartime cadres. The underground PKI was, however, influential in the socialist party that Amir founded and that, in December 1945, merged with Sjahir’s socialist party to become the Partai Sosialis. To the surprise of the PIG membership, situating themselves in the tradition of Muso’s revived PiG-Muda, the name PIG was now captured by the lawyer Jusuf. He launched his PIG on 21 October 1945. It aims reflected its national roots: land nationalisation, farmers’ soviets and social revolution. For the time being the underground PIG tolerated the PKI-Jusuf, waiting for an opportunity to restore its authority. The PKI-Jusuf had a measure of success, with a growing number of members and branches, an armed organisation, and a widely distributed periodical. Its militancy, compared to the cautious Partai Sosialis, brought it close to followers of veteran communist leader Tan Malaka, who had broken with Moscow in the wake of the 1926-27 uprising.

Tan Malaka returned after 20 years of exile and, in January 1946, launched his federation, the Persatuan Perdjuangan (PP, Struggle Front). This was meant to unite all Republican organisations to support 100 per cent merdeka (independence) proclaimed on 17 August 1945, and to become the rallying point against the diplomacy (and hence tendency to offer concessions to the Dutch) of the government. PP’s revolutionary fervour attracted a massive following. Tan Malaka played down his communist convictions, but in his writings he showed himself a true communist, who had an eye for the specific content Indonesian communism should be given. But he was also full of praise for the Soviet Union and probably willing to follow Moscow’s guidance if it would ensure him the leadership of the PIG. Strangely enough, Tan Malaka let slip the chance to become the chairman of the Partai Sosialis, and failed to forge a bond with the PKI-Jusuf. He may have gambled that his own organisation might become the core of the revived PIG. He put all his energy into the PP, with seemingly astonishing success. The government seemed to be alone and ripe for replacement by a PP cabinet. A meeting of parliament in February-March 1946 was decisive. Clever manoeuvring by Sukarno, and awkward action by the PP supporters resulted in another Sjahrir cabinet, which continued its diplomatic efforts. The seemingly powerful PP turned out be a giant on clay feet. Tan Malaka and a few close to him were abducted, with the silent approval of the government, and when massive protest was not forthcoming, he was jailed, without trial, from March 1946 to September 1948.

PKI-Jusuf opened its first conference in Cirebon on 8 March 1946. A militant mood prevailed; a Soviet Republik Indonesia was the aim. The government was severely criticised. PKI armed forces, Lasjkar Merah (Red Corps), took over power in the city, disarming army and police. However, within a few days the army returned and arrested the leadership of the PKI-Jusuf. They were, half a year later, tried by a military court.

A few weeks later, a Panitia Pemberesan (Purgation Committee) let itself be heard. It declared that Jusuf’s PKI was not the rightful successor of the PKI-1926. It condemned the events in Cirebon. It is a rare occasion that the secret struggle for power within the PKI comes into the open. It seemed that the underground PKI was recovering its lost position. It looked as though it was closest to the international communist line. Moreover it was helped by the arrest of Tan Malaka on 17 March, which weakened his possible claims to PKI leadership.

At this point in time, the PKI was reinforced by the arrival from Australia, on 13 March 1946, of the former Digul exiles. These included communists of two tendencies. The majority had followed the People’s Front and supported the Allied war effort. The Panitia Pemberesan, meanwhile, continued its work, and managed to dump the radical members. When it called a PKI conference in Solo on 29 March to elect a new leadership Sardjono, Digul exile and PKI chairman in 1926, was put forward. Tan Malaka’s following and other radicals were not even admitted to the conference. A statement of aims was issued. The PKI, as a workers’ party based on Marxism-Leninism, aimed at a socialist society. However, this should have majority support. This democratic principle required the PKI to win the support of farmers and the bourgeoisie. It characterised Indonesian events as the unfolding of a national revolution against international imperialism, as part of the world revolution. The struggle to uphold the Republik was therefore the first step towards a later socialist society. In that struggle the PKI was ready to cooperate with all democratic organisations inside and outside Indonesia.

This moderation found its reflection in the Manifesto issued a few days later. This noted that the world struggle between fascism and democracy had now taken a new form: progressive forces and the people in the colonies against the Reaction. The Republik’s government constituted, ‘a representation of a great number of groups and layers of the Indonesian people, a democratic structure, on which the democratic groups in the people base themselves’. In PKI there was no room for ‘political adventurers and place-hunters’–clearly meaning Tan Malaka and his followers. Armed with its ideology the party is able ‘to distinguish between matters which might and which might not be realised. Also, a situation will be evaluated in a realistic way, and responsibility will not be evaded.’ To reach its objectives PKI firstly will support the government and it proposed to form a National Front to oppose fascist-reactionary oppression.

Amir and his internationally oriented comrades had at last disciplined the PKI to follow their course. The diplomatic efforts to gain the Republik’s recognition were to be supported; socialist experiments in Indonesia were premature. The PKI kept its low profile. A legal and an underground board were still maintained, with the underground one being the body to ultimately make decisions. Most public effort was spent on the Partai Sosialis. The youth organisation Pesindo (Pemuda Sosialis Indonesia, Indonesian Socialist Youth), with strong armed bodies, was an important asset. In due course the labour union federation was added to the communist conglomerate, as well as the Partai Buruh Indonesia (PBI, Indonesian Labour Party). But it was still not labelled as communist.

A welcome addition to the PKI forces was Alimin, who had left Indonesia with Muso in 1926. He suddenly reported to the Republik in August 1946. He had been in China for a number of years, but did not carry any message as to communist tactics or policies. He wholeheartedly supported the Republik and its government and even outshone it in his moderation. His stature and international prestige were exploited to the flail in the many speeches he delivered.

Alimin was also to prove useful when negotiations with the Dutch resulted in the Linggajati Agreement of November 1946. The opposition rallied against the agreement in Benteng Republik (Fortress of the Republik), including the more radical communist groups. The moderate PKI presence and its value became more obvious when President Sukarno increased membership of the parliament from 200 to 514 members, and nominated the new members in a successful attempt to ensure approval of the Agreement with the Dutch. PKI membership rose from two to 35. The pattern was continued in the PKI Congress of January 1947.

Sjahrir made concessions to the Dutch in the protracted negotiations in Jakarta that followed the Linggajati Agreement, but was disavowed by his ministers and the Sajap Kiri (a conglomeration of communist-minded groups formed in December 1946) in Yogyakarta. Abdulmadjid and Amir then used the opportunity to depose Sjahrir in June 1947. This opened the road to more communist influence within Sajap Kiri, and chances for Amir, who was not publicly known as a communist and never in word or deed acted as such, to succeed Sjahrir. After a short and complicated formation period, Amir was accepted as the new Prime Minister of the Republik’s cabinet in July 1947.

That same month the Republik faced a Dutch military action which ended in the loss of the greater part of its territory in Java. A new round of negotiations started as a result, now under international supervision. Under heavy pressure from the United States, and with the threat that military action might be renewed, the Republik acquiesced and signed in January 1948 the Renville Agreement (named after the US warship where talks were held). The terms of the Agreement caused a great stir; the coalition partners of the Sajap Kiri in the cabinet withdrew their ministers. Amir was left isolated, and offered the cabinet’s resignation on 23 January.

He was succeeded by a ‘Presidential’ cabinet led by Vice-President Hatta. Not a single Sajap Kiri minister was included. Suddenly the comfortable position of Sajap Kiri, and the communists within it, at the centre of the Republik’s power came to an end. Who was to blame? An obvious culprit was Amir, who had acted on his own initiative when tendering his resignation. He did not consult his fellow ministers, nor discuss the matter in Partai Sosialis, Sajap Kiri or PKI. Moreover, Amir’s support of Renville was at odds with the new policies that Moscow prescribed from late 1947 onwards. (1)


In 1947 the People’s Front or ‘united front’ policy had reached a deadlock. The conflict between East and West sharpened. In September 1947 Cominform was constituted, as a union of communist parties against imperialism. Zhdanov’s ‘two camp theory’, expounded at the founding meeting, posited the irreconcilable contradiction between the imperialist, anti-democratic camp and the anti-imperialist, democratic camp. The communist parties worldwide had to lead the resistance in all fields–government, politics, economics and ideology–against imperialist plans of oppression and aggression. This confrontation applied first and foremost to Europe. In the colonies the model was not instantly copied, and the national bourgeoisie was still viewed as of some utility. The Republik was presented as an example of an independence struggle which combined with radical reforms. This probably served to legitimise the Republik’s government (with its strong leftist representation) in Soviet eyes. Indonesia was even described as under a government of an anti-imperialist front under the leadership of the Communist Party. The Renville Agreement was criticised, but the Republik was not taken to task for signing it. That, however, was before Amir’s ousting from power. With Amir’s January 1948 resignation, Moscow had to reevaluate. (2)

This is where Muso reemerged as an important figure for Moscow. He worked with a scholarly institute of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. He supplied analyses and wrote press artides, notwithstanding that his work suffered from lack of information, and a lack of direct contact with PKI. Data from Indonesians, visiting international youth, students or trade union conferences was fragmentary. An important source was the stream of information flowing to and from Moscow to the Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN), but this also suffered from distortion and was not up to date. (3)

Despite growing doubts about Amir’s course and the Renville Agreement, Muso initially remained loyal to his comrades and their approach. He explained away their ignoring of the line laid down by Cominform and Zhdanov as a tactic not to emphasise the leading communist role in the government, and to avoid an anti-communist reaction. The position of the government was strong, and its overthrow improbable. But on the same 23 January that he wrote this, Amir’s cabinet fell.

Muso was rebuffed, already a day later, in strong terms by two Russian colleagues of the institute he worked for, in their report to the Department of Foreign Policy of the Russian CP as follows:

Comrade Musso explains the reasons for not publishing the materials
of the Conference of the nine parties [Kominform] and the absence
of propaganda on the questions connected with the resolutions of
the Conference of the nine parties on the part of the Indonesian
Communist Party, by its special political line, which allegedly
aimed at ‘paralysing Truman’s Doctrine as well as anti-Communist
propaganda in Indonesia, carried on by the Dutch’, with the help of
conscientiously minimizing its actual strength and not exposing its
leading role in the Republican government, as well as concealing
its links with abroad and so on. In our opinion, if such a course
is actually being taken it is a rotten course, and the consequences
of this course have already been manifested in that Sjarifuddin was
forced to sign an agreement with the Dutch, imposed on him by the
American ‘mediation’, just because the Republik and particularly
the Indonesian Communist Party up to this time absolutely
insufficiently laid bare the aggressive policy of American
imperialism and thus contributed to a certain trust among the
unsophisticated part of the population in the policy and the
‘mediation’ of the American government. If the Party had published
the resolutions of the Conference of the nine parties and Zhdanov’s
report in particular, the people would have understood the
contemporary arrangement of forces on an international scale. One
of two things must be true: either there is no such ‘special
course’ of the policy of the Indonesian Communist Party in reality
and Com. [Comrade] Musso is under a delusion, or if such a course
actually exists, it is a disastrous course and Com. Musso justifies
They thus believed that the PKI held a misplaced belief in the role of the Unites States and had failed to unmask ‘the expansionist nature of American imperialism’. This had landed it in a position in which it had no choice but to sign the Renville Agreement. A month later, on 18 February, the head of the foreign affairs section of the Central Committee, Plishevsky, sent a note to the Politburo in line with the critique above and with severe conclusions. According to him, the PKI had made mistakes in a wide range of matters, as follows:
The rejection of the armed struggle with the Netherlands and the
signing of the Renville agreement on the basis of concessions on
the side of the Republican delegation;
The surrender of state power and its transfer to the nationalist
parties without a struggle and an appeal to the masses;
The continuation of co-operation with the rightist parties instead
of laying bare their reactionary activity before the masses;
Keeping their distance from the USSR and the countries of the new
democracy, the rejection of joining openly the Soviet camp in the
Cold War in the international arena;
Dispersing of the Communist forces among several parties and
organisations, keeping the Communist Party proper in the background
in the Socialist Bloc, denigrating the actual image of the CPI
[Communist Party of Indonesia] in the eyes of the masses of the
Insufficient unmasking of the aggressive nature of American
imperialism before the Indonesian people. (4)
The Politburo in all probability confirmed the critique, but either way it implied that the PKI had to be disciplined. Answering the critical points would entail the translation of them into directives for a new PKI course. Muso was the only person available and a suitable candidate to pass on the message. In March 1948 Muso was in Prague where he met Suripno, there under orders from Amir to contact the Soviet Union. Suripno, a PIG Politburo member, could feed him information–although outdated, as he had left the Republik in July 1947. In Prague, Muso also had extensive talks with Soviet diplomats and CPN leaders. Muso worked on a document to set out the new PKI course, regularly reporting to Moscow. In one report he showed great enthusiasm for an article of Chinese provenance ‘The new stage of the Indonesian struggle for independence’. This applied Chinese experiences to Indonesia as follows:

American and Dutch imperialism have to be exposed, the real fact is
that America though appearing outwardly strong, is feeble. The
people must struggle against vacillation and betrayal, firmly
believing in the sure victory of the great cause of their
liberation. They must not fear temporary difficulties and setbacks,
but resolutely carry on the struggle into the camp of American and
Dutch imperialism and the Hatta government, and lead themselves to
victory…. They will discard their illusions and fears of America
and cast away the cowardly, incompetent, vacillating and
treacherous upper elements of Indonesia and march together, united
in the struggle against imperialism. Although their struggle will
be prolonged and arduous, the dawn of final victory will be
nearer…. At the same time the national front of Indonesia will
still be broadened to include workers, peasants, the middle and
petty bourgeoisie, and other patriotic elements. Only the running
dogs of America and the Dutch have to be excluded. The Indonesian
people must learn that they should never trust in vacillating
elements and compromising parties, but only in the people’s
revolutionary organizations and especially the INDONESIAN COMMUNIST
PARTY. The victory of the Chinese people under the leadership of
the Chinese Communist Party over Japanese imperialism … in the
past and their present victory over American imperialism and Chiang
Kai-shek serve as an example to the Indonesian people.
Muso’s report echoed this stress on a broad National Front under PIG leadership, putting him slightly ahead of Moscow’s endorsement of the Chinese model. (5) The close bonds between the communist parties in motherland and colony were also influential. Paul de Groot, the Dutch CPN chairman, came to Prague and entered into heated discussions, which resulted in a document entitled ‘Outlines of the tasks of the communists in Indonesia’. De Groot at first insisted that a commonwealth relationship should emerge between the two countries. If not, he feared losing the support of Dutch workers, who would be afraid that independence would result in Dutch unemployment. Muso and Suripno retorted that this would seriously hamper mass mobilisation. De Groot became so angry that he called Muso an adventurer and Trotskyite, who did not know what was going on in Indonesia. When emotions subsided De Groot climbed down and agreed to a formula in which the Netherlands would merely gain preferential economic and cultural treatment. The document itself mentioned the merger of parties to become a United PKI and the formation of a National Front, in which the PKI wanted to unite parties, groups and people with the common goal of independence. The Hatta government should be met with opposition on a broad scale, with the objective of forming a government of national unity with appropriate PIG representation. Negotiations with the Netherlands, after the repudiation of Renville, were to be conducted on an equal basis and to result in the recognition of the sovereignty of the whole of Indonesia. Muso reported the agreement to Moscow in a letter of 17 May, adding: ‘Undoubtedly it is a great turn. I hope the Indonesian comrades would understand it and would be willing to follow me.’ De Groot lobbied with the Czech party leader, who expressed his approval. De Groot wrote a letter to Sardjono and Maruto Darusman, dated 10 May 1948, which Muso took with him. The party line had created bad results, and ‘Now it is absolutely necessary that you make a sharp turn and step on a new way. Our old and trusted friend, who brings this letter, will help you much in working out a new line …’ (6)
Muso’s letter was commented upon by an official of the Foreign Affairs Section of the Central Committee, who gave the impression that Muso’s programme was of his own, and not rooted in the Moscow line. His tone became rather false when ending:

Judging by the tone of his declaration he intends to assume the
leading role in the Communist Party and that may give rise to
objections on the side of Indonesian comrades and have much more
serious consequences. It would be desirable to point out to comrade
Musso before his departure to the country that his task is
assistance to the leadership of the Indonesian Communist Party and
that Indonesian comrades themselves will define his role in the
Muso toned down his ambitions somewhat when he reported to Moscow in May and June that he hoped to be able to use his influence in Indonesia to realise ‘a really national government responsible to the people’s parliament … I hope to fulfil my crucial and interesting task.’ (7) In Moscow a Soviet official formulated it this way: Muso had been instructed to ‘help’ the PIG leadership. (8) How should we interpret this ‘help’? Was it help that could be refused? On 21 June, Muso and Suripno set out from Prague for the arduous journey to Jogjakarta. It would take them seven weeks, until 11 August, to reach their destination.
In August De Groot was in Moscow and fully supported Muso’s programme. He expected ‘a certain resistance’ of ‘some persons’ against the new course. He expected, on the basis of information from the Republik, that the Netherlands might use the opportunity to start a new wave of terror and armed aggression. In such a case everything had to be done to protect the party. He considered it improbable that the Hatta government would act against the PIG, considering the instability of this government as well as the strength of the leftist parties and the broad sympathy of the masses for communism. (9)

What are we to make of all this information? At play were Soviet critiques from different state and party bodies, with the Central Committee conclusions as the most authoritative. There were the talks with the Dutch comrades, the interaction with the Czech party, with a lot of prestige gained after the Gottwald takeover, (10) with Soviet Embassy officials, and Muso’s own ideas. Muso was an experienced Stalinist, who had survived the years of terror, and knew how to adapt to the new line. He did so, and found it expedient to borrow from the Chinese experience. The kernel of all discussion was that the PKI course had been disastrous, and that a United PKI, a National Front and a National Front government, both under communist leadership, were the answers. It was Muso’s own Gottwald Plan. There is no indication that armed revolt against the Sukarno-Hatta government was on the immediate agenda. The evidence also shows that Muso was not an uncontroversial person. He had a reputation for hotheadedness, and doubts about his organisational skills were reflected when it was emphasised that his task would only be to help the PKI. But an instruction to help, with a concrete programme brought from Moscow by a veteran leader of great prestige, to a party that clearly had made a lot of mistakes–could it be received in any other way than unconditional acceptance? There was not the slightest doubt among the PKI leadership that Muso was Moscow’s emissary and that he should be obeyed. Efimova remarks that Muso ‘apparently had come to the conclusion that it was he who was destined to play the leading role in the CPI revival in all its might and strength’ in what she calls ‘his personal sacred mission’. (11) These last few words seem to be too romantic. Muso did bring a message, but it was for the greater part not his own, but an adaptation of the new line for Indonesia.

Calcutta Conference

Calcutta was, in February 1948, the venue for a Conference of the World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY), a nominally independent organisation actually under the control of Moscow. It was the first meeting where Southeast Asian organisations were represented after the ‘two camp theory’. Whether a guideline was issued to the communist parties of the region to rise into armed revolts is a matter of controversy. Such actions in Indonesia, Burma, Malaya, Vietnam and the Philippines later in 1948 could have found their inspiration in the Calcutta Conference. (12) As for Indonesia there are no indications of such an instruction. The ‘two camp theory’ was given a lot of attention at the Conference, but Indonesia was still praised for its armed resistance to imperialist aggression. (13)

PKI reorientation

After Amir’s resignation Sajap Kiri licked its wounds and formulated new policies and tactics. The cooperation in the Partai Sosialis between social democrats and communists, already strained after Sjahrir’s forced retirement, became impossible. It was the reflection of the new world order, with two camps confronting each other, and the threat of a Third World War imminent. Sjahrir broke with the Partai Sosialis and founded his Partai Sosialis Indonesia (PSI) in February 1948. Two weeks later Sajap Kiri was succeeded by Front Demokrasi Rakjat (FDR, People’s Democratic Front), in which Partai Sosialis, PKI, PBI, Pesindo and trade union federation SOBSI cooperated.

The name reflected the FDR’s programmatic purposes. Amir seemed to enjoy great popularity. But, without institutional and governmental support and with an unpopular stance on Renville, the FDR was vulnerable, not the least for the radical Left who saw new chances for a comeback. (14) The FDR was very much aware of this. Already in March 1948 it made a grand change of course. Renville was now repudiated. Before negotiations the Dutch troops should leave Indonesia; Dutch property could be nationalised without compensation. Hatta could now be opposed, and the FDR acted also in conformity with Stalin’s course. The main action was to campaign for the return of the FDR to the cabinet, with Amir in a key position. (15) However, this change of course was not widely publicised. In its two-pronged approach it issued also a moderate national programme, and it tried, along the parliamentary road, to gain readmission into the cabinet under the banner of a National Front. In August, the FDR had to conclude that all its efforts had ended in a deadlock. (16)

The FDR tried to pressurise the government into making concessions to it by organising a strike in the strategic textile industry in Delanggu. A local strike was taken over by SOBSI, and thus became part of the test of strength between government and FDR. The conflict was seen as the precursor to a forthcoming showdown between Left and Right. (17)

Pressure on the Hatta cabinet was increased when suddenly, on 26 May, the Soviet Press agency Tass announced that an agreement to enter into diplomatic relations, and to exchange consuls, had been signed by the Soviet ambassador in Prague, and by Suripno as special envoy of the Republik. Suripno’s mandate dated from before Renville and Amir’s resignation. The Hatta government was embarrassed.

Soviet motives for making public the agreement seem to be related to the Cold War. The United States had answered Soviet actions by initiating the Marshall Plan and military cooperation with western Europe. The agreement showed the Soviet’s anti-colonial attitude, as compared to the USA and the Netherlands. Moscow made clear its support for the Republik, in contrast to the American support of the Netherlands. Moreover, Hatta was forced to take sides. If he turned down the agreement, the FDR was supplied with an important means of propaganda. Already before this refusal, the FDR publicised the agreement as a ‘diplomatic triumph’.

Polarisation between government and FDR grew because of the Suripno Affair. Along with the simultaneous Delanggu strike it made government and the parties represented in it less inclined to include FDR in any new coalition. (18) All this served to make the situation at the beginning of August tense. The talks between Hatta and FDR on admission to the government had reached a dead end–Hatta and his following did not want it, and by demanding at least half of the seats in a new cabinet the FDR hardly helped. Rumours of an immanent civil war and the forthcoming arrest of Amir and his colleagues began to circulate.

Such a coup against the PKI was, however, not a straightforward matter. The FDR controlled armed units and could mobilise workers in strikes. Indeed, starting in July it began to put into practice its own model of the National Front at the regional and local level. By the end of the month, five such administrations were installed, all with FDR preponderance. Amir commented, when asked, that these Fronts only consisted of an FDR initiative to put into effect the cooperation between parties on the basis of the National Programme. But it was an ominous sign to the government and the non-FDR parties that from the bottom up its authority was being seriously affected. (19)

These national fronts were also the PKI answer to a change in course in the Cominform, when in June Yugoslavia was evicted from the organisation for refusing to subordinate itself to Stalin’s orders. The result was an all-out attack on nationalism. The FDR had to obey, and the consequence would be a total break with the bourgeoisie. It is unclear whether all this was clear to the FDR leaders, but, conscious or not, their National Front met Moscow’s terms, while also copying the successful Chinese communist model. (20)

This, then, was the tense situation which Muso found when he arrived back in the Republik on 12 August. He met with his comrades, who, for all practical purposes, considered him an envoy of Moscow, with a mandate to reorganise the FDR, along the guidelines of Stalin and the Cominform. (21) Sukarno and Muso, once co-lodgers in Surabaya, met on 13 August for a friendly chat. At the end of this reunion, however, Sukarno asked whether Muso would support the Republik and further the cause of the revolution. Muso answered, in Dutch: ‘Of course that’s my duty. I’ve come here to create order.’ (22) Speculation started at once about Muso’s purposes. ‘Informed circles’ suggested that he had brought from Moscow ‘an important plan’ to increase communist influence in the Republik. (23)

Muso did not waste time. The PKI Politburo met on 13 and 14 August. Muso’s exposition on ‘work and mistakes of the Party in the organizational and political fields’ was approved after ‘profound discussion’ and resulted in a resolution that would become known as ‘Djalan baru untuk Republik Indonesia’ (A new road for Republik Indonesia). (24)

Muso added introductory remarks to explain the background of the organisational mistakes. The illegal PKI, as founded by Muso in 1935, was in the forefront of anti-Japanese resistance, but made the mistake of prolonging its illegality after the proclamation. Imperialistic agents used the opportunity to form a false PKI (PKI-Jusuf). The socialist party founded by the PKI also made a great mistake when it merged with the socialists of Sjahrir in the Partai Sosialis. PKI thus diverted its attention to work in government and parliament. (25)

In this way the PKI presence became less and less–its fame and popularity, built up before 1945, was lost. This process was reinforced by the underestimation of the strength of the workers and the people as a whole, and overestimation of the power of American imperialism and lack of trust in the anti-imperialist forces led by the Soviet Union. The existence of three workers’ parties until the present day caused confusion, and provided the workers’ enemies opportunities by way of establishing false leftist parties. The Politburo’s conclusion was–also having in mind the developments in Yugoslavia–that radical change was necessary:

1. as soon as possible PIG must regain its position as vanguard of the workers’ class; 2. as soon as possible PIG must regain its good reputation from before and during the Second World War; 3. PIG must acquire the hegemony [printed in capitals] in the leadership of the National Revolution.

The PKI had already taken some steps to climb out of the ‘ravine of reformism’, but a ‘correct understanding of its strategic, organisational and political mistakes was still lacking’. ‘During the exchange of views with Comrade Muso in the politburo, critique and self-critique took place frankly. All politburo members admitted openly and unanimously their mistakes and were prepared to make these good. The radical solution for the main mistake is the establishment of a legal workers’ party, to replace the underground PKI.’ (26) The parties’ merger was to result in one workers’ party with the historical name of PKI. This was an urgent matter, but would take some time to implement. The Indonesian Revolution was labelled a national or bourgeois-democratic revolution that should be led by the working class. In the PKI, workers should be dominant, in rank and file as well as leadership, in contrast to the previous preponderance of intellectuals. (27)

The second part of Djalan baru dealt with the political mistakes, with their roots in the Japanese occupation and wrong views of west European sister parties. In this respect Muso had an axe to grind. Former CPN members returning to Indonesia, without appraising the objective situation, had applied European reformist policies to Indonesian circumstances. They did not understand that after the Allied victory cooperation with the imperialist powers should be terminated. This had led the CPN to be content with a commonwealth link between Indonesia and the Netherlands, rather than independence. (28) In this way communists had taken part in talks with imperialist powers, and political struggle had overshadowed the armed struggle. They forgot that the national revolution had to be part of the proletarian world revolution. In this respect, ‘the Soviet Union was the basis, the strongest bulwark, as the leader and champion of all anti-imperialist struggles in the world. This is caused by the fact that there are only two camps in the world, opposite to each other and fighting each other. For the Indonesian national revolution there is no other place than in the anti-imperialist camp.’ The communists had not made use of the opportunities the international balance of power offered. To the contrary, they had signed the Linggajati Agreement, and responsibility for accepting the Renville Agreement rested with them. ‘After that, the major mistake committed was the resignation of the Amir Sjarifuddin cabinet, voluntarily and without resistance.’ They completely forgot Lenin’s teachings about state power. The way was opened to bourgeois elements to take over government and leadership of the national revolution. The communists isolated themselves in opposition. (29) Since then the communists had made laudable efforts to increase their influence, but in organisational respect there was much to be desired. This was also partly to be explained by the growing repression of the Hatta cabinet. (30)

The PKI should now repudiate Linggajati and Renville, as having reduced Indonesia to the status of a colony. Instead, the PKI should maintain direct relations with the Soviet Union. It had to look for allies within the anti-imperialist camp. CPN received special mention, but had to reverse its policy from endorsing commonwealth to support for complete independence. (31)

All these principles were translated into a concrete programme. The working class, led by its vanguard, the PKI, was to lead the revolution. The PKI had to be strong, with roots in all villages, factories, businesses and estates. Its leadership was to be based on a national programme, to be executed together with other progressive parties and individuals. A purge of reactionary and counterrevolutionary elements was an absolute necessity. The PKI was to be devoted to the completion of the national revolution, as the predecessor of the socialist revolution. Unity was needed, by a ‘National Front, realized from the bottom up and supported by all progressive parties, groups and individuals’. (32) The PKI had allegedly only played lip service to the concept of such a united front up to this point. Now it had to be implemented correctly, and to lead to a national front government. (33)

Djalan baru is an almost sensational, frank document, with which Muso created order at once, at least in the FDR. Critique of FDR leaders was devastating; only a few lines may be interpreted as not negative. In organisational and political respects almost everything had gone wrong. Muso did not spare anyone and the PKI leadership was rudely disciplined and drawn back into Moscow’s harness. The PKI leaders swallowed it all. Was their agreement with the new course the price they paid to save their skins in the purge that was announced? Amir, leader of FDR, had little to retort. He had committed a deadly sin–relinquishing power after Renville–and felt guilty. Muso dominated the scene, he did not tolerate contradictory opinions and with un-Indonesian coarseness made clear what Moscow, and Muso as its mouthpiece, wanted.

Djalan baru was a public document, and the opponents of PKI thus knew what PKI held in store for them–no more than crunabs. Muso even called Djalan baru his Gottwald Plan. Still, Muso’s new course fitted in with the FDR development since Renville. It had turned against Renville, and to opposition against Hatta’s cabinet. But it had also worked to regain its place in the cabinet, and in this respect it failed. With its new local national front organisations, FDR had already came close to what Muso proposed. Amir was thus able to say that ‘the arrival of the oude heer [old man] Muso accelerates a process that is already under way’. (34) This process now involved demonstrations, strikes and possibly threats of armed action. But this was heavily mortgaged by the burden of two years of government participation and support of a diplomatic course. Could the FDR leadership break so radically with their past, and still retain credibility? The radical Left, with Tan Malaka’s supporters gaining strength again, was ready to exploit these paradoxes.

Muso in particular, followed by Suripno and the FDR leadership, were vocal in meetings and interviews, and Djalan baru was repeated, explained and given an even more radical, implacable content. (35) Djalan baru as a resolution had to be discussed and approved by all FDR organisations. PIG approval went along with the election of Muso as General Secretary. The other Politburo positions were filled with former FDR prominent members–with no purge victims, except perhaps Alimin and Sardjono who were relegated to minor portfolios. Meanwhile, the formation of local national front organisation went on, a shadow administration unfolding. (36)

On 29 August Amir Sjarifuddin publicly disclosed that he had been a PIG member since 1935. It caused a shock, and many of his fellow politicians chose not to believe this. He was considered a nationalist, a socialist, prominent in FDR, but not communist. He had been a member of the underground PKI leadership. This had remained a secret, as otherwise he would not have been able to become Prime Minister. His ‘coming out’ was ascribed to his ambition to remain on top in Republik political life, to match Muso in a forthcoming struggle for power in PKI. (37)

Tension mounted, and Hatta found it appropriate to speak out at a meeting of the Parliament’s Working Committee, saying that the government would act to correct political excesses, when necessary with an iron fist. The army also heightened its vigilance. But government was unsure as to the level of its popular support, while the army did not know how widespread sympathy for the FDR was within its own ranks. Moreover, there was the threat of a new Dutch attack on the Republik. (38)

On the other hand, the PIG and Muso did not seem to be impressed. Muso made his speeches, and started a propaganda tour on 6 September, accompanied by a good number of politburo members, with almost all the bigger cities on his schedule. Muso was the most prominent speaker. Other supporting speakers even gave accounts of their previous mistakes before crowds of thousands. They probably did not feel much at ease, and their ‘performance’ served to enhance Muso’s prestige, as Stalin’s envoy. Moreover, they became an easy prey for Left radicals, who were eager to square accounts.

A transcription and translation of the Muso speech in Madiun, an FDR stronghold, taken from the radio, on 8 September, is preserved. A few quotations will serve to document Muso’s oratory. Behind the speakers hung three banners: ‘Form a Front Nasional, on the basis of a Program Nasional with a Kabinet Nasional (anti-imperialist)’, ‘The National Revolution must be lead by the working class’ and ‘The workers are communists’. In the pamphlet announcing the meeting Muso’s Soviet credentials were expounded.

He is

a. A PIG leader in 1924-26

b. A world-renowned communist

c. A communist who wandered all over the world

d. A communist who lived for 23 years in Moscow

e. And will relate his impressions of the Soviet Union, the fatherland of the proletariat.

Next to Muso on the rostrum stood an empty chair. Muso pointed to it at the beginning of his speech, exclaiming: ‘The highly revered Comrade Stalin’. He continued:

Our revolution has now been going on for three years and yet the
workmen, peasants, pemudas and women have not benefited by these
results. On the contrary, they have suffered badly. The fault lies
in the beginning of the revolution, but we have to admit that this
has been the fault of the PIG itself. Do you realize how, brothers,
that the PIG has the courage to admit its mistakes? The
proclamation of freedom has taken the wrong turning, and now the
leadership of the revolution is in the hands of the bourgeoisie and
the landed gentry, the proletariat being excluded altogether….

I am Muso, who was exiled in 1926, who has come to re-establish
the PIG, continued by Sjarifuddin and his friends. During the
Japanese occupation they were imprisoned by the Japanese, but the
PIG will live on forever. And the fact that the PIG is highly
favoured by the people is proved by the presence of the thousands
of people at this meeting….

The Soviet Union is a proletarian country; since we too have
become a proletarian country it is only natural that we accept the
guidance of the Soviet.

There are people who put the question, what will be the direct
advantage of cooperation with the Soviets? Before consuls had been
exchanged we had already been aided by the Soviet Union. Has on the
other hand any support been received by licking the boots of the
Americans? (Cheers). For three years our government has licked the
Americans; the result is that the Americans support the
Netherlanders (Cheers). Up to this moment this policy goes on….

The PKI is not sufficiently resolute, that is why it has not
been able to influence the workmen and the peasants, that is why
it is not backed by the people. The first step now to be taken is
to reinforce the PIG. When once strong again we will mobilise the
people to march against the Netherlanders.

Are we able to oppose the Netherlanders? lust look at the Greek
guerrillas, who have held out for years against their government,
which uses American armament, even American officers are on the
side of the government. They have even started to attack and 70 per
cent of the country is in their hands. If this small country is
able to fight America, why should we, a people of 70 million heads,
be unable to march against the Netherlanders? (Cheers). We have no
proper arms, neither have the Greeks. They have captured their
weapons–even their cigarettes–from the Americans. If we want, we
too can apply these tactics. The people of Indo-China have held out
against France which is three times as strong as the Netherlands.

The armies of France, consisting of former SS-Germans, are
stronger than the Netherlands ones. Why then are we not able to do
the same? This is all our own fault and it is caused by our lack of
organisation. Our strategy has in the first place to be to kill as
many Netherlanders as possible and to seize their weapons

It is said that I am an agent from Moscow and that I have
received instructions. These are lies. Our policy is not an
instruction from Moscow, but it is a natural consequence of the
nature of our revolution. Experiences in Burma, China, etc. have
convinced me that our revolution must be in the hands of the
proletariat. This is the age of the working classes. Why has the
system of capitalism come to an end? By the Russian revolution,
which has been going on for 30 years, by the existence of the new
East-European democracies, by the labour-movements in Europe and
America and by the nationalist movements in Asia. In the Soviet
there is already socialism. And what does that mean? It means that
all means of production are in the hands of the workers, and all
trade as well. Collective agriculture made the use of aeroplanes
for sowing possible, a thing which could never be done by a private
person. In the Soviet Union atom-energy is used for agriculture, in
America for making bombs.

The Soviet Union is the leader of the world revolution, of which
our revolution forms a part, consequently we are led by the Soviet
Union. If we choose the side of the Soviet Union we are right.

Comrades, I am tired. Other speakers are waiting.

Merdeka! (39)
It was in no small measure a show in which Muso played the main part, and the other PKI leaders, branded and humiliated as responsible for the complete failure of communist policies since the proclamation, were relegated to playing ‘the bad guys’. Muso’s credentials as a Moscow veteran were employed to the utmost, and supported by a bright picture of the Soviet Union, as a workers’ paradise. It all tasted very much of millenarianism, that always had found fruitful ground in Java, especially in times of crisis and war. But Muso did not fail to explain the ‘two camp theory’, and that there was no room for neutrality in the worldwide struggle between imperialism and socialism, which was inevitably to result in a communist victory. While Djalan baru was outspoken, but still somewhat inhibited as a written document, in words there were only vehemence and implacability. There was no room, in Muso’s political order, for bourgeois leaders, for the traditional nobility, for hereditary leadership in the villages. The state owned the enterprises; workers could rise to become its directors. Land was distributed to its tillers. It was all-out war against the Netherlands–guerrillas and scorched earth were the tactics to be employed, and the aim was to kill as many Dutch soldiers as possible. Muso called on the Muslims to join him in this ‘holy war’.
It was all written and said in the open. All non-communists could read the signs on the wall, but they choose to ignore its message, until it was too late?

The road to armed revolt

In these first weeks of September Surakarta, the second city of the Republik, became the scene of a complex conflict. Surakarta had become the centre of oppositional forces. FDR and left radicals had their headquarters there. The army division had strong FDR sympathies, and was able to thwart government efforts to ‘rationalise’ it, thanks also to backing of army commander Sudirman. When, according to the stipulations of the Renville Agreement, thousands of military of the West Javanese Siliwangi Division were evacuated to the Republik, many of them were quartered in or near Surakarta. Siliwangi was loyal to the government and anti-leftist. Their quartering in overcrowded Surakarta, the lack of housing and food, the inhospitable population, all served to make Siliwangi unhappy. After armed incidents and kidnappings the situation got out of hand. Lower ranking officers of Siliwangi played an important role in the early stages. A train of events was set in motion, and the top officers of Siliwangi decided to fight it out. Sudirman did his best to halt the fighting, and even sided with the local division. But he had to give in, and Siliwangi, by threat and deceit, was able to expel its fellow military from Surakarta. Intra-army contradictions were reinforced by political conflict. Pesindo headquarters were raided, and in reprisal the prominent leftist leader Muwardi, chairman of an anti-PKI federation, was kidnapped, never to be found again.

Developments in Solo were in retrospect of even greater importance in the trial of strength between government and PKI/FDR. Both parties later accused the other of having consciously sought confrontation. This does not seem to have been the case. Local developments followed their own course and the government and FDR only reacted.

The FDR wanted to ‘localise’ the conflict. The new communist party was under construction, and needed time to reorganise. Surakarta was a stronghold to be maintained. Its position on the road from central to east Java also protected the FDR dominance in Madiun, the third city of the Republik. The government only in a late stage could extend its grip on Surakarta, and record an important political and military victory. In an irreversible process of action and reaction, of expectation and suspicion, of uncertainty about the opponents’ plans, the road to confrontation was taken. (40)

The next stage was set in Madiun. Here Soemarsono, appointed head of the local ‘Action Committee’, was charged by FDR to execute the national programme, in particular the land reforms that were part of it. It was an operation on a grand scale. On 8 September, Amir told a mass meeting in Madiun that in 260 villages land was reallocated. Force was used. Next, armed incidents were reported in Madiun. Alarming reports from Surakarta made the FDR nervous and fearsome of a recurrence. Soemarsono had talks with the politburo, which had arrived in Kediri on its tour, on 10 or 11 September. Here it was decided to launch a preemptive strike in Madiun against Siliwangi and likeminded units. Execution and timing was to be decided in consultation with the politburo. In this connection on the day before the action, which was launched on 18 September, two politburo members, Wikana and Setiadjit, arrived in Madiun, and took a leading part in the preparations. Their presence has not been acknowledged in the literature on the Madiun revolt. Scholarly accounts are in agreement with later PKI historiography and call the events in Madiun a local affair that got out of hand, or–a view predominant in the PKI accounts–a pretext used by Hatta (Sukarno’s role being ignored) to provoke a showdown with PKI/FDR. There is thus need to revise the story. (41)

The revolt was an initial success and power in Madiun and other north lava towns fell into FDR hands. The politburo assembled in Madiun and in a radio speech Muso launched his claim for power against Sukarno. However, Siliwangi marched successfully against FDR troops and after 10 days Madiun was recaptured. It was not the end of the revolt. It took till the end of November before the FDR guerrilla forces were defeated. In the process, Muso was killed on 31 October.


The arrival of Muso was a catalyst. Before, FDR was still looking for a return to power by parliamentary means, with extrapadiamentary pressure, like the Delanggu strike, applied in support of this aim. There was also reflection on possible use of armed force should a national front government fail to materialise, amongst other possible scenarios.

This was the context into which Muso arrived ‘to create order’, first of all in his own party. His new programme, Djalan baru, was swallowed by the FDR leadership. More than his reputation as a PKI veteran this will have been brought about by him being considered the the envoy of Stalinist Moscow, to whom they understood only unconditional obedience was appropriate. His arrival ended caution, diplomacy and the secrecy about illegal actions. Djalan baru was clear and Muso in speech and writing even more so. His objective was a communist Republik, cosmetically made up as a national front government. The Republik’s government knew what was in store–there would be no place for Sukarno and Hatta, the Sultan of Jogjakarta was to disappear and the army was regarded as ‘fascist’. His utterances blocked any chance of compromise. He also blocked a potential ally: the Tan Malaka supporters. The result was bitter denunciation by the radical left of the FDR leaders who had admitted political mistakes. This was effective, and the FDR had no answer. PKI could not possibly punish its leaders, as they were all guilty. Thus, it did not go beyond painful self critique.

Government reaction on all this was reserved. No plans were made to withstand the PKI threat. The army restricted itself to warning words and vigilance. It looks that in this way PKI was granted time to consolidate and–when a peaceful take-over of power would not succeed–launch military action at a time of its own choosing.

The events in Solo disturbed this scenario. The PKI chose to reply in kind; the choice was between Sukarno and Muso. It ended in failure, and PKI/FDR made crucial mistakes in military and organisational respects during the revolt.

It was Muso who set the course towards confrontation. It was his fault that due to his tactless behaviour armed conflict started at an inopportune moment. With more caution he would have been able to postpone the confrontation until a time when his party was better prepared. The government in Jog, jakarta might not have reacted with the choice: Sukarno or Muso.

The new Moscow policy would probably anyway have resulted in a rupture and confrontation, but with Amir, Suripno, Setiadjit and Alimin, instead of Muso, it would have happened later. The chances of success would have been greater: the PKI would be stronger, the economic crisis in the Republik deeper, and the deadlock in the negotiations with the Netherlands more unsolvable

Kesultanan dalam masa 1945

Di pertengahan tahun 1945 orang-orang pergerakan di Jakarta sudah berhasil memasuki masa puncak kerjanya yaitu : Proklamasi Kemerdekaan Indonesia, dimana Bung Karno dan Bung Hatta menyatakan kemerdekaannya. Namun tuntutan kemerdekaan politik itu oleh pihak Republikein secara de jure hanya daerah kekuasaan Belanda. Di luar
kekuasaan Belanda kaum Republikein tidak berhak, sementara wilayah kekuasaan Solo-Yogya disebut Voorstenlanden adalah daerah yang dipertuan oleh Sunan Solo, Mangkunegoro, Sultan Yogya dan Paku Alam
dan bukan kekuasaan Hindia Belanda.

Di puncak sejarah inilah nasib kedua wilayah menjadi sangat berbeda juga nasib kehidupan kraton- kratonnya kelak. Sunan Solo dan Mangkunegoro bimbang, bahkan separuh menolak bergabung dengan Republik Indonesia. Mereka takut bila bergabung dengan Republik kerajaan-kerajaan akan dilikuidir dan pemerintahan yang dikabarkan Sosialis itu menolak adanya bentuk feodalisme. Sementara Sultan Yogya dan Paku Alam dengan keyakinanbulat mendukung Republik Indonesia dan bergabung dengan Republik Indonesia.

Penggabungan Sultan Yogya ini merupakan simbol bahwa Raja Jawa (Jawa adalah simbol dari pusatnya Nusantara) berdiri dibelakang Sukarno-Hatta ini berarti dari sisi budaya kemerdekaan RI mendapatkan
legitimasinya. Sunan Solo dan Mangkunegoro masih menolak dan ini berakibat fatal karena rakyat Solo keburu marah pada dua raja ini dan meledaklah Gerakan Swapraja dimana mereka menuntut Raja Solo dan Mangkunegaran menyerahkan hak istimewanya ke Republik Indonesia sejak
saat itulah Kasunanan Solo kehilangan wibawanya.

Mangkunegaran masih agak terselamatkan karena kelak Suharto yang menjadi Presiden RI kedua menikahi kerabat jauh Mangkunegaran dan Keraton Mangkunegaran
masih sedikit memiliki pamor.

Aksi Militer Belanda ke 2

tanggal 18 Desember 1948.
Belanda berhasil menerjunkan ribuan orang ke Maguwo Yogya tanpa perlawanan berarti kecuali dari taruna-taruna AURI dibawah komando

Penyerbuan ke Yogya pada waktu sangat mendadak pasukan
penerjun payung kebanyakan KNIL orang Ambon dan Kupang dalam pertempuran di Maguwon itu 40 orang anak buah Kasmiran tewas ditempat. Saat itu sedang berlangsung perundingan antara pihak RI dengan Belanda di daerah Kaliurang. AH Nasution juga sedang berada di Yogya dan terlibat perundingan namun tiba-tiba Belanda melakukan
sebuah keputusan nekat menyerang Yogyakarta.

Prakarsa ini melawan kehendak Van Mook dan diputuskan oleh Dr.Beel Perdana Menteri Belanda dari garis keras, Van Mook sendiri lebih menginginkan langkah
kooptasi dengan membentuk pemerintahan-pemerintahan boneka yang mengepung Jawa, tapi karena Belanda baru saja dapat bantuan dari proyek Marshall Plan uangnya digunakan untuk membiayai perang.

Serangan Belanda ke Maguwo mengikuti metode pasukan Jerman saat menduduki Nederland tanggal 10 Mei 1941. Menggunakan taktik penerjunan payung. Dengan langsung terjun payung, maka pasukan Belanda bisa langsung berada di garis belakang musuh tanpa melewati
barikade-barikade militer yang ada di sekeliling Yogya terutama jalur Semarang-Yogya atau Purwekerto-Yogya. Pimpinan serangan umum Belanda ada ditangan Jenderal Spoor, yang dulu merupakan anak buah dan didikan Letjen Oerip Soemohardjo semasa di KNIL.

Untuk pasukan dalam kota diserahkan kepada Kolonel Van Langen Komandan Brigade T. Serangan berjalan lancar pertahanan dari pihak republik sama sekali tidak ada. Bahkan beberapa penduduk saat melihat pesawat-pesawat
tempur jenis cureng di udara dan tank sherman mulai masuk kota, rakyat malah takjub dikiranya TNI sedang latihan perang-perangan.

Beberapa diantaranya berteriak kegirangan karena bangga melihat pesawat-pesawat canggih terbang di atas kota dan mereka kira itu pesawat milik TNI AU. Memang sebelum serangan dimulai AH Nasution dan Bambang Sugeng Komandan Divisi Djawa Tengah sudah mengabarkan bahwa
TNI akan melakukan latihan perang-perangan untuk mengantisipasi serangan Belanda. Namun belum latihan ternyata TNI sudah kedahuluan anak buah Jenderal Spoor.

Jenderal Sudirman yang tahu kota Yogya sudah terkepung buru-buru menghadap Bung Karno dan penggede-penggede Republik yang sedang rapat di Gedung Agung (Istana Negara) membahas serbuan Belanda. Jenderal Sudirman disuruh mengunggu di luar, sebentar Bung Karno menemui
Sudirman dan mengatakan “Saya akan menyerahkan diri” Sudirman kecewa akan keputusan Bung Karno, dia balik bertanya “Bung tak mau bergerilya dengan saya di hutan-hutan?” Bung Karno diam sejenak lalu tangannya memegang hidungnya, sejenak matanya berkedip-kedip “Dirman,
kau tahu saya akan merasa terhina bila saya nanti tertangkap Belanda di kampung-kampung tengah hutan sebagai pelarian. Apalagi bila saya terbunuh, lebih baik saya ditangkap dengan cara terhormat dengan ini
berarti dunia Internasional masih memperhatikan saya,…sekarang kamu pulanglah dulu..kamu sedang sakit, lebih baik beristirahatlah” Sudirman kecewa bukan main terhadap jawaban Bung Karno sebelumnya ia
juga sudah kecewa dengan sikap pemerintah yang didominasi kelompok Sjahrir yang masih suka berunding dengan Belanda. Sudirman lebih
bersimpati pada kekuatan militer yang terpengaruh Tan Malaka ketimbang TNI pro Hatta atau Sjahrir. Tapi dia sungkan dengan Bung Karno. Akhirnya Sudirman pulang dengan hati mangkel.

Sudirman berjalan bersama ajudannya ke rumahnya. Sudah dua bulan dia terbaring sakit, dan baru kali ini dia bisa bangun dan keluar rumah setelah mendengar beberapa kali bunyi bom. Di rumah Sudirman lalu
tidur di kamarnya. Paru-parunya tinggal satu, yang satunya lagi juga sudah menghitam terpengaruh penyakit. Badannya kurus kering.

Saat ia terbaring beberapa perwira TNI mengunjunginya termasuk Kolonel Bambang Sugeng. “Saya tidak mau menyerah dengan Belanda” kata Jenderal Sudirman.

`Ya, Pak kita juga tidak akan menyerah, tapi Belanda sudah mengepung Yogya” kata Kapten Tjokropranolo ajudan Jenderal Sudirman. “Tjokro, ambilkan aku jas dan blangkon di laci, minta pada Ibu…”
“Lho, Bapak mau kemana?”
“Saya akan menyingkir ke hutan-hutan saya tidak mau ditangkap Belanda”
“Tapi Bapak masih sakit”
“Anak-anakku masih banyak bergerilya di dalam hutan, masak aku mau
nyerah begitu saja”
“Baiklah Pak nanti Bapak ditandu saja dengan kursi kayu di depan”

Sidang darurat di tengah agresi militer Belanda berlangsung cepat. Diputuskan pemerintahan akan di over ke Bukittinggi kebetulan disana ada Menteri Kemakmuran Sjarifudin Prawiranegara dan beberapa pemimpin
Republik lapis tengah sedang bertugas di Bukittinggi. Termasuk beberapa perwira yang ada di Sumatera seperti Kolonel Hidayat yang menjabat Panglima Komandan Sumatera (ajudan Kol. Hidayat ini Kapten
Islam Salim- anak Agus Salim-), Kolonel Nazir diangkat menjadi Kepala Staf Angkatan Laut PDRI juga Kolonel Hubertus Soejono menjadi KSAU
(kelak di tubuh AURI terjadi perpecahan karena belum terselesaikannya masalah penyerahan KSAU PDRI ke KSAU RI karena Suryadarma masih menganggap dia sabagai KSAU resmi, Suryadarma juga ikut ditangkap
pada penyerbuan Belanda 28 Desember 1948 dan dibuang ke Bangka). Bung Hatta juga memerintahkan agar dibangun sebanyak mungkin zender (jaringan pengirim) radio untuk dijadikan kekuatan penekan bagi Palar di PBB.

Setelah selesai Bung Karno keluar ruangan dan mendengar suara bom terus berjatuhan, sementara Sri Sultan HB IX berjalan di belakangnya. Bung Karno menoleh kepada Sultan. “Bung Sultan bagaimana dengan Bung, apa Bung yakin aman disini?” Dengan tersenyum Sri Sultan berkata “Bung Karno tidak usah mengkhawatirken saya, Belanda
tidak akan berani masuk Keraton, nanti biar para perwira-perwira TNI bersembunyi di dalam Keraton menyamar jadi abdi dalem”

“kalau begitu saya akan tunggu itu Van Langen tangkap
saya…sementara Bung Sultan tetap di Yogya”
“Ya saya kira begitu” Sri Sultan tersenyum. Sultan tahu Van Langen tidak akan berani menangkap dirinya, karena Sri Ratu Belanda sudah berpesan pada tentara Belanda jangan mengutak-atik kawannya Sri Sultan HB IX.

Penangkapan Sukarno dan Perdebatan Sukarno dengan Jenderal Spoor dan Jenderal Mayoor Jaantje Meijer

Seorang Kapten Belanda masuk ke dalam gedong agung dan menghadap Bung Karno. “Tuan akan segera kami tangkap” Bung Karno tersenyum dan berkata singkat “Ya, kami sudah tahu…” mata Bung Karno melihat ke arah Perdana Menteri Hatta, Sjahrir, KSAU Surjadarma dan beberapa
menteri lainnya. Lalu dia berkata pada kabinet Hatta itu “Ayo kita berangkat” Lalu Bung Karno dengan menenteng jas dan kopernya dibawa seorang serdadu Belanda menumpang sebuah jeep dibawa ke Maguwo untuk bertemu dengan Kolonel Van Langen, Komandan Brigade T.

“Saya harus diperlakukan sebagai Presiden Republik Indonesia, apa yang anda lakukan sudah menyalahi hukum perang..” kata Bung Karno dengan suara tegas pada Kolonel Van Langen. Kolonel Van Langen yang dari tadi duduk kemudian berdiri dan berjalan ke mejanya, ia mengambil sebuah surat dari atasannya. “Ini bacalah, Tuan” Bung
Karno mengambil kertas itu lalu membaca singkat. “Saya bukan bagian dari negara Tuan, negeri kami sudah merdeka…dan saya adalah Presiden Republik Indonesia, saya tidak mau kalian tangkap seperti
penjahat” Kolonel Van Langen agak gusar dengan jawaban Bung Karno tapi dia juga tidak tahu status Bung Karno dalam penangkapan ini apa. Dia berjalan keluar ruangan kerjanya dan menyuruh anak buahnya menghubungi Jenderal Spoor. “Ya, ada apa Kolonel?”
“Jenderal, Tuan Sukarno minta kejelasan status”
“Ya, dia tawanan perang” Jawab Spoor singkat.
“Status tawanan apa?” tanya Van Langen.
“Presiden Republik Indonesia…biar saja, toh nanti akan segera kita
likuidir Republik itu”
“Ya kalau begitu baiklah….” Kolonel Van Langen melangkah ke dalam dan menemui Bung Karno. “Tuan anda kami tawan sebagai Presiden Republik Indonesia” Bung Karno tersenyum lebar. “Baiklah tapi ingat Kolonel kalian punya
pemerintahan sudah bikin kesalahan fatal” wajah Van Langen meringis lalu berkata pelan “Saya tidak tahu politik Tuan, saya hanya tahu perang” Bung Karno tertawa. “Lalu kemana kami akan kalian bawa”

“Tuan akan kami putuskan setelah Tuan berada dalam pesawat, saya juga tidak tahu dimana Tuan akan kami bawa” Wajah Bung Karno tiba-tiba muram ia takut Belanda main curang dengan mentorpedo pesawatnya, tapi ia menenangkan diri Belanda lebih sportif daripada Jepang.

“TuanSukarno besok Pagi Jenderal Mayoor Meijer akan datang menemui Tuan” Bung Karno membenarkan letak duduknya “Jaantje Meijer sudah jadi Jenderal?”
“Ya Tuan… Jenderal Mayoor” Jawab Van Langen singkat. Bung Karno tahu Jaantje masih berpangkat Kolonel saat penyerbuan pasukan Belanda ke arah selatan Jawa dan sekitar Gunung Slamet.

Paginya Jenderal Mayoor Meijer datang ke ruang tahanan Bung Karno. Dengan berpakaian rapi dia menyapa sopan Bung Karno. “Goeden Morgen,Tuan Sukarno apa kabar?” Bung Karno berdiri menyambut Meijer. “Baik Tuan Meijer, saya masih Presiden Republik Indonesia” Meijer tertawa
dan mengajak Bung Karno bicara. ” Dengan serangan ini berarti pemerintahan Republik Indonesia sudah tidak ada lagi”
Bung Karno bungkem dia menaham marah mendengar kata-kata Meijer. “Tuan Sukarno saya harap pasukan-pasukan liar ekstremis menghentikan perlawanannya” Bung Karno semakin kesal mendengar ucapan
Meijer. Akhirnya Bung Karno bicara setelah mendengar Meijer bicara panjang lebar tentang kemungkinan-kemungkinan masa depan. “Dengar Tuan Meijer saya tidak akan tunduk dengan siapapun, Pasukanmu mungkin
berhasil menguasai Yogyakarta tapi pasukan-pasukan liar yang Tuan sebut tadi, akan merebutnya kembali…Kami bukan orang yang gampang menyerah”

“Terserah Tuan tapi Tuan kami akan segera tawan di luar Jawa”
“Saya tidak takut”
Meijer menyalami Bung Karno dan pamit keluar.

Dua hari kemudian Bung Karno dan rombongan di bawa ke Brastagi. Lalu mereka di pindahkan ke tepi danau Toba. Di danau Toba segerombolan pemuda Republik nekat mau membebaskan Bung Karno cs namun keburu ketahuan Belanda, mereka
kemudian diberondong peluru dan tewas semua. Di Prapat ini juga Bung Karno mendengar bahwa dia mau di eksekusi mati. Hati Bung Karno gelisah bukan main saat mendengar desas desus dia mau dieksekusi dari salah seorang pelayan yang nangis-nangis karena mendengar kabar dari
seorang serdadu Belanda Bung Karno mau dieksekusi. Bung Karno berjalan ke kamarnya dan membuka Al Qur’an dengan sembarang lalu menemukan sebuah ayat yang berbunyi : Mati Hidup manusia di tangan
Allah SWT. Setelah itu hati Bung Karno tenang. Tak lama kemudian Bung Karno dipindahkan ke Bangka.

Pertemuan Sri Sultan dengan Soeharto pertama kali

Sementara di Yogyakarta Sri Sultan HB IX terus menerus mendapat tekanan dari pihak Belanda. Beberapa intel Belanda melaporkan Sri Sultan HB IX terbukti menjalin kerjasama dengan beberapa perwira TNI
juga menyembunyikan mereka di dalam Kraton. Sri Sultan menolak tuduhan Belanda dan meminta agar Belanda memeriksa sendiri saja ke dalam Keraton. Tapi bila pasukan Belanda berani masuk ke Keraton dia akan protes kepada kawan kecilnya yang sudah jadi Ratu Belanda, Juliana.

Kemudian datanglah Pro-Kontra itu yang menjadi perang sejarah sampai saat ini belum selesai. Yaitu Serangan Umum 1 Maret 1949. Untuk itu mari kita baca dulu dari versi Sri Sultan HB IX. Setelah penangkapan Belanda terhadap pemimpin-pemimpin Republik Indonesia, PBB mengalami
kegemparan. Nehru, Perdana Menteri India menuding Belanda sudah melakukan perbuatan biadab tak tahu malu. Kemarahan Nehru ini didukung oleh anggota-anggota PBB lainnya. Yang paling galak adalah Australia, Australia meminta Belanda mematuhi etika hukum Internasional karena sudah berulang kali Belanda berunding dengan
pihak Indonesia baik melalui pihak ketiga atau Komisi Tiga Negara dan Komite Jasa Baik dengan begitu Belanda mengakui eksistensi negara RI, sementara penyerbuan kemarin itu dinyatakan Belanda sebagai aksi
Polisionil dengan menyamakan agresi militer dengan aksi polisionil berarti Belanda secara tidak langsung sudah menyatakan Republik Indonesia sudah tidak ada lagi.

Amerika Serikat sendiri lewat delegasinya mendesak Belanda mengadakan perundingan dengan pihak Indonesia seraya mengancam bila kelakukan Belanda tidak berubah maka dompet bantuan Amerika terhadap Belanda tidak akan terbuka lagi. “Belanda harus mematuhi peraturan-peraturan
Internasional dan mengikuti cara-cara penyelesaian konflik yang terhormat”

Belanda yang merasa terpojok dengan desakan negara-negara anggota PBB berteriak lantang “Republik Indonesia tidak ada lagi, buktinya sama
sekali tidak ada perlawanan dari pihak kaum RI ketika pemimpin- pemimpinnya kami tangkap”

Sri Sultan mendengarkan perdebatan-perdebatan PBB ini baik-baik dari siaran BBC, ia mengambil kesimpulan bahwa harus diadakan serangan militer besar-besaran yang dapat membuktikan anggapan Belanda itu salah. Ia duduk terdiam dan berpikir apa bisa militer melakukan serangan terkonsolidasi. Sri Sultan HB IX meminta pendapat kakaknya
Pangeran Prabuningrat apakah bisa militer dikonsolidasikan untuk melakukan serangan yang sedang ia pikirkan. Pangeran Prabuningrat mengusulkan agar Sultan memanggil salah seorang perwira TNI yang masih ada di sekitar Yogya.
“Siapa, Latief Hendraningrat sedang di luar kota”
“Itu Komandan Wehrkreiss III, yang orangnya pendiam masih di sekitar Yogyakarta?”
“Yang mana?” tanya balik Prabuningrat.
“Itu lho yang berhasil rebut tangsi senjata Jepang di Kotabaru”
“Oh, Overste Suharto”
“Ya, Suharto…suruh orang Keraton hubungi dia untuk datang kesini,
menyamar jadi Abdi Dalem Keraton saja”
“Baiklah” kata Prabuningrat.

Suharto datang diam-diam ke Keraton Yogya dengan menyamar menjadi Abdi Dalem (kisah Suharto menyamar menjadi Abdi Dalem ini sempat di film-kan oleh Usmar Ismail di tahun 1950 dan masih versi Orisinil jauh dari kesan menjilat). Suharto dibawa Marsoedi sebagai perwira
penghubung antara Suharto dengan Sri Sultan ke ruang khusus Sri Sultan untuk membicarakan kemungkinan serangan besar-besaran di Yogyakarta. Kejadian itu berlangsung tanggal 14 Februari 1949.

“Mas Harto duduklah” Jawab Sultan dengan bahasa Jawa halus.
“Baik Kanjeng Sinuwun” Jawab Letkol Suharto dengan menggunakan bahasa Jawa Tinggi yang biasa dibahasakan seorang hamba pada Paduka Rajanya.
“Mas Harto akhir-akhir ini keamanan kota Yogya tidak stabil bagaimana kamu bisa membereskannya supaya tidak ada lagi penjarahan-penjarahan di toko-toko dan perampokan-perampokan yang kabarnya juga menggunakan
senjata, Belanda sendiri kewalahan terhadap aksi liar para perampok itu”

“Bisa Kanjeng Sinuwun, saya usahaken agar perampokan itu tidak ada lagi..”

Sri Sultan melihat ke arah radio dan kemudian matanya menerawang dalam-dalam. Ia tahu sedang diamat-amati intel Belanda namun penilaian Belanda sama sekali salah, ia diperkirakan akan memperjuangkan Yogya sebagai daerah otonom dibawah Belanda atau diam- diam ingin menjadi Presiden Republik Indonesia. Padahal apa yang
dilakukan Sultan adalah bentuk pengabdian Raja Jawa terhadap kehendak sejarah. Dan Belanda kurang paham terhadap bentuk pengabdian ini. Sri Sultan betul-betul ingin mengabdi pada Republik Indonesia bukan mengejar ambisinya. Tangan kanan Sri Sultan memegang dagu-nya yang agak lancip itu lalu dia berkata pelan pada Letkol Suharto.

“Mas Harto apa bisa dilakukan serangan besar-besaran ke Yogyakarta?”
“Maksud Sinuwun?” Suharto balik bertanya.
“Serangan pendadakan agar Belanda tahu Republik masih ada”
“Hmmm…saya usahaken”
“Berapa pasukan yang kamu punya?”
“Kalau dihitung-hitung yang bisa saya kerahkan dari SubWehrkreis saya
sekitar dua ribu orang”
“Hmmm…dua ribu cukup”
“Memang Sinuwun mau merencanakan apa?”
“Saya menginginkan agar TNI bisa masuk ke dalam kota dan merebut semua tempat yang dikuasai Belanda terutama gudang senjata yang ada di Pabrik Waston itu, juga beberapa titik penting seperti Stasiun Kereta Api, Jalan Malioboro dan Benteng Vredenburg”
Suharto terdiam sejenak dia berpikir dalam-dalam. Suharto adalah ahli strategi dia tidak akan mengambil keputusan bila keputusan itu tidak akan ia menangkan. Ia bukan tipe pengambil spekulasi yang untung- untungan ia harus paham situasi. Namun yang dihadapinya adalah Sri Sultan, Rajanya. Ia juga berpikir bahwa inti kekuatan pasukan Belanda
adalah KNIL pribumi kebanyakan dari Ambon, yang juga agak tak yakin dengan Belanda, bagaimanapun orang-orang pribumi itu dalam hatinya memihak Republik. Yang ditakutkan Suharto justru pasukan Marinir Belanda yang sudah dididik di Virginia Amerika.

“Berapa jam yang dibutuhkan pasukan bantuan Belanda dari luar Yogya terutama yang di Semarang itu bisa tiba ke Yogya?”
“empat jam mungkin mereka akan sampai ke Yogya dan langsung membantu pertempuran”
“Kamu bisa kuasai Yogya selama enam Jam, Mas Harto?”
“Bisa Sinuwun”
“Kamu sanggup?”
“Sanggup sinuwun”
“Sekarang laksanakan” Sri Sultan adalah Menteri Pertahanan pada kabinet Hatta dia mengerti problem-problem kekuatan angkatan perang kita. Dan dengan strategi perebutan kota Yogyakarta diharapkan LN Palar wakil Indonesia di luar negeri punya dukungan fakta bahwa Indonesia masih ada”. analisa Sri Sultan dengan mata menerawang ke depan.

Testimoni Perwira Jepang soal Proklamasi: Tan Malaka , Sekolah Maeda dan Detik-detik yang menegangkan


I) THE INDEPENDENCE PROCLAMATION IN JAKARTA (Indonesia Dokuritsu Kakumei, pp. 186-221)
Unforgettable People

Nishijima Shigetada



The impression of my first meeting with Tan Malaka, one day immediately after the declaration of independence, is still deeply inscribed on my memory. Merah putih flags were flying in the town and the exultation of people was growing day by day. The Japanese, in contrast, were left anxious and uneasy because of the defeat of their fatherland and the uncertainty about their future. I myself was in the same mood, seeking desperately for some psychological security. For this reason, I often visited Subardjo. Among the Japanese in Indonesia I may have been rather fortunate to have had many Indonesian friends. Once I was introduced to an Indonesian by Subardjo. I remember that the Indonesian looked tough, and his gold teeth glittered. Subardjo asked me whether I knew who the man was, but I could not hazard a guess. Anyway, we began to talk. I was immediately surprised by the man’s abundant knowledge and consistency of thought. It was apparent from his comments on revolution and the political structure after revolution that he was well acquainted with Marxism. Moreover, he talked about the strategy of mass movement, of propaganda, and of warfare. I was deeply impressed by his arguments because they were firmly based on an analysis of the international situation. I thought, ‘How could a man who looks like a peasant analyse things so sharply?’ This was no simple man. After we had talked for more than two hours, Subardjo said, ‘Mr Nishijima! This is the real Tan Malaka!’ Needless to say I was first very astonished and then enormously excited. I shook his hand again warmly.

* * *

With the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war, Tan Malaka had moved to Singapore, taking a job as teacher in a Chinese school. When the Greater East Asia War broke out and Singapore fell into the hands of the Japanese, he smuggled himself to Medan, in North Sumatra, with the help of a Chinese friend. Later, he sneaked into the slums of Jakarta, where he lived for about a year, indulging his taste for reading and writing, without disclosing his name. Suffering from financial difficulties, he found a job at the Bayu coal mine as a clerk.

( While working there he travelled around Java, including Jakarta, under the alias of Husein. He visited Jakarta as representative of a group in the Bayu area, in order to attend a youth conference to be held there in August 1945, but the conference was banned by the Japanese.

At the Japanese surrender, Tan Malaka appeared at Subardjo’s residence. He also visited Chaerul Saleh (later Vice-Premier), one of the leaders of the youth group at that time, but he did not disclose his name. It is quite understandable in view of his long experience as a refugee that Tan Malaka did not trust people. He also visited Sukarni, * another youth leader, and even stayed at his house at the same time that members of the youth group took Sukarno and Hatta into custody at Rengasdengklok. Tan Malaka neither revealed his name to Sukarni nor participated in the abduction of the two leaders. He revealed himself for the first time when he called on Subardjo. Although Subardjo had met Tan Malaka in the Netherlands in 1922, he did not realize that this was the Tan Malaka and for a time took him to be Iskaq Tjokroadisoerjo (who later became a leader of the Indonesian Nationalist Party, and rose to be Minister of the Interior and Minister of the Economy), since the two looked alike. Even when Tan Malaka revealed himself, Subardjo could not at first believe it.

Tan Malaka was evidently sought after by the Japanese Army during the occupation, and it was rumoured several times that he had been arrested. However, there was no substance to such rumours. On each occasion, the Japanese arrested a man as Tan Malaka, only to find that he was not. It was also rumoured that Tan Malaka had been arrested by the Beppan [the Special Task Team] of the 16th Army, and that he escaped from jail by breaking the roof.

During the occupation I discussed Marxist ideas with Indonesians acquainted with them, and we exchanged views. Indonesians were generally reluctant to talk of Marxism and socialism for fear of being accused by the Kempeitai, but they

*     Sukarni ( 1916-71) was born in Blitar, East Java, and while still a schoolboy became involved in the nationalist party Partindo and in Indonesia Muda, whose national president he became for a time in 1934. After a period of arrest he went underground in the late thirties, and appears to have become a contact for Tan Malaka’s PARI party. He was arrested again by the Dutch in 1940, released by the Japanese, and worked during the occupation in Japanese propaganda agencies. He and Chaerul Saleh became the pemuda (youth) proteges of the Japanese propaganda chief Shimizu, and were well placed at the end of the occupation as national youth leaders. After independence Sukarni became the leader of the Tan Malakainspired Murba party, and later an ambassador to Peking. )

reated me as an exception. Some Indonesians close to me broke the taboo rather boldly. One of these was Iwa Kusuma Sumantri (later Minister of Defence). * Although Iwa was not a Marxist, he was well versed in Marxism because he had lived in Moscow as a student and had a Russian wife. He once told me, ‘After World War I, the terms “workers” and “peasants” were in constant use. Since then, office workers have come to constitute a large proportion of the working class. In other words, the substance of the working class has been changing considerably. This trend will be accelerated after this war. Even in Russia, a young generation is emerging which criticizes capitalism without having experienced it’.

I felt that what Iwa said was quite true. When I had been involved in the socialist movement in Japan, the unions of manual labourers were the major force in the movement, and the unions of office workers were rather ancillary. Now, however, the unions of office workers are the major force in the movement. Even in Russia, the centre of the socialist movement, a younger generation had grown up who knew of capitalism only in theoretical terms, and they were expected to guide the communist leaders of Japan, a capitalist country, and of Italy, where the leaders had a long experience of the movement. As a natural result, rifts appeared between the younger generation of Russians and the [communist] leaders of Japan and Italy. I had been vaguely aware of this, but Iwa’s logical explanation helped clarify my thoughts.

When I discussed Iwa’s views with Tan Malaka, he listened to me closely, and kindly answered my questions, giving his own views. Although I did not usually reveal my weakness, I was unable to conceal the great shock caused me by the Japanese surrender. I explained my feelings frankly to Tan Malaka: ‘We are defeated. Nothing can be done now. I do not want to go back to Japan. In short, I am completely confused’.

Tan Malaka listened to me, then answered slightly reprovingly, ‘I met Sano Manabu through my activities in the Comintern. I also know Ho Chi Minh and have argued with Stalin. Thus I believe I understand the position of other countries and the international situation. As far as the independence of Indonesia is concerned, I don’t think it will be achieved before I die. Independence cannot be achieved merely by a declaration, but must be substantiated by an

*     Iwa Kusuma Sumantri ( 1899-1972), a Sundanese, was born in Tjiamis and obtained a Leiden law degree in 1925. He was active in left-wing politics while in Europe and published in Moscow a Marxist tract, The Peasant’s Movement in Indonesia ( 1926) under the pseudonym S. Dingley. Highly suspect by the Dutch from the time of his return to a Medan law practice, he was imprisoned in 1929 and released only in 1941. )

reated me as an exception. Some Indonesians close to me broke the taboo rather boldly. One of these was Iwa Kusuma Sumantri (later Minister of Defence). * Although Iwa was not a Marxist, he was well versed in Marxism because he had lived in Moscow as a student and had a Russian wife. He once told me, ‘After World War I, the terms “workers” and “peasants” were in constant use. Since then, office workers have come to constitute a large proportion of the working class. In other words, the substance of the working class has been changing considerably. This trend will be accelerated after this war. Even in Russia, a young generation is emerging which criticizes capitalism without having experienced it’.

I felt that what Iwa said was quite true. When I had been involved in the socialist movement in Japan, the unions of manual labourers were the major force in the movement, and the unions of office workers were rather ancillary. Now, however, the unions of office workers are the major force in the movement. Even in Russia, the centre of the socialist movement, a younger generation had grown up who knew of capitalism only in theoretical terms, and they were expected to guide the communist leaders of Japan, a capitalist country, and of Italy, where the leaders had a long experience of the movement. As a natural result, rifts appeared between the younger generation of Russians and the [communist] leaders of Japan and Italy. I had been vaguely aware of this, but Iwa’s logical explanation helped clarify my thoughts.

When I discussed Iwa’s views with Tan Malaka, he listened to me closely, and kindly answered my questions, giving his own views. Although I did not usually reveal my weakness, I was unable to conceal the great shock caused me by the Japanese surrender. I explained my feelings frankly to Tan Malaka: ‘We are defeated. Nothing can be done now. I do not want to go back to Japan. In short, I am completely confused’.

Tan Malaka listened to me, then answered slightly reprovingly, ‘I met Sano Manabu through my activities in the Comintern. I also know Ho Chi Minh and have argued with Stalin. Thus I believe I understand the position of other countries and the international situation. As far as the independence of Indonesia is concerned, I don’t think it will be achieved before I die. Independence cannot be achieved merely by a declaration, but must be substantiated by an

*     Iwa Kusuma Sumantri ( 1899-1972), a Sundanese, was born in Tjiamis and obtained a Leiden law degree in 1925. He was active in left-wing politics while in Europe and published in Moscow a Marxist tract, The Peasant’s Movement in Indonesia ( 1926) under the pseudonym S. Dingley. Highly suspect by the Dutch from the time of his return to a Medan law practice, he was imprisoned in 1929 and released only in 1941.


independent state. Judging from my experience in underground movements and as a refugee, it is no easy thing to attain a complete independence.

‘You said Japan is defeated. That is certainly true. But have you thought how many people now belong to defeated countries? There are more than 200 million in Japan, Germany and Italy alone. Can you imagine how great a number of oppressed people are living in Asia? The earth is revolving and history never ceases to move on. In ten or twenty years, Japan will be changed. This can be said for sure from my experience.’

I understod well what Tan Malaka meant and felt thankful for his encouragement. After this meeting, he went to Central Java where he broadcast messages similar to what he had told me, through a secret radio station. Apart from the activity of Tan Malaka, I was deeply impressed by his words of encouragement. I felt, ‘How splendid to be a revolutionary!’ At the same time I realized that goals could be achieved only when one had a long-range perspective that would not be distracted by present circumstances. Tan Malaka gave me an Indonesian name, Hakim, meaning a man of justice or a judge, perhaps regarding me as a righteous man. To Yoshizumi he gave the name Arif, a wise or erudite man.

I frequently visited Tan Malaka while he was staying at Subardjo’s house. However, I did not visit him openly, because the Japanese Army, even though defeated, was still there and the Kempeitai was functioning. In addition, there were Indonesian leaders who were arrested by the Japanese Army even after the surrender. Accordingly, we could not be too cautious about the safety of Tan Malaka. We asked him to move to the former residence of a senior Japanese civil administrator of the Navy. In the meantime, Tan Malaka began to talk of a plan to initiate guerilla warfare around Banten in West Java, probably through fear of the danger of remaining in Jakarta. Since he had lived in West Java before, he knew the area well. We decided to do our best for him, and we presented him with a car, arms, radio facilities and food. An Indonesian called Chairuddin, and Yoshizumi joined this venture. This was the last time I saw Tan Malaka face to face.

* * *

The Name is Dokuritsu Indoneshia Juku [School for Independent Indonesia] / SEKOLAH SOSIALIS JEPANG

Immediately before the Japanese surrender, there were several groups striving for Indonesian independence. Adam Malik , in his History and Struggle Concerning the IndonesianIndependence Declaration of 17 August 1945

Independence Declaration of 17 August 1945, * calls these groups ‘revolutionary forces’. Among the groups historically acknowledged were the Sukarni group based on the Sendembu [Propaganda Section] of the 16th Army, the Sutan Sjahrir group, the student group represented by Chaerul Saleh, and the Navy group. The ‘Navy’ in the last case means the Japanese Navy, and in particular the Bukanfu where we were working. The Navy group therefore consisted of Indonesians who were working in the Bukanfu. Its core members were graduates of the Dokuritsu Juku. In other words, the Dokuritsu Juku was the origin of the Navy group. Its members played an important role in the promulgation of independence and in the subsequent struggle for independence.The Dokuritsu Juku was instituted at a time of crisis. As the Japanese war position deteriorated, the Japanese increasingly needed Indonesian cooperation. At the same time they were no longer able to ignore the issue of independence. Japan had up to then maintained a grand design that such sparsely populated regions as Sulawesi and Sumatra be permanently occupied and the population converted into komin [lit., Emperor’s subjects], while the densely populated regions of Java and Madura were given a high degree of autonomy. In short, independence was not officially considered. Indonesians might talk about independence among themselves but they could not do so openly. The ever-deteriorating war position forced Japan to change its attitude towards independence, as reflected in the Koiso statement [of 7 September 1944].The Koiso statement gave rise to a wide range of reactions. Generally speaking, however, Indonesians appreciated it as representing some advance, since the Japanese at least officially promised Indonesian independence at some future time. After the statement not only such outstanding figures as Sukarno and Hatta, but even young people began to discuss the issue of independence openly. Naturally this heightened their enthusiasm for independence. The Koiso statement had established the following five guidelines:
1.     The timing of independence is not to be discussed.
2.     Although the Japanese government permits informal preparation for the study of independence among the population, it does not allow formal activities for independence.
3.     Political participation should be promoted in the Indies.

1.     Enthusiasm for independence should be encouraged among the population, and propaganda conducted for independence.
2.     The use of the national flag and anthem of the Indies should be recognized.
Despite these guidelines from the Central Authorities, actual implementation differed according to the characteristics and ideas of the military authorities in each area – the 25th Army in Sumatra, the 16th Army in Java and Madura, and the Navy in the rest of Indonesia. In addition the Army and Navy were in conflict in Tokyo, which further influenced the way the guidelines were implemented in Indonesia. There was, moreover, the general tendency among Japanese, both in Indonesia and Tokyo, to look down upon Indonesians, particularly the people of Borneo (Kalimantan), the Celebes (Sulawesi) and the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara). Some military authorities in Indonesia wanted to concentrate on the war without being drawn into political complications, so they tended to keep out of the independence issue as far as possible.

Nevertheless, the Japanese in Indonesia felt obliged to do something for independence, in view of the Koiso statement and the ever-increasing enthusiasm of the population for independence. In Java, the expansion of political participation was implemented. It was to be expected that Indonesians viewed this as a deliberate Japanese substitute for the recognition of independence. The promotion of political participation was easy for the Japanese, because it had already been the policy since the Tojo statement and therefore the new policy merely meant increasing the number of Indonesians participating in the administration – for instance, by increasing the number of Indonesian Residents and Advisory Councils and by appointing Indonesians to assist the director of every department of the Gunseikambu. The policy of expanding the Chuo Sangi-in [ Central Advisory Council] and the Chiho Sangi-in [ Local Advisory Council] * was in conformity with the new policy. It was also not difficult to stimulate aspirations for independence, and to propagate such aspirations through the radio and publications. The enlargement of the Giyugun [Volunteer Corps] was expected to be effective not only for Japanese propaganda purposes but also to be useful as war potential, directly or indirectly, if the Allied forces should land. The Islamic Volunteer Corps called Hizbullah resulted from these Japanese guidelines, and actually fought courageously against the Dutch during the struggle for independence.

In addition, the Japanese devised such measures as the establishment of supporters’ associations for the Giyugun and Heiho [Auxiliary Corps], and the aid system for romusha

among other measures. In truth, however, this was all that the Japanese could do. Naturally, dissatisfaction was expressed by Indonesians in various ways, for instance in such complaints as: ‘ Japan has been claiming that it is going to recognize Indonesian independence. When will it do so?’ As mentioned above, Japan had no intention of clarifying the time [for independence]. Dissatisfaction of this sort came to be openly expressed by Indonesians. We thought: ‘Something must be done’.

At the time the Indonesian suspicion about Japan’s ambiguous attitude towards independence was becoming critical, Maeda told us, ‘ Japan promised to recognize Indonesian independence in the future. This will take place in the not too distant future. Consequently we must make haste to groom Indonesian leaders who can become the core of the nation after independence’. Maeda was of the opinion that we should establish a school to educate young people in preparation for Indonesian independence. Maeda had expressed similar views to Sato, Yoshizumi and myself before. The time had at last come to implement the plan. Maeda as usual did not mention details of the way this was to be carried out. We immediately started making preparations. First we consulted Subardjo, the person closest to us, who agreed with the plan, saying, ‘It is a very good idea. We will look for able young men’. Soon Subardjo found some youths through his connections and brought them to us. The Kaigun Bukanfu, unlike the Gunseikambu of the Army, did not have administrative authority in Java, and accordingly was unable to recruit people through its administrative apparatus. Since Subardjo asked the Indonesian leaders on whom he could rely for recruits, relatives and friends of these leaders were among the youths selected. I remember that the total number of youths was slightly more than thirty.

Maeda named the school Y?sei Juku. When asked the origin of the name, he explained that ‘y?sei’ was the first word of the instructions of Emperor Jimmu. According to the K?jien [dictionary], published by Iwanami Shoten, ‘y?sei’ means ‘to cultivate justice’. it is also possible that Maeda chose the name because the pronunciation of the word is the same as ‘yosei’ meaning ‘to train’. Whatever the case, it was unreasonable to demand that Indonesians use such a Japanese word. At that time the Japanese were forcing on the Indonesians the use of Japanese language and the practice of saluting in the direction of the royal palace in Tokyo, thereby causing much resentment. Indonesians wanted to absorb what was good in the Japanese way of life and were willing to ask for Japanese help, but they showed a strong antipathy towards Japanization. The same can be said of the school. Even though the Japanese had built it as a favour to the Indonesians, it would never appeal to the population if it carried a Japanese name.

Yoshizumi, an active and courageous person, proposed, ‘If

Maeda likes the name Yosei Juku then let it be. But as far as we are concerned let us use an Indonesian name’. I agree with his idea. Again we consulted Subardjo, who eventually suggested ‘School for Independent Indonesia’ or Asrama Indonesia Merdeka. This could be abbreviated as Dokuritsu Juku in Japanese. Before the Koiso statement was issued, the Japanese did not use the term dokuritsu [independence] or the Indonesian merdeka and there was an official taboo on the use of the word ‘Indonesia’. It might appear unimportant to foreigners whether the word ‘Indonesia’ was used or not, but it was important to the Indonesians. Although the Japanese used the [official] title, ‘the East Indies’, Indonesian leaders often asked to have it replaced by ‘Indonesia’. When Putera and Jawa Hokokai were instituted, the leaders demanded that ‘Indonesia’ be added to the names of these organizations. The Japanese rigidly refused. As expected, the name Asrama Indonesia Merdeka appealed to the population, and the institution was able to recruit many able youths.

The next problem was how to manage the Asrama. As the matter was entrusted to Yoshizumi and myself, we discussed it together and agreed to leave the management to Indonesians, with Subardjo in charge. When we put this to Subardjo, he suggested we choose somebody who was younger and less close to the Japanese than himself, and who could contact students directly. He excused himself on the grounds that he worked in a branch office of the Bukanfu Research Department, and was rather too old for the position. Eventually we appointed Wikana, who had once worked in the branch office, as president of the school. Wikana, under the assumed name of Sunoto, had once been arrested by the Dutch before the war on the charge of leading a youth movement.

George S. Kanahele claims in his doctoral thesis, ‘The Japanese Occupation of Indonesia: Prelude to Independence’, * that Subardjo did not know Wikana’s background. This is not true. Subardjo told me about Wikana’s background, and while Subardjo was working in the branch office of the Research Department of the Bukanfu, I asked him to write an article on youth movements [making reference to Wikana]. I might have felt sympathetic towards Wikana because his experience had been similar to mine in being arrested by the police. Anyway, Wikana played a role in organizing youth groups, taking over public facilities and founding the basis of the Republic immediately after the independence declaration. In later times he became a senior member of the Communist Party. It is not

yet known whether he is still alive, has been murdered, or has gone underground following the ‘September 30 affair’. With hindsight I suppose it was rash to have used Wikana, in view of his previous career. At the time, however, I only thought: ‘Our seniors will not know of Wikana’s career unless we deliberately inform them of it. We shall just have to see how things go if we are discovered’. It was proved later that Maeda knew nothing of Wikana’s background.

There were problems to be settled concerning the school, namely lecturers and curriculum. We started by selecting lecturers. We planned to invite Sukarno, Hatta, Maramis, Subardjo and Iwa. Subardjo asked us to add Sutan Sjahrir. * Sjahrir was a college of Hatta. The 16th Army had once considered utilizing him, but the idea had been rejected. There was no objection to Subardjo’s request on our part, since we had already included Hatta among the lecturers of the school. Then I had to persuade Sjahrir. Sjahrir describes the situation as follows in his bok, Out of Exile ( New York, John Day, 1949) [p. 251]:

The political policy now altered slightly. Nationalism was no longer so vigorously opposed. . . It was just about this time that I first came into direct contact with the Japanese. The Japanese information service sent a Japanese to find out my views on the general situation. . . Thereafter I had at least one visitor a week from the information service: first a Japanese and then an Indonesian. I realized that my movements were being watched. They had evidently found out that I travelled considerably and had many visitors. In fact, toward the end they tried to restrict my movements. They requested me to give courses dealing with nationalism and the Indonesian popular movement in a so-called nationalist institution that had been set up, called the Ashrama Indonesia Merdeka ( Association for a Free Indonesia). As the situation then stood, I could not refuse. I realized that it was an indirect means of making my travel difficult, and at the same time of keeping an eye on my movements and my ideas.

Sjahrir’s reference to ‘a Japanese’ obviously meant me. However, I had no thought of restricting his activities. This seems to be pure speculation arising from his own bias. On the other hand he admits the usefulness of the Dokuritsu Juku in another part of the book, which I will mention later. At any rate, Sjahrir eventually agreed to give lectures.

The content of the lectures and the way of organizing them we entrusted to the Indonesian staff. I believe I stressed this point in trying to obtain Subardjo’s agreement. Thus Sukarno came to give lectures on the history of the nationalist movement, Hatta on the cooperative movement, Subardjo on international law, Sjahrir on the principles of nationalism and democracy, Iwa on labour problems, and Wikana on the youth movement. In addition, Yoshizumi and I were in charge of lectures on guerilla warfare and on agricultural problems respectively. The school was initiated in October that year [ 1944] at 50 Defencielinie van den Bosch street, i.e., the present Jalan Bungur Besar near Kemayoran airport. The students all stayed at a dormitory nearby, the management of which was left in their own hands. The Head of the Juku, Wikana, lived close by the school. All costs were met by the Bukanfu.

At the time we initiated the school we had abundant financial resources. Furthermore, Yoshizumi was good at collecting money. Thus we were able at least to ensure the students did not suffer from hunger, even if life there was not necessarily luxurious. In fact we gave no thought at all to financial problems, for we had in mind obtaining money by smuggling in opium from Singapore in the event of serious financial difficulties.

Once the school was open, Yoshizumi and I devoted ourselves enthusiastically to lecturing. The preparation of lectures took quite a lot of time because of the Indonesian language. Although Yoshizumi and I were in charge of the school, we could not be there all the time since we were obliged to work for the Research Department as well. Nevertheless the lectures went on smoothly, thanks to the ability of the Indonesians to manage their own affairs. As I have said, we made a point of avoiding coercion as far as possible, and consequently we were cautious not to introduce things Japanese in lectures. On the other hand the curriculum was required to cover as wide a range of subjects as possible, since the major aim of the Juku was to groom leaders for a future republic. In view of this we invited an instructor from the Fifth Guard Troop of the Navy to teach bujutsu [one of the Japanese martial arts]. I myself occasionally led the students in a training run. I could run as I was still just a little over 30 at the time and had done my military training in the army.

The Dokuritsu Juku automatically ceased to function on the Japanese surrender. The only students were those who had

entered in October 1944. Some articles on the Dokuritsu Juku use such expressions as ‘graduates of the first year’ or ‘graduates of the second year’, but this is inaccurate. Most students joined the independence struggle without completing the course, and some played a role in founding the Republic.

* * *


In a section omitted, Nishijima describes the role of Major A.K. Jusuf in kidnapping Prime Minister Sjahrir on 3 July 1946, although Jusuf had been regarded as ‘one of my best students’ at the Dokuritsu Juku by Sjahrir ( Out of Exile, p. 252). These events are more fully described in Benedict Anderson, Java, pp. 370-403.

* * *

Among the students of the Dokuritsu Juku were the subsequent Secretary-General of the Indonesian Communist Party, Aidit; the ‘number two’ of the Party, Mohammad Lukman; and Sidik Kertapati, who wrote a book on independence and was a member of the Party. * Lukman became acquainted with Aidit only after he entered the Dokuritsu Juku, but was later to support Aidit in his bid for leadership of the Party. Lukman lost his life, together with comrades such as Aidit, in the ‘September 30 affair’. Had he not entered the Dokuritsu Juku, the course of his life might have differed.

<b>* *

Several articles on Indonesia published after the war refer to the Dokuritsu Juku, and many claim that the substance of the curriculum was communist. I grant that it was socialist, but not communist. During the war some people thought that Indonesia should develop in the direction of national socialism. </b>

b>We had the same idea. In the event Indonesia did appear to move in that direction, which was only natural since the management of the school was in the hands of the Indonesians concerned. Many Indonesian leaders were more or less influenced by Marxism while studying in Europe after World War I. Since nationalist movements in colonies like the East Indies aimed to cast off the yoke of the colonial power,


in this case the Netherlands, nationalism had common ground with anti-imperialism.

The keynote of anti-imperialism is socialism – whether in terms of the First, Second or Third International. As a result there is no denying that the substance of the curriculum tended to be socialist. Accusations that the curriculum was communist came particularly from the Dutch, not without reason. After Indonesia achieved independence, the Dutch wanted to annihilate it under one pretext or another. For this reason, I believe, they labelled independence ‘made in Japan’ or ‘a communist fake’. If we look at Indonesian history it is obvious that such criticisms of independence were beside the point.

Looking back on those days, one thing I am proud of is that we did not force anything upon the population. The Army set up its Kenkoku Gakuin [ Institute for the Founding of the Nation] in March 1945 with the same goals as the Dokuritsu Juku. Despite the mushrooming enthusiasm for independence at that time, the Army gave its training centre a Japanese name and insisted that the Japanese language be used there. The head was also a Japanese. We used the Japanese name of Dokuritsu Juku because we understood the thoughts and sentiments of the Indonesians through associating with them. I wondered why [the Army] did not choose a more effective course, since it had set up the institute at no small effort.

There was certainly criticism in some Japanese quarters, particularly the Army, that the policy we adopted was too close and sympathetic to the Indonesians. I believe that the 16th Army in Java had a more progressive administration than the Army in any other occupied region, and yet it gave the new institution a Japanese name. This seems to reflect an incurable defect in the Japanese. Japanese leaders publicized that the Greater East Asia War was the war for the liberation of colonized peoples. Why then did Japan not allow the independence of occupied countries? The Japanese interpreted the liberation of Asia as liberation from the West – liberation of the Indonesians from the Dutch. Liberation should have been of the Indonesians, the Asian peoples, themselves.

After the Russo-Japanese War, Japan intensified the nature of its imperialism. However, Asian peoples did not view Japan as a purely imperialist country. On the contrary they believed that Japan, having defeated Russia, could liberate them from the yoke of Western domination. Without appreciating these expectations Japan insisted upon ‘under Japanese supervision’ and ‘Japanization’. As a result Japanese policies towards Indonesia inevitably tended to be based on expediency. We, on the other hand, were convinced that Japan would be able to maintain close ties with Indonesia only if she achieved independence in the true sense. Although we were certainly idealistic, I still firmly believe we were not wrong.


The Longest Day: The Eve or the Independence Declaration


Indonesians were increasingly suspicious about their future after Germany surrendered to the Allied Forces in May 1945. Moreover, in August various reports reached Indonesia, including the Russian invasion of Manchuria and the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With each report unfavourable to Japan, Japanese in Indonesia felt more acutely their isolation. They wondered how Japan would be able to carry on the war against the whole world, given that its allies had already surrendered.

It was on 8 August that we received the news of the Russian invasion of Manchuria, and four Indonesians visited me at my home at Kebon Sirih 80 without any prior warning. They were Subardjo, Buntaran, Iwa Kusuma Sumantri and Soerachman. * My residence was open to anybody and visitors often came unexpectedly. The four leaders caught me as I came into the reception room, and asked gravely: ‘What course will the war take?’ I fully understood what they were trying to say. Japan had been taking the position of recognizing Indonesian independence and the population had been preparing for it. What would become of independence if the Japanese surrendered? When Germany invaded the Netherlands, the Dutch Queen Wilhelmina II had broadcast a message that ‘the government of the Indies will be modified after the war’, but she had said nothing about granting independence. The Dutch had no intention of allowing the Indies to be independent. On the contrary, they would begin to suppress the Indonesian demand for independence even though it was ever more intense. What sort of fate awaited these Indonesian leaders, who had been cooperating with the Japanese solely in the hope of achieving independence? General Pétain or France, a hero of World War I, was arrested by the Allied Forces because of his cooperation with Germany. There was no guarantee that these Indonesian leaders would not share the same fate as Petain. I realized

[ ___________________
*     For Subardjo and Iwa see above. Dr Buntaran Martoatmodjo (b. 1896) was a prominent member of the ‘Navy group’ around Subardjo, Deputy Vice-Chairman of the Chuo Sangi-in, a member of both the 1945 committees to prepare Indonesian independence (BPKI and PPPKI), and Indonesian Adviser to the Health Bureau of the Internal Affairs Department. The last position led naturally to the post of Health Minister in the first independent Indonesian Cabinet ( September-November 1945).
Ir. Raden Mas Pandji Soerachman Tjokroadisoerjo (b. 1894) was not politically active until he was appointed Chief of the Economic Affairs Department by the Japanese in July 1945. He was also Minister of Finance in two of Sjahrir’s 1946 Cabinets.


<b> that the four leaders were worrying not only about the future of Indonesia but also about their own fate.

I recalled my own feelings on my return to Java from a camp in Australia. Guadalcanal had already fallen to the Americans. At that stage I held strong doubts about the Japanese war position, and these grew when Karasawa * gave me his very pessimistic perspective on the war when I stopped over in Japan for a while. Under these circumstances it would not have been unreasonable for me to weigh up whether it would be safer to be in Japan or Indonesia if Japan was defeated. In reality I returned to Java without the slightest hesitation, even though I might never return to Japan alive. My desire to see the development of the Indonesian independence movement with my own eyes was very strong, and I renewed my resolution to cooperate as much as possible with the Indonesians to achieve independence.

There were quite a number of Japanese who were deeply involved in Indonesia and shared its hopes for independence. However, we were outsiders after all. True independence could not be achieved unless the Indonesians, the people concerned, were to acquire it by themselves. To this end the people had to arm themselves and be prepared for real sacrifices. This was my theory, and I reiterated it many times to the four Indonesians that night: ‘Whatever may befall you, such as a Japanese surrender, you must achieve independence by yourselves. Never react passively to external circumstances’. I had for a long time taken the view of the war that those who had died in it would be justified as long as Indonesia attained independence. For that reason I wanted all the more to see Indonesia independent. However, it seemed undeniable to me that there was a degree of passivity among the Indonesians.

I often heard complaints from Indonesians such as: ‘Even though we asked for help, the Japanese did not provide it’. Of course there were things which could be done only by Japanese, but there must also have been things that Indonesians could do. Every time I heard such complaints I condemned the passive attitude which lay behind them. I had occasion to talk with Trimurti,† a nationalist activist and the wife of Sayuti Melik, who is now a member of parliament and was a minister after the

[ Karasawa was the ‘supervisor’ responsible for Nishijima’s good behaviour after he had been released from political detention in 1933.
†S     K. Trimurti (b. 1914) and her husband Sayuti Melik (b. 1909) were both on the left wing of nationalist politics, and were imprisoned by the Japanese until rescued by Sukarno in 1945. Before the war Trimurti had been associated with Gerindo, while Sayuti had spent a period of exile in Boven Digul. ]

war. On that occasion I told her, ‘A door will never be opened if you stop knocking at it simply for fear of hurting your hand. As long as you are involved in the nationalist liberation movement, you must possess a will strong enough to open the door even though you injure your hand, your bones are bared, and the knocking gives you pain. In other words you must be prepared to sacrifice yourself for liberation and independence’.

I had associated with Indonesians who shared the view described above. The four Indonesian leaders listened earnestly to me and returned home nodding agreement.

I felt the three days from 15 to 17 August 1945 to be enormously long. These three days constitute an unforgettable period of my life. It was on the 15th that the rumour of a Japanese surrender spread, causing great upheaval for both Japanese and Indonesian leaders. The Japanese were on tenterhooks for different psychological reasons – some were reluctant to acknowledge the Japanese surrender, while others believed it and feared the grim situation which might develop as a result. How did the Indonesian leaders react to the rumour of a Japanese surrender? I quote from Subardjo book, Indonesian Independence and Revolution:


On that unforgettable day, 15 August, a rumour spread in Jakarta that Japan had surrendered to the Allied Forces. But we were unable to obtain any official information from reliable Japanese authorities. Sukarno and Hatta tried to get solid information from the military administration authorities but they could not because the Gunseikan [Chief of Military Administration] was not in his office.

Sukarno and Hatta tried to enquire about the Japanese surrender directly from the Gunseikan, Maj.-Gen. Yamamoto Moichiro, but they were refused permission to meet Yamamoto to on the pretext that he was attending a meeting. I do not know whether Yamamoto was really in his office or was attending a meeting elsewhere. Since they were refused by the Army authorities, they next tried to obtain information from the Navy. Thus they visited Subardjo at the branch office of the Research Department, which eventually led to a meeting of Sukarno, Hatta, Subardjo and Maeda. This meeting was a factor which connected the Indonesian declaration of independence with the [Japanese] Navy. Hence this meeting should be given a prominent place in the history of Japanese-Indonesian relations.

In the afternoon (perhaps 4 or 5 p.m.) of that 15 August, Sukarno, Hatta and Subardjo called on Maeda at the office of the Bukanfu in front of Gambir Square. I was at the office of the Research Department on Postweg, and was summoned by Maeda to act as interpreter. First Sukarno explained the purpose of

the visit. He asked Maeda, ‘Hearing that Japan had surrendered, I visited an Army office to confirm the news, but I could not meet anybody. So we came here to find out whether the report was true or not’. Maeda replied, ‘I cannot answer with certainty, since no official report has reached here. In any case I cannot believe that the Japanese would surrender. Please be cautious about believing messages, because many of them seem to be subversive. When we obtain official information we will certainly let you know’.

Maeda did not waste words, and his reply was very short. Probably that was all he could say. However, his attitude and the prevailing atmosphere clearly implied a Japanese surrender. The tone of my translation may also have given a hint of confirmation of the Japanese surrender. As they were leaving the office one of them, perhaps Subardjo, said, ‘It is not important whether Japan has surrendered or not. We must continue to fight for independence’. Sukarno and Hatta must have had the same determination. The Japanese surrender was certainly a sad event, but independence had to be achieved since it was the earnest wish of the people. Even if it was to come as ‘independence as a gift’, independence was near at hand, and in their own hands.

The Allied Forces had not expressed their position on Indonesian independence, and the Dutch had promised only a high degree of autonomy. Consequently, independence seemed likely to be shelved as a result of the Japanese surrender. Nevertheless we must fight for independence. This may have been the resolve shared by the three Indonesians as they left the Bukanfu. Hatta claimed after the war in Suara Partai ( July-August 1951), ‘It was confirmed on 15 August that Japan had surrendered’. However, the Army authorities had not met Sukarno and Hatta, nor had the Navy subsequently given them official information of the Japanese surrender. Hatta may have sensed it instinctively.

After their meeting with Maeda, Sukarno, Hatta and Subardjo discussed the policy to be followed, and agreed to carry out the objectives of the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence. They decided to convene the Committee at 10 a.m. on the 16th. This Committee had been preliminarily instituted on 11 August as an organization to take over political power from Japan, and it was to commence its activities officially from the 18th of that month. However, Japan surrendered before the Committee officially started. The predecessor of this Committee, the Body for the Investigation of Independence, had been established on 28 May 1945 to implement the Koiso statement. The Body had as its aim the investigation and study of all subjects related to independence and the preparation of reports and materials necessary for independence. Naturally such a project required a lot of time. Thus we can assume that the real purpose of the

Japanese in the establishment of the Body was to gain time on the one hand and to acquire the cooperation of the Indonesians on the other. Contrary to Japanese expectations, however, the Body pursued its tasks at full speed and even began to discuss a draft Constitution after only two sessions. Hence it is obvious that Sukarno and Hatta thought independence just around the corner when they were confronted with the news of the Japanese surrender.

Late in the afternoon of 15 August, Subardjo visited us at Kebon Sirih 80 in order to confirm the news of the Japanese surrender. As Subardjo often said, our residence functioned as a meeting place for Indonesians associated with the Navy. On that day, too, several Indonesians had already gathered at the house before Subardjo arrived. Being unable to accomplish his aim, he went off to Sukarno’s residence at Pegangsaan Timur 56, together with Hatta, intending to decide the subjects to be discussed at the meeting of the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence the following day. They arrived at Sukarno’s place at about 11 pm, and found Sukarno arguing with some youths, including the president of the Dokuritsu Juku, Wikana, and Darwis.

* * *

In the passage omitted, Nishijima uses published Indonesian and Dutch accounts to describe the confrontation between the youth leaders on the one hand and Sukarno and Hatta on the other. Wikana and Darwis pressed hard for an immediate independence declaration in defiance of the Japanese, while the older leaders wanted to await official confirmation of the surrender.

* * *

Subardjo heard at 8 a.m. on the 16th that Sukarno and Hatta had disappeared. Sudiro, Subardjo’s secretary, brought him the news. Sudiro had visited Sukarno’s residence along with Subardjo the night before, and witnessed the heated argument between Sukarno and the youths. Although Sudiro immediately guessed that the youth group had abducted Sukarno and Hatta, he could not find out from them where Sukarno and Hatta were located. Subardjo also suspected the youth group, but sought to obtain the Navy’s support in rescuing them, since if it had been the Army which had seized the two leaders there was no other way than to ask for the intervention of the Navy. Subardjo telephoned me at the Bukanfu to notify me that Sukarno and Hatta had disappeared, adding, ‘They may fall into the hands of the Army’. Then he hurried to Maeda’s place by car to report the incident directly. I, too, immediately reported to

Maeda. To tell the truth, neither Maeda nor I thought the youth group had the courage to carry out such an abduction, and we therefore suspected that the Army had masterminded it.
Maeda went to the Gunseikambu by himself to enquire after the two men. I do not remember precisely which of the two, the Gunseikan Yamamoto or the Chief of General Affairs Nishimura, met Maeda on that occasion. Whichever of them it was, he was taken aback by Maeda’s enquiry and replied, ‘Although we have been looking for them both, unfortunately we do not yet know where they are’. He added quite unnecessarily, ‘As a matter of fact, if they have disappeared it is rather convenient for us, because it will mean less trouble in the future’. I thought the Army was underestimating the seriousness of the matter. Nevertheless, the Army also had to ascertain the whereabouts of the two leaders. Apparently the Army had been looking for them through the Kempeitai and the Beppan, which was in charge of intelligence. Maeda gave me an order: ‘It would create a serious situation if communications between the highest Indonesian leaders and the Japanese Army were to be broken at this critical stage. We absolutely must maintain communications. Find the two immediately!’

Maeda’s instruction made me realize what a thoughtful man he was. As I was about to leave, his voice behind me said, ‘I have nurtured you till now so that I could use you on just such an occasion as this’. I was not angry at his words for he often used such expressions. However, I felt somewhat lost without Yoshizumi, who was in the middle of a meeting with members of an underground organization set up by the Third Section of the Research Department. I calculated that the youth group must have carried out the abduction if the Army was not involved.

We had a close relationship with the youth group, which occasionally asked us to rescue its members when they were arrested by the Kempeitai. We also talked together, held meetings, and argued over the issue of independence – whether it should be ‘independence on a platter’, or something achieved through struggle. Wikana was the leader of the group. I intuitively thought Wikana would be the only member of the group related to the Navy who could also be connected with the kidnapping. I therefore approached Wikana at the Dokuritsu Juku at Bungur Besar. I remember that I tried very hard to persuade him to talk, but he would not open his mouth. I wondered if an Indonesian might simply close up in such a situation. Wikana sat on the floor as silent as a clam. Despite this attitude I had to find out about the abduction, so I continued to urge him: ‘You know very well how much I have worked for the good of Indonesia. I have tried, as you know, to be a bridge between Japan and Indonesia. It is not possible that you cast me aside at this stage and do things on your own, considering what I have done for Indonesia. How could we

betray you? I suggest that you hand Sukarno and Hatta over to us.’

I do not remember how long I cajoled Wikana, but undoubtedly I repeated these arguments. Finally Wikana opened his mouth. His face was rather pale, and he was obviously taking the matter hard, ‘No, we cannot, because we comrades have made a promise. We want to declare our independence to the world. Even if it is crushed in a moment we will not care, so long as the declaration remains as an historical event. We are ready to be killed’.

Hearing this reply I knew something serious was about to happen. Subardjo also tried to persuade Wikana. Guessing from Wikana’s words that they had decided at a meeting the previous night to take Sukarno and Hatta safely out of Jakarta, I concluded that Sukarno and Hatta were detained not far from the city.

After our discussion Wikana seemed to bend a little. He began to move between the youth group and us, perhaps to consult his colleagues. Two messengers from the youth group were apparently dispatched to the secret place where Sukarno and Hatta were held. It must have been conveyed to the members of the group there that we had no intention of stopping their plan to declare independence and indeed were willing to support it. Since a member of the Kyodo Boeigun [Home Guard], Jusuf Kunto, * was among the messengers, the [former] Giyugun was evidently involved in the case. In the end Kunto took Subardjo to Sukarno and Hatta at the hiding place. Prior to this, Maeda was asked to promise not to arrest any youths connected with the plot, and to guarantee the safety of Sukarno and Hatta. On the spot Maeda answered, ‘Yes’. When Subardjo was about to leave for the hiding place I offered to go with him, but he refused.

* * *

I would like to quote from Daisan no Shins?:

Because of this (kidnapping of Sukarno and Hatta), independence was proclaimed outside the orbit of the Japanese Army. Historians will judge it in the future, but as far as I am concerned it was right.

There was certainly a degree of excess and menace in the activity of the youth group. However, without their action the enthusiasm for independence could not have blazed so fiercely and independence itself would not have been accomplished. In that event the population would have suffered in anguish for a long time. If independence had been pursued mainly through consulting Japanese authorities, as planned by Sukarno and Hatta, it might have been attained in a purely formal sense, but on the other hand Indonesia might not have been able to combat the movement of the Dutch and Allied Forces to return there.

It was about 4 p.m. when Subardjo left for Rengasdengklok, but he did not arrive till 6 p.m., due to various accidents including a puncture along the way. He was not readily accepted by the youths, partly because they were in an extraordinary state of excitement, and partly because Subardjo was suspect to them because of his closeness to the Navy. Adam Malik claims, in the book quoted above, that since Subardjo was said to have come as the representative of the Japanese Navy, he and his secretary Sudiro were almost detained. On the other hand Subardjo tells a different story in his book, Indonesian Independence and Revolution. He says that when he was asked whether he was sent by the Navy he replied: ‘No! Bung Sudiro and I came here after discussing with Wikana and other members of the Navy group’. Thus any suspicion towards Subardjo was removed. Then Subardjo and his secretary began to negotiate with Supeno, a Shodan-cho [platoon leader] of the Giyugun and a son of R.P. Singgih. While negotiating, the Shodan-cho asked whether an independence declaration could be issued by midnight. Subardjo replied that this was impossible because it would take time, first to call a meeting of the Committee and next to prepare the declaration, all of which was expected to require at least the whole night. After arguing for a while, Subardjo promised to complete the preparations by 6 o’clock the following morning, to make it possible to declare independence by the following noon. In response to this, Supeno asked what would happen in the event of the failure of this programme. Subardjo answered, ‘If everything fails to materialize, I will take full responsibility for that failure. You may even shoot me if that happens’. Only after Subardjo had said this, was he allowed to meet Sukarno and Hatta. Subardjo hurried Sukarno and Hatta to the car and they drove off to Jakarta.

I had been waiting eagerly at Maeda’s residence for Subardjo’s arrival. It was already 11 p.m. and very dark. A

Japanese officer was slashing at sesame plants with his sword, in despair because of the surrender. As the Japanese had encouraged the cultivation of sesame for its oil, the plant was found everywhere in Java. A kempei was standing under a tree keeping watch on the residence, perhaps in anticipation of some incident. I heard later that Nakatani Yoshio, an Army interpreter, was also watching the residence from next door. It was into this atmosphere that Subardjo and his party arrived. Sukarni had already changed from his Giyugun uniform into ordinary clothes on the way.

First I let Sukarno and Hatta come in and sit down. Subardjo took me out of the room saying, ‘Just a moment, Mr Nishijima’. He gave me a brief account of what had happened. Only after I heard his account did I realize that Subardjo had risked his life for the independence declaration. Given the increasingly tense situation, there was a real possibility that Subardjo might be killed if his programme failed to materialize. I sensed that the situation had at last come to a crisis point. In the meantime Yoshizumi, as well as members of the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence, had arrived. Members of the youth group were gathering in a waiting room. Maeda came down from upstairs and gave a lengthy warning that independence should not be won through bloodshed. Naturally, however, the excited Indonesians would not listen to such pious advice. Then we all began to argue strenuously.

While we were arguing, Sukarno suddenly asked Sukarni, ‘Will it really be all right?’ Sukarni stood up in surprise and replied, ‘It will be dangerous!’ He knew of a planned uprising by the youth group, and explained that its timing was imminent. The plan had been adopted on the morning of the 16th, for an uprising to be launched mainly by former members of the Giyugun and Heiho and by students at 1 a.m. on the 17th. Sayuti Melik and I stood up and followed Sukarni out. The three of us stopped at Hatta’s house first, whence Sukarni emerged dressed once more in military uniform, and bearing a pistol and sword. The car finally stopped in front of a dormitory for students of the Medical School in Parapatan, after passing along Jalan Menteng. The dormitory was the headquarters of the youth group. Sukarni and Melik went in alone while I stayed in the car.

I could see soldiers of the former Giyugun on trucks, all armed and looking tense. Sukarni and Melik soon came back. They must have announced, ‘The uprising is called off for tonight!’ Our car then moved in the direction of Koningsplein and eventually arrived at the broadcasting station, which was strongly guarded by military police. Since the youths had been expressing their desire to proclaim the independence of Indonesia to the world, I could well imagine that their plan of rebellion included the seizure of the broadcasting station. Even Maeda had once asked the Army to guard the station, so it

was not surprising that the Kempeitai knew some, if not all, of the plan. There seems to have been a mutual understanding between the Indonesians inside the station and Sukarni that the former would commence activities in response to a sign from Sukarni outside. Sukarni suddenly shouted, ‘The plan is called off for tonight!’ Hearing his voice, kempei rushed towards us. They seemed surprised to find the two of us – Sukarni, who had been arrested by the Kempeitai several times, and myself, who had once been under its surveillance. We were immediately placed in custody by the kempei. I demanded that one of them contact Maeda, explaining that we were on an urgent mission. The kempei immediately telephoned Maeda, who ordered, ‘Release them at once. This is an emergency’. In this way we were released.

Indoneshia ni Okeru Nihon Gansei no Kenky? * makes it clear that Maeda asked Gunseikan Yamamoto of the Army to come to his house while we were out, but that the request was refused. Maeda asked Yamamoto because he wanted to have somebody representing the Army, as he did not want to give the impression that the Navy had handled the independence issue unilaterally, and he therefore wanted to invite an Army authority to join him in investigating the subject. Moreover he thought it might facilitate finding a solution to the problem if both Army and Navy authorities talked directly with the Indonesian leaders.


Since Maeda’a request had been turned down by Yamamoto, Maeda visited the Chief of General Affairs of the Gunseikambu, Maj.-Gen. Nishimura. Sukarno, Hatta, Maeda, Yoshizumi and I went together to Nishimura’s house. It was past 1 a.m. in the morning of the 17th. Nakatani had been called to the house as an interpreter. Although Nishimura did not refuse us an interview, his attitude was cool. Sukarno and Hatta demanded that Nishimura allow immediate independence, and call a meeting of the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence one day earlier than had been scheduled. Maeda supported these demands, but Nishimura would not give his consent, and tried to pursue a policy of maintaining the status quo.

Yoshizumi, Saito Shizuo (the present Ambassador to the United Nations) and I were in a waiting room. I was becoming irritated by the stalemate. Saito said accusingly to me, ‘What you are doing is clearly disloyal to the Emperor. The Emperor

has said that everything is over. If you take any action [like supporting Indonesian independence] the result may affect the status of the Emperor’.

Although my memory is rather vague, I think Saito even used the word kokuzoku [traitor] of Maeda. Anyway I was infuriated by what he said. I said to myself, ‘What an absurd thing to say. Did not the Greater East Asia War aim at the liberation of Asia? Was not the initial aim of the war to bring Japan closer to Asia? We have striven towards that very end! We must bring the issue to its conclusion in a responsible way. Why else have we propagated the slogan, “To live with [ Asia] and to die with [ Asia]”?’

I unconsciously put my hand in the pocket where I kept my pistol. As everything was in chaos at that time we carried arms with us. I glared at him, my hand on the pistol. Daisan no Shins? shows how I felt about Nishimura’s stubbornness:

We took our decision. There was no way left but to pursue our policy at our own discretion. The only things we had to be cautious about were that the measures taken should not appear to be associated with Japan in any way, that they would not affect Japan (in this case innocent Japanese living in Java), and that they would not incur reprisals from the Army.

It was past 2 a.m. when the meeting was re-opened at Maeda’s residence. Sukarno, Hatta, Subardjo, Maeda, Yoshizumi and I sat down around a round table in the dining room. Members of the youth group and the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence occupied a reception room and a waiting room. Just before the meeting began, Maeda said, ‘We must request the presence of somebody from the Army’. He called Saito by telephone, but Saito refused to come on the pretext of being busy with his work. Next he called Miyoshi and said, ‘Please come over, since we have some people gathered here’. Kiyoshi was a sociable person and a Shiseikan [Civil Administrator] with a good reputation among the Indonesians. He willingly agreed to come there, perhaps encouraged by being a little tipsy. He arrived at the residence shortly afterwards, but seemed to find himself out of place in the highly charged atmosphere of the room. ‘Please take a seats’, I said. Since the Army was in charge of Java and the Navy had only a secondary position, we needed somebody from the Army to avoid the criticism that the Navy had dealt with the matter unilaterally. Miyoshi was to serve as an Army witness.

The youths in Maeda’s house were exerting pressure upon the meeting from the adjacent room. They were unwilling to make the draft declaration at the same table that the Japanese were using. Moreover they opposed every point. For instance, when Sukarno and Hatta proposed to sign a document and read it

the members of the Committee for the Preparation of Indonesian Independence at noon on the 17th, Sukarni and Saleh strongly opposed the proposal. They insisted that there was no need to use the Committee, which was closely identified with Japan, and that the participation in the declaration of the members of the Committee was anathema since they had done nothing for independence. On another occasion, when Sukarno suggested consulting the highest Japanese authorities before making the declaration, the youths bitterly criticized this on the grounds that independence was purely the concern of the Indonesians, and had nothing to do with the Japanese. It was finally decided that independence was to be declared regardless of Japanese approval. The draft declaration was put in order by Sukarno after a heated argument between the leaders’ group [centring on Sukarno], which included Hatta, and the youth group.

The first draft read: ‘The Indonesian people hereby declare their independence. The existing administrative organs must be seized by the people from the foreigners who now hold them’. In this text the greatest problem was the use of the term ‘seized’. If the Indonesians were to ‘seize’ power from the Japanese Army by force this might exasperate the Japanese and lead to a tragic collision between the two. The surrender notwithstanding, the Japanese Army still remained intact. Here again I will quote from Daisan no Shins?:

We were not necessarily unable to understand what the youth were thinking, nor the leaders. However, as the latter group admits, the present Japanese Army now, or at least immediately before the surrender, promoted Indonesian independence and approved it. Sukarno’s group wanted to avoid a situation where the Indonesians, by issuing a declaration which would immediately cause a Japanese reaction, would compel the Japanese Army to play a role as effective agent to the Allied Forces. As Hatta correctly says, revolution can only be achieved by force, but Indonesian power is still inadequate. Moreover, the enemy – the real enemy the Indonesians have to face is not the Japanese Army, which is deprived of its authority to exercise power, but the Dutch, who are preparing to suppress the Indonesian people again. It is brave but not wise for the Indonesians to fight the Japanese Army with such inadequate power.

The discussion continued for a long time. Finally the term ‘seize’ in the text was replaced by ‘transfer’. In the expression, ‘the transfer of power and so forth should be attempted in a careful manner and as quickly as possible’

the word ‘attempted’ was changed to simply ‘carried out’. This text was written by Sukarno himself on paper brought from upstairs in Maeda’s residence, and still exists. One can clearly observe the corrections on the document. Thus the draft of the famous independence declaration was completed. It read: ‘We, the Indonesian people, hereby declare the independence of Indonesia. Matters concerning the transfer of power and so forth should be carried out in a careful manner and as quickly as possible’.

Miyoshi was requested to convey to the Army that the term ‘power’ (pemerintahan) † in the declaration meant ‘administrative authority’. The transfer of administrative authority had already been pursued as a basic policy and should therefore not provoke any opposition from the Army. Although it took only two or three hours to complete the draft, I felt that never in my life had I concentrated my mental powers more intensely. Everybody there seemed to feel the same and to be exhausted by the great strain of the moment, whether they were conscious of it at the time or not. This exhaustion might have been responsible for compromises on both sides. All of the participants did what they could, which the youths also must have appreciated. The final draft was typed out by Sayuti Melik.

At last the time had come for Sukarno to read the text to the members of the Committee who had been waiting in the next room. I heard Radjiman # asking, ‘Is this approved by the Gunseikan?’

I was irritated: ‘How stupid to say such a thing at this stage!’ I could also hear voices asking, ‘Who is going to sign?’ and ‘Who is to read it?’

According to Subardjo, Sukarni again opposed the contents


*     Footnote from previous page: Nishijima has compressed things here. This phrase had been substituted, at Hatta’s suggestion, for the second sentence in the draft proposed by the youth group.
#     Dr Radjiman Wediodiningrat ( 1879-1952) had been a stalwart of Budi Utomo since its foundation in 1908. He was one of the first Indonesians to obtain a Dutch medical degree ( Amsterdam, 1910), and thereafter became official doctor of the Surakarta kraton (palace). As an elder statesman he was named chairman of the Committee to Investigate Indonesian Independence (BPKI) in June 1945, and had travelled to Saigon with Sukarno and Hatta in August to receive the promise of early independence.
†     The word used in the proclamation was in fact kekuasaan (power) not pemerintahan (government).


of the draft on the grounds that it lacked revolutionary spirit and was too weak in the way it was expressed. As Sukarni’s criticisms were supported by the youths, arguments over the draft broke out again. However, the members of the Committee overrode the opposition and decided in favour of the draft.

It was really an extraordinary declaration. It is often said that ‘ Sukarno and Hatta represented the people’, but there are no signs of the two on the document. * Such an independence document is probably rare anywhere in the world. Also we noticed only afterwards that the document was dated ’17-8-’05’, i.e. 17 August 2605. The year 2605 was based on the Japanese calendar system. The fact that nobody, myself included, realized this may reflect the atmosphere of the meeting. Finally, I should like to raise the question of whether there were any Japanese present. It is true that there were Japanese, including myself, at the place where the draft was written, and that we even expressed our opinions. However, we did not attend the actual reading of the declaration, which was to the members of the Committee. Hatta has recorded his denial of our involvement. † However, Hatta and the others who support his claim confuse the place where the draft was written with the place where independence was declared.

Thus one act in the drama of independence had ended. It had indeed been a critical task. I myself was unable to indulge in the relaxed mood which would be normal after accomplishing such a difficult task, but I did notice that the youth group, the leaders’ group, and the Japanese looked relieved of tension, having reached a mutual agreement through compromise. I could not think of the future, perhaps because I was too exhausted by the prolonged strain. All those who had attended went their way with their own thoughts.


Neoliberalisasi , Kultur dan Sejarah.

Kutipan tulisan dibawah berasal dari “Privatizing the State (The CERI Series in Comparative Politics and International Studies) ” by Hibou. Tulisan ini menguraikan hubungan kompleks antara sejarah , antropologi dan sosiologi Indonesia terhadap Budaya “Asal Bapak Senang” , Kecendrungan Korupsi dan Neo-Liberalisasi di Indonesia.

Bagian2 terakhir sengaja dipotong. Untuk pemerhati Indonesia, beberapa analisa dibawah tidak jauh berbeda dengan kesimpulan Ben Anderson. Bahkan Pramoedya !

Romain Bertrand

‘Who knows, maybe there is no “state” at all? The government offices are closed. Official vehicles gravitate around the beach and the cinemas. Maybe what is taking place during twilight periods like now does not derive only from laziness and corruption, but is equivalent to a display.. .of a more elaborate form of “civic privatism”. The state, in fact, is getting fatter with new functions. It has penetrated in an unprecedented way into the heart of [ expanding] areas of human life. But.. .this state looks less and less like a state, because it is less and less the focal point of our loyalty and devotion.’ (Goenawan Mohamad, ‘Twilight in Jakarta’, 10 April 1982)’

‘Maybe there is no state at all?’: this disillusioned question deserves con sideration, because in fact it expresses more than ordinary anguish over the inability of administrative institutions to respond to social expecta tions. Goenawan Mohamad, a leading figure in independent journalism in Indonesia, was not out to echo the laments of those who consider the absence of the state—an unpardonable crime in exotic societies—as ex plaining and prolonging situations of chaos and social disorder. His pur pose was different, and definitely more pertinent: to pose the problems surrounding the links between state intrusions into private space on the one hand and private takeover of sovereign functions of the state on the other. The recent history of Indonesia, that of the New Order (1965-1998) but also of the Reformasi which began after Suharto’s resignation in May 1998, gives food for thought on this correlation.


Intrusion of the state into private space: the legacy of the colonial government

The hypothesis that a pastoral idea of powers prevails in the organisation of authority relations in Indonesia may cause surprise. According to Michel Foucault pastoral power is 

‘a form of power that cannot be exercised with out knowing what is going on in people’s heads, without exploring their very souls.. .coextensive with life.. .and linked to production of truth: the truth of the individual himself.’ 

This form of power is derived from the ‘Christian technology of the flesh’. In other words, it is linked to the prac tice of penitential confession which became standardised and regular in Western Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, in the wake of the Catholic Counter-Reformation.’° It is known that the Church’s idea of guardianship of conscience very quickly spread into the arguments justi fying the monarchical state. Robert Muchembled has shown that in the absolute monarchy system, the image of the sovereign was reinforced with the image of a father of a family, and vice versa. Church and State together contributed to the definition and spread of a paternalist imaginaire of

authority relations. Pastoral power, a fruit of the simultaneous invention of the subject and the faithful in the West, thus belonged to a particular historically and geographically located trend in the political sphere, which cannot be identified with a general pattern of development of doctrines of kingship.

But how is it, then, that Indonesia, a stranger to feudalism as to Christianity,” has experienced that form of power? 

The ‘colonial encounter” may well have been one of the points of contact between Christian traditions of pastoral government and the creation of ideological preferences among the Indonesian political elite. Not through the Church and the missions, but through the state, permeated by religious ideas and practices. 

The origin of the authoritarian ‘family-state’ model, however, corresponds closely with an endogenous process . It appears as the product of the reappropriation by the Javanese administrative elite of a theme derived from the Dutch colonial government’s efforts to legitimise its domination. 

At the end of the nineteenth century the Netherlands East Indies’ went through profound change, linked with the transition from a regime of monopoly state capitalism to a free enterprise system. Dismantling of the state monopolies of production and marketing of horticultural surpluses began in 1862. This marked the end of the Obligatory Cultivation System (Cultuurstelsei) that Governor-General van den Bosch had instituted in the early 830s. The vast tea, coffee and sugar plantations of the interior of Java, and especially the mountainous estates of the Preanger region and the Oosthoek Regencies, were broken up amid competition among private entrepreneurs. From then on the character of the indigenous labour force 
had to be adapted to this new style of production. There was no longer any question of packing tens of thousands of koelies, snatched from their native lands, into insanitary hutments. On the contrary, mobility of energy and talent needed to be encouraged so as to improve the skills of the workforce and thus keep up with technical innovation.’ So the state had to take more systematic and effective responsibility for questions of collective public health, education and ‘moral improvement’ of the indigenous population.

The primary aim of the colonial government became—to quote Michel Foucault’s Les mots et les choses again—’care of the people’, that is, methodical management of their energies and their movements. It was in the course of this redeployment of administrative tasks that there emerged a concern by the state to ‘know everything’ about the state of the indige nous people’s minds. An alert observer of life in the Netherlands East Indies, the Frenchman Joseph Chailley-Bert, a publicist for the colonial movement in the Third French Republic, noted:

At this moment [ the 1860s] [ Dutch] resigned themselves to abandoning, with the State Cultivation, their function as agents for cultivation, but not their position as government officials; they looked around them to find how to make themselves useful, after their first use had disappeared. It was at that moment that there began to arise in people’s minds the outlines of a system of protection for the Javanese, especially the lowliest of them, those who were commonly called the small people (de Kleine Man). . . But this new departure had unexpected conse quences for them. The Dutch became passionate about their work and let themselves be carried away beyond what they had foreseen. It was certainly a different matter from managing cultivation. . . For entering men’s lives, finding out about their needs and desires, watching over their interests and securing respect for their rights, the difficulty increased with the number… 
[ Dutch] wanted to see everything, know everything and do everything. They substituted themselves for the native chief; seeing him as suspect, and for the native himself, seeing him as incapable, and they assumed the whole burden. . public affairs and even private affairs. The result was what one might expect. This huge task required extra staff, swelled government departments, imposed expenditure, burdened the budget.

‘Entering men’s lives, finding out about their needs and desires, watch ing over their interests’—that was the colonial government’s new plan, after the privatisation of the plantation economy had deprived it of the mission which had been its justification for police intervention in society.

This structural change in the imperatives and methods of surveillance of the indigenous people called for a corresponding reformulation of the ‘imperial project’. The old language of conquest, indifferent to the productive aspects of indigenous life as to its ‘cultural’ aspects, was no longer sufficient to explain and legitimise the colonial order. A ‘civilising’ argument had to be added, which meant taking care to listen to what the indigenous people were saying—to urge them to speak, note what they said, and question them with a new sort of fervour and concern.

As Chailley Bert shrewdly observed, the colonial state ‘assumed the whole burden. . .pu blic affairs and even private affairs’. It insinuated itself ever further forward into the daily workings of indigenous life. Multiple regulations interfering with the private lives of the colonial subjects— with their ritual calendars, their methods of cultivation, even their sexuality—led to a gradual blurring of the dividing line between the public domain and private interests.

The reformulation of the imperial project was based on two connected lines of thinking: colonial anthropology and the missionary pastoral approach.’ It is important to describe these briefly, because it was within them that the arguments still used by the Indonesian state power today, to maintain a system of domination conducive to predation of public re sources, were developed. Colonial anthropology was one of the many ‘in vestigative procedures’ through which the colonial state at the end of the 

nineteenth century sought, with an obsession never equalled before, to penetrate to the innermost depths of the ‘native mystery’. For the Dutch Orientalists at the beginning of the twentieth century, fully integrated into colonial decision-making circles, anthropology had to be turned into a therapeutic means of acculturation. If the ‘mentality of the natives’ needed to be better known, said the director of the Anthropology Section of the Royal Colonial Institute in Amsterdam, J. C. van Eerde, it was to minimise the perverse effects of their entry into the modern capitalist order. Better to know ‘them’, so as better to assess their potential for attaining the norms and rules of Western civilisation; better to decipher the movements of their consciousness and culture, to stifle their inclinations towards resistance as quickly as possible; better to translate their thinking and decode their myths, to be able to conform better to their own criteria of legitimacy. That, according to van Eerde, was the ultimate aim of Orientalist knowledge. Thus anthropology had to become a ‘pedagogy of the natives’ if it hoped to contribute to the success of the colonisation enterprise:

If pedagogy is a policy for children, we may call colonial policy pedagogy for the natives: its aim is to adapt to their civilisation what is useful and desirable for them in our civilisation. . .In the Tropics, we can envy the native his dark skin, but to put a fur coat over his shoulders to assuage this resentment would be to lead him to his downfall; similarly, he would not endure the superfluous burden of the European’s intellectual baggage… So it is up to anthropology to indicate what the native’s psy chological state makes it possible for him to endure.. .Does the scientific and well- balanced way of thinking that Western Europe has acquired after so many centu ries really fit the mystic sphere of thought of the East? Does the inflammatory slo gan of freedom not lead to license in a society that has hardly emerged from despotism? Are egoism and presumptuousness not levers used for undermining native society, the family, the tribe, the village and the region with all the mutual aid systems attached to them?… To take account of the general lack of spontaneity in the human mind, a long period of incubation is needed to get a new civilisation accepted.

It would however be highly unjust to believe that the sole aim of all the anthropological writing of the years from 1900 to 1930 was to serve the

brutal advances of the colonial power. Quite the contrary: the corporatist concern to preserve one’s subject of study—’primitive cultures’—often led anthropology to denounce the modernising aims of the imperial state. Thus it opposed the too rapid opening up of a territory, or became indig nant about the outlawing of customary practices. But what needs to be remembered about the premises of anthropological research is its obsession with uncovering the ‘mystery of the natives’, its persistent effort to make the intimate knowledge of the colonised people a shadowy zone of government. Even if it often condemned the intrusion of the colonial state into ever extended domains of the indigenous people’s private lives, anthropological study instilled in the heart of the imperial project a desire to know, a frenzy for uncovering which profoundly influenced the way that state codified and tried to exercise its power. In that sense this type of knowledge served as a wellspring of the state’s ‘documentation pro gramme’, and hence as backing for a pastoral form of government. By making the indigenous person an object of questioning, something unsta ted and calling for comment, colonial anthropology also made him an area for state intervention. By that very process it encouraged the tendency of the state power, first colonial and then independent, to establish thousands of disciplinary provisions aiming to bring the individual to confession. Thus colonial anthropology formed part of the origin of ‘pastoral power’—that is, the mode of government which forces the individual not only to obey but also to admit, before institutions playing a perpetual game of truth, his love and obedience.
So it is no accident that, in the history of the missionary pastor and the amateur anthropologist, the preach , thhe scholar wre so often one and the same person. Behind the will for knowledge immanent in the aim of controlling souls there was, invariably, a desire for confessions. 

Confessing was a sign of the congruence of the imperial aims and the missionary enterprise. Just as true conversion had value only through expiatory confession of the pagan faults that preceded it, genuine inclusion in the order of colonial subjection required repudiation of para

sitical loyalties. The colonial state, even though it sometimes strengthened the guardianship role of clans and lineages so as to make better use of them, excluded in principle any object of loyalty apart from itself.

In the modem colonial history of Indonesia, this congruence of language and practice between colonialism and the missions reached its paroxysm when, after fiercely disputed general elections, a Christian government coalition acceded to power in the Netherlands. This coalition adopted the aim of giving the Dutch the religious exaltation of the middle class , which were then engaged in a cyclve of collective introspection following a large-scale Puritan revival. The leader of the Anti-Revolutionary Party, Abraham Kuyper, who saw in the state apparatus ‘the arm of God’, became the head of this govern ment. Queen Wilhelmina then mentioned, in her Speech from the Throne in September 1901, the ‘ethical duty that the Netherlands, as a Christian nation, has to improve the living conditions of native Christians, to pro vide missionary activities with the funds that they needed, and to inform the [ administration as a whole that Holland has a moral obliga tion to fulfil towards the people [ the Netherlands East Indies].’

The Ethical Colonial Policy implemented from 1901 onwards, under the impulse of Queen Wilhelmina and Kuyper, aimed at the ‘development’ (opvoeding) of the Javanese. 
The ‘improvement of native wellbeing’, the watchword of the ‘Ethicis’ (supporters of the Ethical Policy), had a social aspect (fighting against serious poverty) and a moral one (conversion of the indigenous people to modernity, Christian and capitalist). The Ethical Colonial Policy, fruit of the conjunction of Christian doctrine and the doctrine of scientism, rooted itself in the idea that there was an ‘exact science’ of colonial government, for which new statistical knowledge was the instrument, and the transformation of the ‘Native’ into the Individual was the ultimate aim. It is true that the Ethical Policy never attained the ambitious objectives it had set itself, certainly not in terms of raising the standard of living of the popular masses. But it altered from top to bottom the perception of government action.

The theory of state action among the scribes of the Javanese Mataram Empire in the eighteenth century had been that government must keep the ‘world’s business’ going while not interfering with invisible checks and balances. The sovereign, by propitiatory inaction proclaimed as ascetic prowess, ensured harmony between the divine macrocosm (buwana agung) and the social microcosm (buwana alit). 

Javanese royalty found signifi

cance through rituals of silence and privation. Authority and austerity blended, since abstinence (tapa) and meditation (samadi) were evidence of the legitimacy of claims to the right to rule. The legitimate ruler acted in the invisible world (dunia kang samar) to which he had access on the strength of his self-denial exercises. Conversely, the Ethicis of Batavia had an ultra-voluntarist concept of political action, linked to an evolutionist view of indigenous societies. The idea that society could be transformed by decrees and regulations then progressed among the Javanese administra tive elite.
The emphasis on seeking the love and gratitude of the Javanese, which was an important theme of Dutch colonialist literature at the beginning of the twentieth century, reveals a real upheaval in the imperial domination strategy. It was no longer a matter of obtaining obedience by repression, but of winning confidence by persuasion. In other words, the colonial state embarked, at the beginning of the twentieth century, on a search for legitimacy. In that way it strove to consolidate its ideological base at a time when rivalry of imperial appetites and anticolonialism were getting stron ger on the international scene. That was why use of the vocabulary of kinship to describe relations between colonised and colonisers became over-emphasised.

The historian Akira Nagazumi observes: ‘The use of this metaphor of parent and child to describe the relationship between the government and native people is a recurring theme throughout the Ethical Period.’ The analogous images of teacher, guardian (voogd) and guide (gids) gained acceptance on a massive scale in textbooks of anthropology, digests of colonial law and the colonialist periodicals of the time. Since the 1 860s members of the European branch of the imperial administration had in fact been urged by the Governor General to call their Javanese counter parts ‘younger brothers’.

This model of the ‘just’ colonial relationship was also found at the lower levels of administrative contact. Heather Sutherland has shown for exam ple that 

‘The priyayi’s 
[ Javanese service nobility, integrated into the ) imperial administrative system] relationship with the people was authoritarian and paternalistic; they were expected to take care of the peasants as if they were their children while ruling them with a rod of iron.’

The Orientalists contributed in this way to the freezing, through a legally regulated form of etiquette, of a code of behaviour that had hitherto been extremely fluid in expression. In the pre-colonial period, precedence protocols were constantly modified by court intrigues, while the Orientalists gave them an unchangeable character. Directives on the ‘code of honour’ (hormat), claiming to ‘restore a tradition’, reinvented it according to the functional demands of the colonial situation. The most famous of those directives, made officials of the Pangreh Praja—the indigenous branch of the colonial administration—to act towards any European in the same way as towards a member of one of the two great dynasties of Solo and Jogja (with bowing on one’s knees, prostration, keeping the head bowed during conversation). Worshipping a European sub-chief like a sacred monarch was a terrible humiliation for the Javanese aristocracy. The practice of ‘friendly pressure’ (perintah alus) exerted by district chiefs on village chiefs reuctant to implement government decisions was also intensified in the years from 1900 to 1920. 
This new method of persuasion gradually replaced the insults and physical vio lence that had characterised relations between village chiefs and Euro pean officials in

In September 1902 the reform-minded A. Idenburg, who declared that ‘the aim of colonial rule was not to expand possessions but to encourage the advancement of indigenous people’, was appointed Minister of the Colonies. A wind of reform then blew through the colonial administrative edifice. An official of the Binnenlandsch Bestuur—the European branch of the colonial administration—described in laudatory terms, in his memoirs, the great transformation in the administrative staff of the Netherlands East Indies at the beginning of the twentieth century :

Never, perhaps, has any Government set itself so wholeheartedly and with such zeal and comprehensive thoroughness to building up the welfare of its subjects as the Government of Netherlands India in the beginning of the present centuly. Most of the officials at that time had fallen under the spell of Multatuli during their studies at Leiden, and came to India as enthusiastic idealists, filled with ardour to take part in the great civilizing mission of the Netherlands. On their arrival they found a welfare programme as the official policy of Government; zeal for the well-being of the people was a condition of promotion, as any who were reluctant to interfere with native life were likely to be regarded with disfavour as ‘weak and recalcitrant administrators’ 

When the Ethicis finally came to power in Batavia, they reoriented the imperial administrative apparatus towards collecting information on indigenous life. In the significant expression of De Kat Angelino, adviser on Native Affairs to the Governor General in the 1920s, ‘The government did its utmost to get first hand information relating to the intimate nature of Indonesian society.’ 

The idea that there was an ‘intimate nature’ of the subjected society, an indigenous shadowy silence that needed to be brought to light, was the guiding principle of the redeployment of the state. Map ping of the territories, balancing of resources and population, recension of specific religious features, collection of Javanese manuscripts, were all res ponses to the supposed enigma of the indigenous people, which Oriental ist studies had constructed while constructing themselves.

Spread of the language of kinship

At the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, then, the Netherlands East Indies, direct ancestors of modern Indonesia, were structured by a dense network of power relations expressed through the language of kinship. The colonial government was the ‘father’ of the colonised people, indigenous officials were the ‘younger brothers’ of their European colleagues, peasants were the ‘devoted sons’ of the service aristo cracy responsible for keeping them docile. The idea behind this language offensive could be explained in a corresponding way: the problems of the colonial situation were, after all, just simple ‘family affairs’. The kinship

vocabulary rebuilt from scratch an illusion of proximity between rulers and ruled, colonised and colonisers. It symbolically bridged the gap of contradiction of interests between colonial power and colonial subjects. It aroused among the colonial elites the reassuring feeling of being able to understand, and hence domesticate, the indigenous world at any time.
However, this language of kinship should not be seen as exclusively the arm of the colonial government. In fact the leaders of the nationalist movement readily adopted it, because it enabled them to marry revolu tionary zeal with social hierarchy. Since a family is ordered around the uncontested power of a father whose word is law, the national family must obey the orders of an unchallenged chief. Nationalist ‘unanimism’, that frenzied desire for communion between the People and its Guide, thus flowed into the imaginaire of the political elite toJ2i any social revolution in the bud. A radical overturning of the structures of authority would inev itably have endangered the privileged status of the elites of the nationalist movement, who sprang from the merchant bourgeoisie or the service nobility of Java.
Ki Hadjar Dewantara, a prince of Yogyakarta who became in the early 191 Os a revered figure of resistance to the colonial oppressor, established in the early 192Os a network of alternative schools, Gardens of Knowl edge (Taman Siswa). The aim of these schools was to turn Javanese youth away from the seductions of the West, described as decadent. In those schools, true nurseries of the nationalist movement, absolute obedience was due to the teachers, whom the pupils called Bapak. Ki Hadjar in turn reigned as unchallenged master over his teachers, who called him ‘Fa ther’. The kinship analogy also made it possible to give meaning to the nationalist struggle. The struggle against the coloniser was always pre sented as the accomplishment of ‘family fullness’:

Borne up by the principle of the ‘fullness and holiness of life’, we can do no other than give primacy to the complete and holy Family, with its Father and Mother, who in every good family, stand side by side, have the same rights but different tasks, have a unity of interests, a unity of strengths, and a unity of soul.

The image of the national family thus soothed the consciences of members oft hepriyayi caste, who refused to consider the end of colonialism as involving a passage to egalitarianism. 

Ki Hadjar Dewantara’s work was to have profound influence on Sukamo, who borrowed from him the con cept of ‘guided democracy’ and declared him ‘his friend and master in everything’. This idea of the state as a living being, consisting of interde pendent but not equally dispensable organs, is also found in the writings of Raden Soepomo, an influential figure in the Investigating Committee for the Preparation of Independence which met from 1943 onwards with the approval of the Japanese occupation authorities. Soepomo influenced the rejection of a proposal to mention individual rights in the text of the 1945 Constitution. An occasional admirer of Mussolini and follower of the theories of Social Darwinism, he conceived what he called the ‘inte gral state’ a whole, not differentiated from the body of society:

If we want to establish an Indonesian state in accordance with the characteristic features of Indonesian society, it must be based on an integralist state philosophy, on the idea of a state which is united with all its people, which transcends all groups in every field… The state is nothing but the entire society.. According to the integralist view of the state as a nation in its ordered aspect, as a united people in its structured aspect, there is basically no dualism of state and the individual, no conflict between the state organization on the one hand and the legal order of indi viduals on the other… There is no need to guarantee the fundamental rights and liberties of the individual against the state, because the individual is an organic part of the state, with his own position and an obligation to help realize the state’s greatness..

Raden Soepomo’s language shows how the kinship analogy, when allied with nationalist ‘unanimism’, slips towards a totalitarian conception of the state. This conception exalts harmony and the national community while reifying differences of status between rulers and ruled. The former— warriors (ksatria) and ascetics (pandita)—must govern; the latter—the common people (wong cilik)—must obey. If everyone fulfils the role assigned to him by the cosmic order, the political community will know prosperity. But if anyone departs from his essential duty (darma), chaos will befall the kingdom. This fatalistic vision of the social order was already present in the pre-colonial kingdoms, strongly marked by Hindu 
influence. It was revived and amended in a ‘fascist’ sense by the theorists of the Javanese nationalist movement, who claimed Hindu descent. The later, nationalist history of the language of kinship, initially used by the colonial state to cover up the original injustice of its domination, suggests that its use was continuous, through the interruption caused by the Japa nese occupation and the independence struggle.

Since colonial gouvernementalité operated through successive hege monic steps forward and not only by bloodstained gestures of conquest, and wrapped the traumatic experience of subjection in terms of family feeling, as well as institutionalising a ‘plunder economy’ in which holding of state responsibilities was equivalent to a passport to illicit enrich ment, it bequeathed to independent Indonesia—through intellectuals accustomed to those tricks of legitimisation—a principle for the political sphere clean contrary to the classical Western model of separation between the public space and private ambitions. The common culturalist approach can easily attribute the extent of criminal behaviour by the Indonesian administrative elites to the enigmatic survival of a supposed ‘Javanese patrimonialism’. But there it falls into the error of considering the language of kinship as a univocal cultural effect. In fact a careful examination of the colonial foundations of contemporary power relations shows that the art of predation, even if it wraps itself in the finery of tradition that has become folklore, appears as a structural effect. Predation amounts to a functioning principle of a system of domination centred on countless rela tions of subjection. In other words, there is no ‘cultural predisposition’ of Indonesians to robbery.

The language of justification of corruption and nepotism, in addition, can be used in many contradictory ways. The overthrow of despots, as
well as applause of them, can be coded in the language of kinship. An illegitimate father can be repudiated, just as an ‘uncle’ removed from power can be honoured. Some supporters of Amien Rais, leader of the Partai Amanat Nasional and one of the two or three credible candidates for the presidency of Indonesia in 1999, called him Om Rais (‘uncle Rais’, a term often used by a disciple for a spiritual guide).

The inheritance of modern colonial gouvernementalité, in Indonesia, is thus found at two levels. First, this mode of gouvernementalité favoured abolition of the lines of demarcation between the public and private spaces in the name of a pastoral idea of power. Secondly, it made system atic the description of power relations in terms of kinship. Two points need to be made clear here. 

First, it is certainly correct to say, as the culturalist school does, that these phenomena existed at the time of the great pre colonial empires. The term priyayi, referring to the Javanese service nobil ity (entrusted with the administrative tasks in conquered territory) is derived, according to the historian Soemarsaid Moertono, from the expression para yayi (literally ‘the junior brothers of the prince’); so, in the seventeenth century, court circles were using kinship metaphors to signify allegiance or seal an alliance. But to argue from this that the excesses of patrimonialism of the Indonesian state have their roots in the theories of pre-colonial Javanese kingship would be to underestimate dangerously the particular legacy of the colonial period. The colonial state, on the advice of the Orientalists, indeed emphasised certain aristocratic codes, and shamelessly introduced new ones, to satisfy the requirements of its daily operations. 

The period of Dutch imperial domination, in the history of modern Indonesia, is therefore like a moment of rewriting, hence reinvention of Javanese culture’.

And then, speaking of ‘heritage’ does not mean adopting determinism. The procedures of control and systems of justification perfected by the colonial state did not compel Indonesian political actors to adopt this or that sort of language or behaviour. But while they did not dispose Indone sians’ conduct, they were at their disposal—that is, those actors could use those procedures and systems to claim the precious backing of Tradition. So those technologies and narratives of domination, which could be put to almost any number of strategic uses, were only one material among many others in the process of building forms of legitimacy.

[…sisanya baca bukunya saja].

Menganalisa kejadian Seputar Jatuhnya Kabinet Sjahrir pertama

Saya tulis ulang berdasarkan dua buku yakni Indonesian .. by Arnold Brackman yg terbit tahun 1963 dan Sjahrir:exile dari Mrazek yang terbit tahun 1994. Kedua buku ini walaupun ditulis dalam rentang yang sangat lama, tapi saling mengisi walaupun ada kontradiksi antara satu dan lain. 
Timbul pertanyaan kritis baru, seperti :

1. Apakah Bung Karno terlibat dalam pemebentukan Persatuan Perjuangan ?
2. Apakah Pidato Tan Malaka di Purwekerto dimaksudkan untuk menggeser Sjahrir atau justru beraliansi dengan Sjahrir ?
3. Apakah Sjahrir menganggap Bung Karno terlibat dalam usaha kejatuhan kabinetnya yang pertama ?
4. Apa yang terjadi pada sidang KNIP di Surakarta pada 26 February 1946 yang dihadiri tan malaka, soekarno dan Sjahrir ?

Karena ini sejarah yang sangat penting dan crucial, bagian bagian sejarah yang penting saya tebalkan.
MOHON JIKA ADA INFORMASI TAMBAHAN, Silahkan add di comments.




…….Pag 312:

Tan Malaka’s Politik, as we noticed, had been announced as a book “as big as Sjahrir’s. Muhammad Jamin published his “Tan Malaka: Father of the Indonesia Republic” in Berita Indonesia, where Sjahrir’s influence was also strong. Subadio Sastrosatomo follower of Sjahrir, wrote later:

I saw the efforts of the people’s congress, which took place in Purwokerto, a efforts to put Tan Malaka into the limelight [ menonggolkan Tan Malaka], and to shake [ the position of Soekarno].

I did not see the congress a opposition against the cabinet of Sjahrir….

The emergence of Tan Malaka and his coming up with the Minimum Program at the Purwokerto people’ congress, had, indeed, been an effort… to continue the spirit of the Testament [ Sjahrir together with Tan Malaka were mentioned as Sukarno’ and Hatta’s successorsj. 

Benedict Anderson suggested that Tan Malaka, if he had built a powerful political organization to support him, might have played a role in the Indonesian revolution comparable to that of Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam. According to Anderson,. the only other attempt in the post-surrender years, besides Sjahrir’s “Our Struggle” to analyze systematically and to give a coherent perspective to the Revolution the writings and speeches by Tan Malaka. It is impossible to say what might happened, if these two extraordinary men, during late 1945 and early 1946, had been able to work together 
Adam Malik dated the beginning of “separation” of Tan Malaka from Sjahrir at the “time of Purwokerto,” which is at the begining of January. Amir Sjarifoedin wrote later that Tan Malaka and his group were not “wholly in agreement” Sjahrir’s cabinet policies “already in January.” 

According to Sjahrir himself “animosity” and “bitterness” arose between his and Tan Malaka’s camps months” after the cabinet was formed, thus again in mid-January.

One thing was striking. Both men, Sjahrir and Tan Malaka, appeared to play a passive role in the separation. “Others,” neither Sjahrir nor Tan Malaka, appeared to be be the principal actors.


According to Subadio’s memoirs:

It was Abdoelmadjid who was sent as a representative of the Socialist Party
[ Amir and Sjahrir] to the people’s congress at Purwokerto. He reported
back about the congress to other party leaders—Amir Sjarifoeddin, Tan Ling
Djie and myself…. He explained the events as a true Marxist-Stalinist, and
in terms of the Comintem and Dimitrov line. Thus, he described Tan Malaka
as a Trotskyist, which is a renegade, an opponent, and an enemy…. Amir
Sjarifoeddin, as a member of cabinet believed that the congress was an effort
to begin an opposition, and thus it was not difficult for him to accept the
ideolOgical explanation which Abdoelmadjid, and also Tan Ling Djie,

I asked L. N. Sitoroes, a political companion of Sjahrir, and also a man who was
known at the time for his liking of Tan Malaka, if Sjahrir and Tan Malaka could ever
have made it to the top and led the Republic together. “No way,” Sitoroes answered,
“it could not be done. Not in the Indonesia of the time. At least one of them would
have to be a Javanese.”

It seems that Tan Malaka and Sjahrir were increasingly being used. It also seems
that they both failed at the same historical moment, for the same reason and, per-
haps, by the same design. The scene of the failure of both of them was the center, the
fortress—Yogyakarta, the Javanese interior, the place where Sukarno, as we noted
above, “came into his own.” 

On February 6, 1946, in Yogyakarta, the executive of the Masjumi, the Islamic
and strongly nationalist republican political party, making public its loss of patience
with compromises with the West, declared its non-confidence in Sjahrir’s cabinet.
The Indonesian National Party—close to Sukarno, resembling strongly the prewar
Partindo and also led by Sartono, Sukarno’s lifelong ally, and Sjahrir’s life-long
rival—immediately followed suit.

On February 17, Sukarno, in Yogyakarta, decided to speak out. Reading his
speech later, one can not but be impressed by how much and how well Sukarno used Tan Malaka’s rhetoric and Tan Malaka’s flame; and how he was able, at the same time, to display truly paternal benevolence when speaking about Sjahrir:


Be confident that our prime minster will not swerve in his determination to maintain the demand for 100 per cent independence [ Freedom]. But if it should ever turn out that Sjahrir is not maintaining the demand for 100% independence [ Freedom] that all of you, my brothers, want, then I have the right to dismiss him.

On February 23, Sjahrir, traveling hastily from Jakarta on the Special Train to Yogyakarta,sent Sukarno a secret letter of resignation. This still might have been, and it probably was, just a tactical step. On February 26, according to Tan Malaka, Sjahrir also demanded to see him. “I hurried to Yogyakarta to meet him on February 26, 194 wrote Tan Malaka, “However the meeting never took place.”

On the same day, February 26, in Surakarta, a Javanese princely town an hour’s drive from Yogyakarta, and in the Solo Valley, a plenary meeting of the “Central In donesian National Council,” took place. The delegates did not know about the letter of resignation which Sjahrir had sent three days earlier, and to which Sukarno had not yet responded. The meeting started with Sjahrir reporting “what he had attained through his conferences with the Dutch and the British till now.” 

Then Sukarno took the rostrum.
Sukarno began by handing Sjahrir a big file of “about 250 telegrams from local
leaders.” Then turning to the audience, Sukarno spoke out:

All these telegrams demand exactly the same—”lOO% Freedom,” and that a war against the Dutch be declared. Further, all these men and women ask that the conferences [ the foreigners in Jakarta] be stopped. One has been conferring for four months already and nothing is achieved…. The Dutch made me duck. Each subsequent day they come one more step in my direction. Because they were not in a state to play an open game, they called in the British. My boys are depicted as war criminals by them, and so am

After Sukarno, Tan Malaka was given the platform. This probably was the cru cial speech in the old man’s life. During “a heated exchange of words,” a report says, Tan Malaka urged Sjahrir “not to drift too much to the Dutch side. Sjahrir then asked Sukarno to permit his cabinet to be expanded. This Sukarno waved away by saying that this should be decided by the plenum.

At the next session of the “Central Indonesian National Council,” held two days later, on February 28, many further telegrams from Sukarno’s file were read—so many, indeed, that it took the whole session, and any further decision on the fate of Sjahrir’s cabinet had to be delayed till March 2.

On March 2, more telegrams were read, and then Sukarno gave another speech:

We are in war, the Indonesian Republican Army must be strengthened. Its
strength shall be brought up to 1,000,000 men.. .. A course is already em-
barked upon to develop an “Indonesian atom bomb” filled with nitrogen.
No Dutchman shall be admitted into our offices and into our public enter
prise. Eurasians may be appointed only when this is especially approved by
the President.

Now, it was no more Tan Malaka’s but Sukarno’s flame. It was also announced
that “Soekarno would not go to Jakarta, and would not negotiate with the Dutch.”
This also was the moment when Sjahrir resigned—as he said later—”because I could
not get enough cooperation from the top Ieadership.”

Some people believed that with Sjahrir defeated, Tan Malaka might be offered
Sjahrir’s job. According to Hatta, however, he and Sukarno now decided to block
Tan Malaka’s road to power.

The weakened Sjahrir was used. Hatta announced a new cabinet on the very day
of Sjahrir’s resignation. Sjahrir again was its premier, but, without Sjahrir being able
to resist, a few new people entered his cabinet, representing the Masjumi and the In
donesian National Party. Significantly, Sjahrir called the program of his second
cabinet “Soekarno’s ‘five points’.” Tan Malaka, in his own way, spoke about the
same thing. He criticized the second Sjahrir cabinet, but, as Anderson commented,
It is very noticeable that in his critique Tan Malaka makes almost no mention
of Sjahrir but constantly refers to the “Soekarno-Hatta government,” in effect
attributing the program to those two men.

On March 17, 1946, two weeks after the crisis, Tan Malaka, together with some of
his followers, Abikoesno, Jamin, and Soekarni, was arrested in Surakarta. “I did not
know,” Tan Malaka wrote in 1948, two years later, and when still in prison, “I did
not understand who did it, why, and on what official authority.”
It appears again that “others,” neither Sjahrir nor Tan Malaka, were the main
actors. Of course, Sjahrir was prime minister at the time of the arrest. Amir Sjarifoed
din, the minister of defense—his signature was on the warrant—later claimed that he



Up to this point in the developing revolution, the orthodox Communists were almost conspicuous by their absence. Not so the national Communists. From the outset, Tan Malaka maneuvered to widen the split between Sukarno and Sjahrir. He first approached Sjahrir and proposed that the resistance forces join with his own group in deposing the “fascist” Sukarno. Tan Malaka was apparently unenthusiastic about making an attempt to seize 

direction of the revolution without first eliminating Sukarno. As Tan Malaka doubtlessly expected, Sjahrir rebuffed him. Accordingly, Tan Malaka embarked on a daring and amateurish scheme to attain power by duplicity. He sought to capitalize on the growing unrest in Batavia by inducing Sukarno to draft a political will designating him as sole heir in the event that harm befell Sukarno and Hatta, which was probable once such a testament was signed. Sukarno, recognizing the need for some kind of a political will, consented, but he cleverly divided his legacy among four heirs-Tan Malaka, Iwa, Sjahrir, and Wongsonegoro–the last-named a respected old-line nationalist with no following. Sukarno felt that this group was representative of the main currents of the revolution–Sjahrir, the Marxist; Wongsonegoro, the nationalist; and Iwa, a devout Moslem, his Communist background notwithstanding. Sukarno preached that only by a blending of these three forces –Marxism, nationalism, and Islam–could the revolution succeed and the republic survive. In his mind, perhaps, Tan Malaka embodied a coalition of these three forces. Although Tan Malaka was disappointed by the will, the very fact that Sukarno had drafted a testament suited his designs admirably. As expected, the news of the testament spread rapidly, although its contents were kept secret (and have yet to be officially disclosed).

Now Tan Malaka drafted a new testament, in which he alone was named political heir. He then proceeded to the interior and spread rumors that Sukarno and Hatta were captives of the Dutch and that Sjahrir was in the pay of the British. By transferring the government to Jogjakarta, Sukarno exposed the absurdity of Tan Malaka’s charges.

Apparently, Sukarno now felt that he could use Tan Malaka to depose Sjahrir, for Sukarno believed that Sjahrir’s democratization program and conciliatory attitude toward the Allies had been pursued too far. Sukarno therefore encouraged Tan Malaka to capitalize on the widespread opposition to Sjahrir’s policy of negotiations with the Dutch and British by constructing a broad united front behind the government. To achieve this, Tan Malaka organized the Persatuan Perdjuangan (Fighting Front) at Purwokerto. Within a short interval, the Persatuan succeeded in enrolling 141 parties and organizations “without the slightest difficulty.”4 Both the Masjumi and PNI entered the Persatuan, as did the Socialists and other parties of the Left that had blossomed after the introduction of the multi-party system. * No party could afford to dissociate itself from a front that enjoyed Presidential ncouragement and was ostensibly organized to marshal the country behind the government.

By January 28, Tan Malaka apparently felt sufficiently secure to draft a seven-point Persatuan program, which, he felt, the moderate Sjahrir would reject. The “minimum demands” called for

Negotiations on the basis of the [100 per cent] recognition of Indonesian independence.

Composition of the government in harmony with the tendencies among the people.

Composition of the [Army] in harmony with the tendencies among the people.

Disarming of Japanese forces.

Confiscation and exploitation of enemy [Dutch] estates.

Confiscation and exploitation of enemy [Dutch] factories.

Sjahrir confounded Tan Malaka by endorsing the program. Tan Malaka countered by demanding its immediate implementation, a move that made it clear that Tan Malaka’s primary objective was to topple Sjahrir. 

The parties of the Left, Sjahrir’s main source of strength, resigned from the Persatuan; the Masjumi, by then in the cabinet, wavered. On February 28, Sjahrir, who considered Sukarno a coarchitect of the Tan Malaka strategy, abruptly resigned as Premier. Sukarno, forced to choose between Sjahrir and Tan Malaka, recognized the ambitious Tan Malaka as the greater personal threat and turned again to Sjahrir.On March 2, Sjahrir returned to office. 

Tan Malaka, enraged by Sukarno’s deception, set about to attain power by a coup d’etat. His plans were thwarted, however, when the government arrested him and a number of aides, including Yamin and Chaerul Saleh, on March 17. His arrest, meanwhile, generated disorders at Soerakarta, Central Java, largely between the Barisan Banteng (Buffalo Legion) and the Pesindo (Socialist Youth), which supported the government. 


Sejarah Pulau Jawa dari VOC hingga Politik Etis.

Ini ada sejarah singkat tentang pulau jawa yg cukup ringkas, bagaimana perkembanganya dari masa VOC, CulturStelsel , Liberal Free Market lalu dilanjuti oleh Ethical Policy.

Banyak yang lupa sebenarnya kalau Indonesia yang sekarang mengadop policy 100 percen Neo-Liberal Policy, sebenarnya hal ini merupakan pengulangan sejarah 130 tahun lalu ; dimana setelah masa Culturstelsel , belanda mengadopsi sistem Free Market Liberal, dimana kepemilikan kekayaan alam Indonesia sebenarnya tidak 100 persen dimiliki oleh Belanda, melainkan dimiliki enterpreneur2 dari banyak negara. Kalau saya tidak salah, sekitar 60 persen kekayaan Java saat itu dikuasai oleh enterpreneur Belanda. sisanya dibagi2 ke enterpreneur Jerman , Prancis, Inggris, AS dan Jepang. Lalu dimana masa inilah taraf hidup orang di pulau Jawa turun drastis selama 30 tahun. Dan baru nanti pada 1900, muncul kesadaran untuk ngebenerin kondisi sosial ekonomi yang sudah teramat rusak.

by Robert Van Niel Associate Professor of History Russell Sage College


In 1900 Java was a principal part of the Dutch colonial empire. Ultimate control over Java and other parts of the empire had resided, since the middle of the nineteenth century, in the hands of the Netherlands’ parliament, or States General, as it is called. Practical control over colonial affairs was in the hands of the Minister of Colonies who was one member of a cabinet responsible for its actions to the States General. The Minister of Colonies carried out the general colonial policy of the government. This general colonial policy was formulated, since mid-century, by public opinion as expressed through the States General. This general policy was relatively constant and was not basically altered by changes of cabinet or parliament. The Minister of Colonies was responsible for implementing the general colonial policy in a fashion compatible with the colonial aims of his party and any other parties included in the cabinet. To assist him in this task he had a Colonial office or a Ministry of Colonies in The Hague in which many persons with colonial experience were employed. These persons were often able to influence the decisions of the Minister of Colonies.

Political parties in the Netherlands were anything but indifferent to colonial affairs. Each political party had its colonial experts, usually men with experience in the colonies, who formulated the party’s colonial program and defended it in the parliament and in the press. The colonial program of many parties about 1900 bore little relationship to their position within the political spectrum of domestic politics. Virtually all parties were agreed on a humanizing reorientation of colonial policy at this


time, but there were differences on means and methods of applying this new orientation. 
The most far reaching in their desire for alterations in the colonial policy were the socialists and the conservatives — both of whom had come to regard the prevailing liberal ideology with distrust.

In 1900 no political party advocated a termination of the colonial tie between Java and the Netherlands.

By 1900 the Dutch had been on Java for about 300 years. During this time they had tried only a few long term policies in regulating their relationship to the bulk of the island’s inhabitants. Basic to each approach toward the colonial relationship was a desire to keep regulation as indirect as possible and an implicit understanding that the relationship must be as profitable as possible for the Netherlands. The Dutch East India Company ( 1602-1798) had assumed sovereignty over most of Java in order to protect its commercial and mercantile position. The company’s chief interest lay in obtaining and exporting and selling certain basic commodities grown on Java. Political and administrative control was ancillary to this major interest, and consequently assumed an indirect form which almost bordered on indifference. 

During the Napoleonic Wars the Dutch lost control of Java to the English for a few years, and when they regained control of the island in 1816 they discovered that a new system of monetary land tax and more direct administrative control had been instituted. The Dutch attempted to continue the former and to modify the latter, but this makeshift system proved incapable of producing revenue to meet the unusual expenses of war on Java and war with Belgium. 

In order to raise more revenue the Forced Cultivation System (Cultuur Stelsel) was introduced in 1830. This system reverted to taxation in selected produce. This produce was to be grown and partly processed by Indonesians under the supervision of their own administrators and under the watchful eye of European civil servants. The produce from this controlled system was to be delivered to the government in lieu of monetary taxes. During the first decade of operation this system raised great amounts of revenue for the motherland, but during the


early 1840’s certain unfortunate occurrences within Indonesian society connected with the impact of the system came to light. When the King of the Netherlands lost his personal control of colonial affairs to the States General in 1848, a gradual review of who was making money and how it was being made on Java began to take place.

The Forced Cultivation System collapsed during the 1860’s under the weight of internal corruption, under the pressures placed upon it by private business and commercial interests who had grown politically powerful in the Netherlands, and under the ambitions of European entrepreneurs on Java who wished to terminate governmental land control so they might make individual fortunes. The economic rationale was supplied by the dwindling revenues from the system, and the moralistic rationale appeared in the form of illiberal treatment of the Indonesian people whose energies had made the system work. The parliamentary speeches of Baron van Hoëvell and the writings of E. Douwes Dekker (Multatuli) which were directed against various aspects of the system found great response among the people of the Netherlands.During the 1860’s the government allowed private enterprise to enter the island of Java. In order to avoid economic chaos or collapse, the Forced Cultivation System was dismembered slowly: by 1870 the major products and plantations had been placed in the hands of private entrepreneurs, but the last vestiges of the system were not swept away until 1917. 

After about 1870 the policy of the Dutch government toward Java comes to be known as the Liberal Policy.

Under this policy the island (and eventually the entire archipelago) was opened to the penetration of private capital. 

The wealth of Java was now no longer to flow into the coffers of the government, but instead was to benefit the Dutch middle class who had now also come to control the political process in the Netherlands. From 1870 to 1900 private entrepreneurs made and lost fortunes in Java. 

Those who were successful became financially powerful — those who failed often became managers for the successful. The economic fortunes in Java were such that by 1900 most enterprises on the

island were owned or managed by a nucleus of corporations and banks in Europe. These financial interests exerted great, though not exclusive influence, upon Dutch colonial policy and practice.

The Liberal Policy of the Dutch government toward Java also had a strong humanitarian impulse. After 1870 measures were taken to protect the Indonesian peasant against the full impact of a free functioning money economy. Indonesian landholding was protected against foreign acquisition; a leasehold arrangement was the most that was permitted to non-Indonesian interests. The European civil administration in Java now showed an increasing concern for the welfare of the people of the island. Yet, despite these safeguards, the prosperity of the Indonesian people seemed to be declining, and it was feared that Javanese social solidarity would be affected. Both humanitarian and financial interests were concerned by the decreasing welfare of the Javanese: the former, because of the inability to rectify social and economic injustices; the latter, because of the growing need for markets for produced consumer goods. As early as 1874 the conservative ( Anti-Revolutionary Party) statesman, 
A. Kuyper, was speaking in the States General of a humanized capitalism which would fulfill a moral obligation to the peoples of the East Indies.8 This urge toward a new orientation of the existing policy grew not only in the motherland, but in the European sector of East Indian society as well.

After 1870 the composition of the European community in Java began to change. This change was largely the result of the rapidly increasing numbers of private citizens introduced into an area that had previously been the exclusive preserve of government civil servants and administrators.8 The new group of Europeans, working either for themselves or for corporations, began to create for themselves in Java another type of life than had existed under a society made up of government employees. Urban centers became not only commercial centers, but came to be centers of European society as well. Better educated and middle class Europeans brought their Western way of life with them, creating a microcosm of the West in the urban centers

of Java. About 1900 European women began to arrive in Java, and from that date forward European society grew more exclusive with regard to other ethnic groups in Java. European society on Java now came to have a new internal solidarity of its own, and also came to have ideas about regulating its own internal affairs on Java and about the colonial policy of the motherland.

The European community on Java was not only concerned about the diminishing welfare of the Indonesian people, but was also greatly irked by the completely centralized control of the government over Europeans in Java. 

The newly emerging European society wanted to regulate its own internal affairs and demanded from the government a greater degree of financial autonomy and local self government. This demand was principally viewed in terms of the European community on Java, but it was only a short step to envisioning similar rights for Indonesians who through heightened prosperity and increased education would eventually be placed on the road to self government. In 1888, P. Brooshooft, editor of the Semarang newspaper De Locomotief, openly voiced the desire for greater local autonomy and improved conditions for the indigenous peoples of the East Indies in an open letter to a number of influential Netherlanders. This started a series of articles against the economic liberalism of the prevailing colonial policy which was culminated in 1899 by C. T. van Deventer’s famous article on the “‘Honor Debt.'”11 This article called upon the Netherlands to make a financial settlement upon the needy colony as partial recompense for the fortunes that had been withdrawn from Java under the Forced Cultivation System. As of 1900 Van Deventer estimated the sum involved slightly under two hundred million guilders. Attacks on the government were also occurring within the States General where the colonial authority for the Social Democratic Party, H. H. van Kol, took the lead in harassing the government on matters of colonial policy and practice.

From this widespread dissatisfaction with the prevailing policy a new orientation emerged after 1900. This new orientation in the colonial relationship was called the Ethical Policy. It found

wide acceptance among all groups, for while continuing to advocate development of the colony by private capital, it also sought to increase prosperity and welfare and to extend autonomy. Such a policy contained something for persons of virtually every political inclination. In addition, the Ethical Policy would also provide the Netherlands with an irreproachable colonial policy toward the East Indies. This was sorely needed, for some foreign powers, viewing the desultory conflict in Atjeh ( North Sumatra) which had been going on without decision since 1874, were wondering about the application to other areas of the rule of ‘effective occupation’ which the Berlin Convention of 1885 had established with regard to African claims. 13 The Ethical Policy would provide the Netherlands with a proper moralistic foundation from which to ward off any foreign claims. The greatest advantage of the Ethical Policy, however, was its ability to inspire Hollanders toward a more glorious colonial future in Java while also opening the way for Indonesians to share in the glory of their own future.

The government which controlled affairs on Java in 1900 and against which the European community on Java was raising its claims for autonomy, was the Netherlands Indian government. It was indeed a centralized government with ultimate control residing in a governor general who stood at the head of an administrative hierarchy which branched down into the local districts. This government had been designed to deal with and control Indonesian society; by default it had for the past couple of decades been obliged to control the newly emerging European society of the urban centers on Java. The administrative corps of the Netherlands Indian government probably had no serious objection to granting autonomy to local communities who were in democratic fashion able to provide for their own needs. Soon after 1900 the legal basis to make this possible was provided (see below, p. 42 ). The administrative corps for its part was principally concerned with Indonesians, even though its members were part of the European social group and, as such, subject to pressures and influences from that group.

The governor general who stood at the head of the Netherlands

Indian government was appointed by the Crown upon recommendation of the Minister of Colonies. A governor general normally served a five year term though this was not legally prescribed and might be shortened or extended as the situation seemed to warrant. The governor general was responsible to the Crown for the implementation of colonial policy on the spot: he was the supreme authority in the colony.

In practice, of course, he was expected to follow the instructions of the Minister of Colonies from The Hague, but his advice as the man on the scene helped in turn to shape these instructions. In actuality his position was an extremely powerful one, for the distance from the motherland allowed him great freedom of initiative. His power, just as that of all administrators, was dependent upon the assistance and cooperation of others — he could not personally supervise all activities. That a governor general was sometimes sheltered from the stark realities of events by subordinates or was subtly influenced and pressured by close associates is probably true. In general, however, most of them managed to have a fairly accurate picture of the state of affairs within the colony. This does not mean they always accomplished everything they wished.

Next to the governor general was a high ranking advisory body known as the Council of the Indies. The governor general was president of this council ex officio, but his relationship to its members was that of primus inter pares. The Council of the Indies was composed for the most part of high ranking civil administrators with lengthy colonial experience. The degree of reliance the governor general placed upon the Council varied with individual cases.

In general by 1900 it can be said that the Council of the Indies was losing power and importance while the governor general’s General Secretariat gained correspondingly. The burgeoning governmental tasks after 1870 found the monolithic Netherlands Indian government ill prepared to deal with them. The first, and for many years only, functioning bureau of the government was the General Secretariat. All correspondence, reports, requests for interviews, orders, legislation and official suggestions directed

to or from the governor general passed through this body. By 1900 it had interjected itself between the governor general and all his relationships in and out of the government. It was generally regarded at this time as the most powerful organ of the government. 14 Gradually as departments of government were created it acted as coordinating agent for the work of these departments. Not until after the First World War when the creation of the Volksraad (People’s Council) made frequent oral contact between the governor general and the chiefs of departments imperative, did the power of the General Secretariat decrease.

Conducting the actual operation of the functions of state in 1900 were various departments of the government. Each department had its chief, its staff employees, advisers, and clerks. The great majority of the persons were Europeans (many were Indo-Europeans); few were Indonesians. In 1900 the departments of the Netherlands Indian government were: Finance, Internal Administration (which controlled the administrative corps and police), Public Works, Education, Religion and Industry, Justice, Military Affairs, and Naval Affairs.

Administering the island of Java and forming the sinews of the colonial government was the European administrative corps. Since earliest times the Dutch control of the Indonesian population had been based on a concept of indirect rule. The Dutch were merely to act as advisers, as big brothers if you wish, to the Indonesian administrators who functioned within the pattern of the traditional hierarchy. In practice this theory was more ignored than applied. In order to fulfill the growing demands of the government upon Indonesians during the 19th century the European civil administrators had to assume ever more power and deal ever more directly with the masses of the people. By 1900 the European administrative corps was wielding almost absolute power throughout Java, over both Europeans and Indonesians. 

The enlargement of power of the European administration was accompanied by a change in the nature of the corps. The Netherlands Indian administration no longer came to be a refuge

for European social outcasts and adventurers, but instead came to be staffed by well-educated sons of substantial middle class European families. These men were eager to advance and assist the welfare of the Indonesian people, and just because of this were often unable to tolerate the indifference and lack of enlightenment on the part of their Indonesian counterparts. The government adviser, C. Snouck Hurgronje (of whom more later) envisioned a solution to this dilemma by proving Indonesians with good Western education so they might extract from Western culture the virtues which would enable them to assume the responsibilities and duties of European administrators. Gradually the Europeans would be entirely withdrawn and an enlightened Indonesian administration would run the country. This notion ran head on into the newly emerging sense of exclusiveness in European society on Java, and also failed to fit in with the increasing amount of governmental concern with the details of Indonesian life after 1900. The growing concern of the European administrators in protecting and shielding the Indonesian common people led to innumerable clashes with the European financial and entrepreneurial interests on Java. These interests began to use their political power to curb the operations and limit the authority of the European administrators. The twentieth century was to witness a gradual diminution of the power of both the European and Indonesian civil administrative corps.

In 1900 there were about 70,000 Europeans on Java. Probably only about one quarter of these were full blood Europeans who had been born in Europe and made their way out to Java. 

Yet this one quarter contained most of the businessmen and entrepreneurs, most of the representatives of financial interests, and most of the European civil administrators. These were for the most part the people who were voicing grievances and complaints against the government and its practices. With the exception of a few Japanese who had been granted equal status with Europeans in 1899, the remainder, or about 75%, of the European community on Java was made up of Indo-Europeans or Eurasians. The fifty-odd thousand Eurasians regarded as part of the

European community were certainly not all persons with part European blood on Java. Many Eurasians had been absorbed into the Indonesian population and no longer regarded themselves as European. 

The general social and economic position of the Eurasian part of the European community was far from good in 1900. True, some whose fathers had taken an interest in them and provided them with some education had obtained clerical and technical posts with government bureaus and departments or had become artisans and craftsmen in the urban centers. Those so fortunate might be said to make up the middle levels of the European community. But many others, probably the majority in 1900, had been ignored by their European fathers, had been unable to adjust to their inter-cultural position, and had found the government unwilling to do anything for them as a group. These Eurasians had drifted onto the peripheries of Indonesian life where their constant identification with European status, despite their degraded position, prohibited an adjustment. These people became the flotsam of East Indian society. About 1900 the plight of this group was more openly recognized by humanitarian Europeans. Organizations such as the Masons and the Order of Eastern Star and Christian mission groups began to take an interest in the poorer Eurasians. Vocational and technical training schools were started to permit these persons to develop a skill which would enable them to fit into the European community. During the 20th century the Eurasians’ situation gradually improved. 

In summary, the European community on Java was far from homogeneous, yet there was an apparent striving toward a common cultural base. The common ground toward which increasing numbers of Europeans on Java moved was the common denominator of middle-class European social tastes. Such a common ground, while neither especially good nor markedly evil, did provide a certain solidarity and sense of standards for Europeans removed from their home environment but always envisioning an eventual return to the land of their forefathers. But

this social solidarity had the disadvantage of enforcing a marked gulf with the Indonesian community. Even the European civil administrator and plantation manager, through improved communications, could have frequent contact with the urbanized European social milieu. No longer did the European live among the Indonesians on the Indonesian standard as had frequently been the case carlier. 24 This social solidarity sometimes also had the effect of reducing mass sentiments of the Europeans toward the Indonesians to the lowest common denominator. Often little interested in Indonesian life, and finding contact with that life only through household help or hired employees, many of the Europeans developed a certain fear through ignorance of the Indonesian and his ways. Paradoxically enough, those who knew least were often the ones to shout the loudest that they knew the Indonesian, and that his ways were treacherous and deceitful. Naturally not all Europeans believed this — many knew better. But the insecurity within the European community was great enough that sentiments against the native peoples were easily encouraged — rumors, gossip, and petty incidents aggravated all this — until it was impossible for wiser counsels to prevail. A large part of the European community on Java did not hold the Indonesian and his way of life in high regard.

Sejarah detail penyerangan Bala Tentara Jepang ke Hindia Belanda 1942


ON DECEMBER 7, 1941, came the treacherous attack of Japan on Pearl

Harbor. Immediately afterwards the Netherlands government in London

declared war on the Japanese Empire.


In his announcement of this decision, Governor General A. W. C. Tjarda

van Starkenborgh Stachower said:


“People of the Netherlands East Indies: In its unexpected attack on

American and British territories, while diplomatic negotiations were

still in progress, the Japanese Empire has consciously adopted a

course of aggression. These attacks which have thrown the United

States of America and the British Empire into active war on the side

of already fighting China, have as their object the establishment of

Japanese supremacy in the whole of east and southeast Asia. The

aggressions also menace the Netherlands East Indies in no small

measure. The Netherlands Government accepts the challenge and takes up

arms against the Japanese Empire.”


Full mobilization of the army was ordered immediately and defense

forces were sent into the Outer Possessions to guard against attacks.


The Netherlands East Indies army was estimated at a strength of about

100,000-125,000 men, including home guards and militia. The nucleus of

the army consisted of professional soldiers, many of them Amboynese

and Menadonese. All able-bodied Netherlanders in the Netherlands East

Indies had been conscripted about a year earlier. By a law of July 11,

1941, conscription had been extended to the native part of the

population as well, but through lack of  equipment and some hesitancy

on the part of the government, only small contingents of this native

militia were inducted into the army towards the end of October, 1941.


Good progress had been made with the mechanization of the army while

the air force consisted of about 250-300 planes, many of them,

however, almost obsolete. Much equipment that had been ordered did not

arrive on time in the Indies.


The greatest part of Duch naval strength, consisting of five cruisers,

seven destroyers, over twenty submarines and a number of smaller craft

was concentrated in the Indies.


When the war with Japan broke out, all Japanese citizens were interned

immediately. The interned group consisted of 1069 Japanese, 301

Formosans and 25 suspect Europeans.


The Netherlands East Indies Army planes went to the aid of the British

in Malaya while Naval units were despatched to Singapore: on December

13 naval forces sank four Japanese army transports off the coast of

Thailand, while, from then on, news about the sinking of Japanese

ships became almost a daily item.


The Indonesian political parties issued a statement in which they

urged the people “to render all possible assistance to the government

in maintaining order and to keep calm.”


Occasional Japanese air attacks were the only enemy activity which

reached the Netherlands Indies in the first period.


On January 10, 1942, the all-out war on the Indies was started when

the Japanese launched a full-fledged attack on the Island of Tarakan,

off east Borneo, and on three different parts of the Minahassa, the

“northern arm” of Celebes. Dutch army and air forces put up strong

resistance and damaged several Japanese naval units. The Dutch were

quite aware that the odds were strongly against them, but destruction

of oil installations and other equipment was carried out according to



Bombing attacks on several points of the Archipelago in-creased in

intensity with the naval base of Ambon as one of the main targets.


Parachutists succeeded in completing the conquest of the Minahassa

where infiltration had also been used with some success. Dutch and

Australian air forces gave a good account of themselves, and Japanese

losses were reported at that time to have been heavy.


A great success was achieved by air attacks on January 23 on enemy

naval and transport concentration in Makassar Straits, between Celebes

and Borneo. Twelve direct hits were scored on eight Japanese warships

and transports. Next day, several transports of the same large convoy

were sunk. Attacks on ship concentrations near Balikpapan in Borneo

were also successful.


American air and naval forces joined in the various attacks and

achieved considerable results with torpedo attacks and bombings.


On January 25, landings on Borneo and at Kandari, in Southern Celebes,

took place.


Naval and air resistance to the Japanese invasion continued to inflict

serious damage but land resistance was whittled down quickly in most

cases by the superiority of the Japanese in numbers and equipment.


Resistance of Netherlands East Indies troops around Balikpapan

continued for some time while the scorched earth policy was carried

out completely in most regions. Ambon also became the subject of a

concentrated attack, while fighting in Celebes continued throughout



In the beginning of February air attacks on Java increased in

intensity. By that time Borneo was largely in Japanese hands although

resistance in the interior continued. Naval activities around Ambon

resulted in the sinking of several Japanese cruisers, as well as of a

destroyer and a submarine.


On February 14, heavy raids on Palembang, Sumatra, took place which

were followed by the landing of paratroops as


the Japanese were eager to stop the demolitions of the oilfields. They

succeeded in preventing some of the demolitions, but most of them had

been carried out successfully. Around the middle of February fighting

around Palembang as well as on Celebes continued.


On February 19, when the Japanese had surrounded Java on all sides,

the first reports came in of the arrival of detachments of British,

American and Australian troops, however, only in very small numbers.

The occupation of Bali caused the Japanese several naval losses.


Air raids continued to be successful and the “ship a day” tradition of

the Dutch was kept up pretty well. Official figures on the number of

Japanese ships sunk are still not available.


On February 27, strong Japanese formations were reported to be

approaching Java. They were attacked repeatedly by Allied squadrons.

On the 28th, the first phase in the battle of Java opened when

Japanese invasion troops established three beach heads on the north



In this period the Dutch navy, with the naval forces of some of its

Allies, played an heroic role. When the news of the attack on Bali

came, Admiral Karel Doorman raced his small fleet to the South Cape on

Bali, and, in the dark of night, they made a daring attack on the

Japanese fleet, the cruiser “De Ruyter” leading, followed by the

“Java” and the “Piet Hein,” with Dutch and American destroyers making

up the rear. When, by firing star shells, the “De Ruyter” could see

the enemy, she was too close to train her guns properly. But the

“Java” had that chance while the “Piet Hein,” coming up astern, caught

the withering fire of the 8-inch guns.


Later in the night, a similar attack was made by four American

destroyers and the “Tromp.” The Japanese took heavy punishment that

night in Bandia Strait, but the small fleet of Admiral Doorman was

further depleted. He was left   with the “De Ruyter,” the “Java,” the

damaged “Houston,” the “Perth” and the “Exeter.”


On February 26, this fleet was looking for the enemy around Madoera

Island. Finally at 4 o’clock, when they were racing northward, the “De

Ruyter” sighted the enemy. She opened fire immediately, and in the

beginning Allied gunnery was good although the Japanese guns outranged

them. One Japanese destroyer was hit, but the “Exeter” was put out of

action. The destroyer “Kortenaer,” trying to cover her limping

retreat, was hit by a torpedo and broke in two. A little later the

British destroyer “Electra” fell victim to a Japanese torpedo also.

However, in this stage of the encounter, three Japanese destroyers

were sunk.


Admiral Doorman in an effort to break off the struggle in which he was

so hopelessly outnumbered, tried to find the convoy where he could do

more damage. He failed, and later at night he came once more upon the

enemy fleet. With all guns blazing, his small force, now entirely

without destroyer protection, went into action. Then he flung his

force sharply around, but it was too late: torpedoes caught the “Java”

as well as the “De Ruyter” and both went down into the blazing sea.


The Allied navy had done all it could to prevent the Japanese

landings, and nothing was left to do except the blowing up of all

shore installations.


The invasion of the Japanese army was resisted valiantly by the

Netherlands East Indies army, reinforced with American, Australian,

and British units but the battle was hopeless from the beginning and

demoralization set in at an early stage. The air force continued its

attacks as long as possible but its strength was wearing down rapidly.


The Japanese fanned out from their three beachheads and succeeded in

making pretty steady progress.


On March 3, the Allied Commander, General Archibald P. Wavell, left

Java for British India, leaving the command of the Allied forces in

the hands of the Dutch.


On the same day, it was admitted that air control had passed into the

hands of the enemy.


From that time on, fighting spread throughout the island without

taking on a definite front line. The situation had become hectic, and

coordination between the defenders was more or less lost.


On March 6, Batavia was evacuated and the government moved to Bandoeng

where the last ditch defense was being organized.


The complete control of the air made Allied troop movements

practically impossible. On March 7, the northern defenses of Bandoeng

were cracked, and the situation was admittedly critical. On March 8,

the official radio station at Bandoeng sent its last message: “We are

now shutting down. Goodbye until better times. Long live the Queen.”


Except for guerilla activity in the outlying possessions, and for some

parts of New Guinea, which were not occupied by the Japanese, the

entire archipelago was in the hands of the enemy.


The Japanese were surprised about these things in the Netherlands

Indies: the European population had stayed behind except for a few

high officials whom Governor General van Starkenborgh Stachouwer had

sent away in the interests of the country; there was order in the

archipelago; the population on the whole was loyal to the Dutch.


As the Japanese regarded the Westerners as the leaders of the East,

they began by interning all Europeans and by removing all Dutch signs.

The interned Europeans were given small rations but received

considerable aid from the Indonesians and the Chinese.


The Japanese started by prohibiting all political activity but on

March 9, 1943, they founded the “Poetera,” intended as the

all-embracing political party. This organization lasted only one year

and was replaced by the Djawa Hoko Kai, or- ganizing the Indies as a

section of Greater East Asia. The organization was on a cooperative

basis, and only those who were members received the materials needed

for their occupations. Soekarno was a leading figure in the “Djawa

Hoko Kai.”

Perjalanan Revolusi Indonesia & Relasinya dengan Revolusi di Negeri2 Dunia ke Tiga


Tulisan Titipan seorang kawan ….. copyright for him :-)




Kepada mbak atau mas atau siapa saja yang mengakui bahwa diri anda adalah seorang nasionalis tulen, kami sungguh senang karena ada teman dari Indonesia yang menanggapi tulisan kami yang sangat singkat, kami tidak anti kritik karena dengan kritik itu akan dapat membangun tapi tentunya dengan kritik yang berbobot dan berkualitas tidak karena emosi atau subjektivisme semata-mata serta kami sangat menghargai apabila kritik itu dapat memajukan gerakan rakyat revolusioner di Indonesia. 

Bicara soal nasionalisme (cinta kepada tanah air), dimasa lalu banyak kita saksikan sekelompok atau segolongan orang orang atas nama nasionalisme (Jendral Tanaka pemimpin Bala Tentara Dai Nippon karena cintanya kepada Tenno Hekka titisan dewa matahari…J mengangkangi habis seluruh Asia Pasific dan merampok seluruh rakyatnya dan dijadikan Romusha diperas tenaganya habis-habisan sampai mati sambil menggembar-gemborkan Nippon Pemimpin Asia, Nippon Cahaya Asia, Nippon Pelindung Asia, Mussolinni di Italia yang menggembar-gemborkan (“to believe, to obey, to combat”)akan mengembalikan kejayaan kekaisaran Roma sewaktu dia dan para 40.000 pengikutnya melakukan parade rally kemenangan menuju Roma yang di sepanjang jalan sambil mengintimidasi semua lawan politiknya terutama kaum Komunis dan dengan angkuhnya mengirimkan ratusan ribu pasukannya untuk melalap Afrika dengan sasaran pertama Abesinia (sekarang Etophia) yang kaya akan tambang batu baran dan emasnya, dan Hitler seorang anak keturunan yahudi yang merasa dirinya ras bangsa arya tulen dengan slogan (“Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Ein Fuhrer- Satu Negara, Satu Bangsa, Satu Pemimpin) membantai jutaan orang di seluruh dataran Eropa dan lagi-lagi kaum komunis yang menjadi sasaran utamanya tapi lihat apa yang terjadi sejak tahun 1943 setelah kemenangan pertempuran di Stalinggrad yang berjarak 80 mil dari Moscow yang memakan korban jiwa sampai 20 juta rakyat soviet, pasukan nazi jerman yang berjumlah 330.000 luluh-lantak dihajar habis-habisan oleh Tentara Merah dan para anggota Partisan Rusia yang dipimpin oleh Towarich Stalin, pasukan sekutu tidak bisa mendarat di Normandia (selatan Perancis) pada tahun 1944 yang terkenal dengan pertempuran D-Day nya yang memakan korban jiwa di pihak sekutu sampai 100.000 orang, jika Sovyet Rusia pimpinan Towarich Stalin tidak dapat meluluh lantakan pasukan Nazi dan mengusir mereka keluar dari tanah air Sosialis sambil terus mengejar sisa-sia pasukan nazi jerman kearah barat eropa (contoh pertama nasionalisme kaum komunis),  


Tiongkok tanggal 7 juli 1937 imperialis jepang menimbulkan peristiwa Lukuotjhiao dalam usahanya mencaplok seluruh tiongkok dengan kekuatan bersenjata. Rakyat di seluruh negeri dengan bulat menuntut supaya dilancarkan perang melawan jepang, Chiang Kai Shek baru mengeluarkan pernyataan di Lushan untuk menyatakan perang perlawanan terhadap jepang 10 hari sesudah peristiwa itu. Pada tanggal 8 Juli 1937 Comite Central Partai Komunis Tiongkok mengumumkan pada seluruh negeri sebuah manifest yang menyerukan perang perlawanan yang berbunyi:  

“Saudara-saudara setanah air! Peiping dan Thientjin dalam bahaya! Bangsa Tionghoa dalam bahaya! Jalan keluar bagi kita hanyalah perang perlawanan yang dilakukan oleh seluruh bangsa. Kami menuntut supaya segera memberikan perlawanan yang tegas terhadap tentara jepang yang sedang menyerang dan segera mempersiapkan diri untuk menghadapi peristiwa besar yang baru. Rakyat seluruh negeri, dari atas sampai kebawah harus segera melepaskan setiap maksud berdamai dengan aggressor jepang untuk keselamatan sementara. Saudara-saudara setanah air! Kita harus memuji dan menyokong perang perlawanan yang gagah berani……………….Kami minta kepada seluruh rakyat tiongkok dengan sekuta tenaga membantu perang suci anti jepang dan bela diri. Semboyan kita ialah: Belalah Peiphing, Thientjien dan tiongkok utara dengan bersenjata! Belalah tanah air kita sampai titik darah yang penghabisan! Bersatulah rakyat seluruh tiongkok, pemerintah dan seluruh angkatan bersenjata untuk membangun Tembok Besar front persatuan nasional yang kokoh guna melawan agresi jepang! Bekerja-samalah Kuomintang dan Partai Komunis Tiongkok dengan erat untuk melawan serangan baru dari aggressor jepang! Usirlah aggressor jepang dari Tiongkok! (contoh kedua nasionalisme kaum Komunis). 

Program Sepuluh Pasal Untuk Menyelamatkan Tanah Air: (Berjuang Untuk Memobilisasi Semua Kekuatan Demi Perang Perlawanan, Kumpulan Tulisan Mao Tse Tung Jilid II) 

  1. Menghancurkan Imperialisme Jepang.
  2. Mobilisasi umum atas kekuatan militer seluruh negeri.
  3. Mobilisasi umum atas rakyat seluruh negeri.
  4. Merombak aparat-aparat pemerintahan.
  5. Politik luar negeri Anti Jepang.
  6. Politik keuangan dan ekonomi masa perang.
  7. Memperbaiki penghidupan rakyat.
  8. Politik pendidikan Anti Jepang.
  9. Menyapu bersih penghianat bangsa, penjual Negara dan kaum Pro Jepang serta mengkonsolidasi daerah belakang.
  10. Persatuan Nasional Anti Jepang.


Kami kutipkan sedikit pendapat kawan Mao TseTung dalam hal dalam hal Patriotisme dan Internasionalisme, adalah sbb: 

“Dapatkah seorang anggota Partai Komunis, sebagai seorang Internasionalis, sekaligus juga seorang Patriot? Kita berpendapat bahwa bukan saja dapat tetapi juga harus. Isi kongkrit Patriotisme ditentukan oleh syarat-syarat sejarah. Ada patriotisme aggressor Jepang dan patriotisme Hitler dan ada pula patriotisme kita. Anggota Partai Komunis harus dengan tegas menentang apa yang dinamakan patriotisme Jepang dan patriotisme Hitler. Orang komunis Jepang dan orang komunis Jerman adalah kaum defaitis terhadap perang yang dilakukan oleh negeri-negeri mereka. Berusaha dengan segala cara supaya perang yang dilancarkan kaum aggressor Jepang dan Hitler itu kalah adalah untuk kepentingan rakyat Jepang dan rakyat Jerman dan semakin total kekalahan itu semakin baik…………………karena perang yang dilancarkan oleh kaum aggressor jepang dan Hitler merugikan rakyat sedunia tetapi juga merugikan rakyatnya sendiri…………………Kita adalah kaum Internasionalis dan juga kaum Patriot dan semboyan kita ialah berperang membela tanah air melawan kaum aggressor. Bagi kita Defaitisme adalah suatu dosa, sedangkan berjuang untuk kemenangan Perang Anti Jepang adalah kewajiban yang tidak dapat dielakkkan. Karena hanya dengan perang membela tanah air barulah kita dapat mengalahkan kaum aggressor dan mencapai pembebasan nasional. Dan hanya dengan tercapainya pembebasan nasional barulah mungkin tercapai pembebasan proletariat dan rakyat pekerja lainnya…………………………..Dengan demikian Patriotisme adalah pentrapan Internasionalisme dalam perang Pembebasan Nasional.(Kedudukan Partai Komunis Tiongkok dalam Perang Nasional) 

Vietnam, awal 1930an  

setelah kegagalan pemberontakan Partai Nasionalis Vietnam di Vietnam partai hanya berjumlah satu buah yaitu Partai Pemuda Revolusioner (PPR), akibat tindakan yang kejam dari pemerintah Perancis terhadap rakyat Vietnam maka menyebabkan mempercepat hidup-suburnya Partai Pemuda Revolusioner (PPR) ini karena seluruh rakyat ingin melawan dan menghancurkan kekuasaan penjajah tetapi dibelakang hari PPR itu pecah menjadi tiga golongan, masing2 memperbaharui susunannya dan menambahkan corak komunis, jadinya di Vietnam terdapat 3 partai komunis yang demikian itu sangat membingungkan para pecinta kemerdekaan, mereka insyaf perpecahan pasti akan membawa kelemahan perjuangan. 

Setelah NguYen Ay Quo (The Old Man who has an alias name Ho Chi Minh) tiba dari Tiongkok, wakil2 tiga partai komunis itu dipanggilnya datang ketempat kediamannya, mereka diajak berunding bersama-sama, Nguyen memberikan keterangan dan menganjurkan demikian: 

“Di negeri2 merdeka seperti Inggris, Perancis, Amerika dan Tiongkok dan lain-lainnya ada berdiri Partai Komunis. Di negeri2 jajahan seperti Indonesia, India dan lai-lain partai komunis itu juga ada. Jadi di Vietnam pun boleh didirikan Partai Komunis tapi di tiap-tiap negeri itu hanya ada satu Partai Komunis, tidak dua tidak tiga. Jadi kalau akan menghidupkan Partai Komunis di Vietnam juga harus satu Partai Komunis saja, tidak tiga! 

Kekayaan negeri kita, kebahagiaan rakyat kita bahkan anak cucu dan wanita-wanita kita – semuanya telah di rampas oleh penjajah perancis. Tidak seorangpun dari bangsa kita yang mempunyai industri, yang mempunyai Bank dan lain-lainnya lagi. Yang kita miliki hanya kemiskinan. Miskin besar dan Miskin kecil, tepat seperti kata dokter Sun Yat Sen. Kita semua bangsa yang telah dirampas segala-galanya. Tidak ada lagi hak-hak pada kita. Kita menjadi budak belian dari penjajah Perancis. 

Oleh sebab itu, kewajiban kita mutlak adalah: 

    1. Mempersatukan seluruh tenaga bangsa Vietnam untuk memperjuangkan kemerdekaan.
    2. Mempersatukan lagi seluruh tenaga bangsa Vietnam untuk membangun kembali Negara kita.


Untuk melaksanakan itu semua kita harus bergabung di dalam satu organisasi. Partai yang kita dirikan boleh diberi nama apa saja. Boleh tetap di beri nama “Partai Pemuda Revolusioner “ dan juga boleh di beri nama “Partai Komunis” seperti sekarang ini. Tetapi yang penting dan yang pokok, harus mempunyai program politik nasional, yang garis besarnya akan memperjuangkan dan melaksanakan: 

Kemerdekaan Bangsa

Kebebasan Demokrasi, dan

Kesejahteraan Sosial….”

Akibat penyembelihan besar2an dari pemerintah terror penjajah perancis terhadap pemogokan2  dan demonstrasi2 di tahun 1930 dan penangkapan2 terhadap seluruh kaum revolusioner maka hubungan paman Ho dengan pergerakan masa dari tahun 1931-1933 terputus perjuangan revolusioner di Vietnam mengalami masa surut tapi sejak tahun 1934 nyala api perjuangan kemerdekaan itu sudah mulai hidup kembali. 

1940 dunia mulai di hantui oleh bayangan akan pecahnya perang dunia II akibatnya pemerintahan penjajah perancis semakin reaksioner dalam meghadapi setiap gerakan rakyat dalam keadaan demikian muncullah suara baru. Suara baru yang menggelora mendengung-dengung meliputi seluruh negeri, seluruh Vietnam! Suara-suara baru yang menggelorakan semboyan-semboyan demikian: 

  • Kita berdiri di pihak sekutu!
  • Kita bertempur menentang Fasisme Internasional!
  • Kita akan mengusir kaum Fasis Perancis!
  • Kita berperang untuk kemerdekaan Negara leluhur kita!
  • Rakyat Vietnam Bersatulah!


Semboyan-semboyan ini diserukan oleh “Persatuan Pergerakan Kemerdekaan Vietnam” nama persatuan ini di singkat menjadi “VietMinh”. VietMinh merupakan organisasi Front Persatuan Nasional. Pemimpin VietMinh atau Front Persatuan Nasional itu tidak lain adalah Nguyen Ay Quo (Ho Chi Minh) yang kini telah berada di tengah-tengah rakyat Vietnam di negerinya sendiri. 

Pada waktu itu VietMinh pimpinan Paman Ho mengadakan pengumuman kepada seluruh rakyat Vietnam, demikian: 

“Mulai hari ini, musuh pertama dari Negara leluhur kita adalah kaum Fasis Jepang !”  

Himbauan ini disambut gegap-gempita oleh seluruh rakyat dan seluruh kekuatan yang ada mulai dipersiapkan termasuk pembentukan sayap bersenjata (pasukan gerilya). 


Empat tahun lampau senjata kaum gerilya itu sangat primitive. Pedang, tombak dan senjata-senjata primitive lainnya, disamping itu ada dua pucuk pistol, tiga pucuk senapan dan sebuah pucuk senapan kuno, anggotanya juga Cuma sedikit hanya 35 orang saja. Pemimpinnya seorang pemuda, guru sekolah menengah. Namanya Bu Nguyen Chea (Dia yang nantinya akan menjadi seorang jendral besar yang terkenal dengan nama Jendral Vo Nguyen Giap yang meluluh-lantakan benteng pertahanan Perancis yang terbesar dan terakhir Dien Bhien Phu pada tahun 1954 yang menyebabkan Perancis lari lintang pukang dari Vietnam). 

Sekarang pasukan itu telah menjadi besar. Prajuritnya ada seratus ribu orang, ini belum terhitung dengan satuan-satuan gerilya yang kecil-kecil yang masih bersembunyi di berbagai tempat. Pertempuran-pertempuran terus terjadi besar atau kecil tentara boneka dan tentara jepang mulai kewalahan. Pasukan gerilya Vietminh tidak dapat dibersihkan. Bahkan sebaliknya bala tentara Dai Nippon sendiri yang banyak menderita kekalahan dimana-mana. Pemerintahan boneka Jepang tidak berdaya lagi sampai2 menarik pajak saja tidak mampu karena waktu itu kaum VietMinh telah mengeluarkan seruan sebagai berikut: 

    1. Berperang melawan Penjahat Jepang! Berperang melawan Pemerintah Boneka!
    2. Jangan diberikan sebutir beras! Jangan diberikan uang sepeserpun!
    3. Kita berjuang untuk kemerdekaan 100%


Agustus 1945 VietMinh tengah mengadakan konggres seluruh negeri tetapi konggres baru berjalan satu hari semua peserta dikejutkan oleh berita yang menggemparkan, Jepang telah menyerah dan takluk tiada bersyarat! Maka konggres segera memutuskan untuk mempersiapkan keputusan untuk mengadakan pemberontakan bersenjata di seluruh negeri dan perebutan kekuasaan di seluruh Vietnam. Setelah perlawanan di seluruh negeri dilakukan maka pada tanggal 16 Agustus Vietnam dibawah kepemimpinan Ho Chi Minh mendeklarasikan kemerdekaan (Contoh ketiga nasionalisme kaum Komunis). 


Pertengahan tahun 1942 Ir Sukarno berangkat dari Palembang kembali dari pembuangan yang dilakukan oleh pemerintah Hindia Belanda dulu ketika masih berkuasa di Indonesia  karena semenjak awal 1942 Hindia Belanda telah diduduki oleh pemerintah Dai Nippon dengan dikawal oleh sekelompok Kampetai perajurit Jepang dengan menaiki perahu motor itu dilakukan oleh pemerintah Jepang karena Sukarno Berhasil di bujuk agar mau bekerja-sama dengan pemerintah Dai Nippon dalam mendukung Perang Asia Timur Raya. 

Diwaktu yang sama disebuah pelabuhan kecil di daerah Lampung Sumatra bergerak sebuah kapal kecil yang sudah reot “Sri Renjet” nama kapal itu, dalam keadaan yang sudah sangat payah berlayarnya dan dijejali oleh penumpang yang padat yang terdiri dari kaum gembel dan pedagang kecil, diantara para penumpang itu terlihat seorang yang sudah kelihatan tua berumur kurang lebih 45 tahun yang terlihat dari raut wajahnya lebih tua dari umur yang sebenarnya. Orang tua itu terus mengamati sekelilingnya melihat orang-orang di sekitarnya tidak terasa mengalir air mata dari matanya melihat saudara sebangsa setanah airnya yang dia tinggalkan selama kurang lebih 20 tahun ternyata masih bernasib sama tetap miskin, melarat dan tetap dianggap budak oleh para penjajah. Sejenak pikirannya melayang mengingat masa lalu ketika itu dia masih berumur tidak lebih dari 25 tahun, pada saat itu dia berjalan di depan memimpin barisan seratusan anak-anak berselendang merah dengan tulisan “Rasa Merdika” melalui jalan-jalan sempit lagipula kotor dikampung-kampung kotapraja Semarang. Seraya menyanyikan lagu “Internasionale”, tujuan rombongan itu jelas, yaitu daerah pemukiman pontjol dimana sedang berlangsung pemogokan buruh pabrik mebel Andriesse. Dengan sudut matanya yang awas dan jalang para reserse polisi colonial terus mengamati setiap derap langkah defile mereka, siang hari yang terik itu tidak menjadi halangan anak-anak itu untuk menuju Openbare Vergadering (rapat umum) kaum buruh Pontjol…..defile para moerid bertjelana merah, berbaris, ber saf-saf didepan chalajak dan menjanjikan lagoe Internasionale …pertama kali diantara rakyat Indonesia. Setelah semoeanya berlaloe dengan tjepat rapih dan teratoer oleh murid sendiri beberapa penonton yang menyambut dengan ari mata yang berlinang, takjoeb! Sedih? Gembira? Kedoeanya. Sedih, karena insyaf akan nasib anaknya dan diri sendiri, sekolah dan alat serba kekoerangan. Gembira karena para moerid ini  dididik boekan menjadi golongan perkakas pendjadjahan melainkan boeat mengangkat deradjat rakyat tertindas, terhisap dan terhina ialah golongan mereka sendiri….. 

Dia terkejut karena orang-orang sekelilingnya gaduh berbicara karena di depan sana sayup-sayup terlihat ada daratan yang itu adalah daratan pulau jawa….. 

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      Pemuda adalah saripati tanah air, terutama pemuda yang progresif adalah milik kita yang paling berharga dalam perang perlawanan (Mao Tse Tung, Sepuluh Tuntutan kepada Kuomintang) 

Jakarta 15 Agustus 1945 

Menteng 31 disana terdapat rumah besar yang menjadi markas para pemuda yang bergerak dibawah tanah memperjuangkan kemerdekaan Indonesia, para pemuda disana di dominasi oleh pemikiran-pemikiran kiri atau anggota organisasi bawah tanah dari partai-partai terlarang karena berhaluan komunis (PARI-TAN MALAKA dan PKI-MUSSO). 

Pasca pemberontakan yang gagal (Premature Rebellion) tahun 1926-1927 Partai Komunis Indonesia hancur berkeping-keping sebanyak kurang lebih 13000 orang di tangkap, disembelih dan di hukum gantung para kader yang masih selamat tercerai berai tanpa adanya hubungan, pemimpin yang masih tersisa tercerai berai diluar negeri karena waktu itu kepemimpinan PKI sudah terpecah dua antara yang setuju dengan pemberontakan (Musso, Alimin, Sardjono Cs–Komunis Jawa) dengan yang tidak setuju (Tan Malaka, Djamaludin Tamim, Sugono, Subakat, Rustam Effendi Cs–Komunis Sumatra) – (Semaun & Darsono tidak bersikap) antara kedua pihak tetap mempertahankan pendapatnya dan sudah tidak dapat di damaikan lagi (ini akan terlihat ketika zaman revolusi nasional 1945-1949, bentrokan bersenjata antara dua kelompok itu tidak bisa di hindari walaupun keduanya menclaim mewakili golongan Marxis-Leninis di Indonesia dan mempunyai pendapat yang sama bahwa Republik Indonesia yang merdeka harus bersifat Sosialis dan dalam pertempuran melawan dunia Kapitalis keduanya sefaham harus berada dalam barisan Sovyet Rusia). 


Sebuah Commite Van-Actie dibentuk oleh para pemuda menteng 31 dengan susumam sebagai berikut: (Mahasiswa)  

Ketua Umum   : Sukarni (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

Wakil Ketua I : Chairul Saleh (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

Wakil Ketua II : Wikana (PKI-MUSSO)

Anggota:  Adam Malik (PARI-TAN MALAKA) 

           Pandu Kartawiguna (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

                 Maruto Nitimiharjo (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

                 Djohar Noer (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

                 Darwis (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

                 A.M Hanafi (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

                 Armunanto (PARI-TAN MALAKA) 



M.H Lukman (PKI-MUSSO)

Sjamsudin Tjan (PARI-TAN MALAKA)

Sidik Kertapati (PARI – TAN MALAKA), dll 

Pada tanggal 16 Agustus para pemuda tersebut menculik Sukarno dan Hatta ke Rengasdengklok atas alasan untuk diamankan disana para pemuda memaksa Sukarno dan Hatta untuk memproklamasikan kemerdekaan Indonesia karena pada saan itu jepang sudah kalah bertekuk lutut tanpa syarat karena di bom atom kota Hirosima (9 Agustus) dan Nagasaki (14 Agustus) oleh pesawat pembom B-52 dan pada tanggal 8 Agustus Sovyet Rusia mengumumkan perang melawan Jepang pada tanggal 10 Agustus Jepang menyerah tanpa syarat kepada pemerintah Tiongkok. 

Pada waktu itu Sukarno-Hatta masih percaya terhadap kemerdekaan yang akan diberikan oleh pemerintahan Dai Nippon yang dijanjikan ketika mereka menemui Marsekal Terauchi di Saigon (Vietnam) — Kaum Borjuis dalam situasi seperti ini tidak mampu melihat peluang yang ada karena mereka selalu mempunyai sifat ragu dan takut karena nanti dituduh boneka jepang (itulah sifat pengecut Sukarno-Hatta). Setelah berulang kali dipaksa barulah mereka berani memproklamirkan kemerdekaan Indonesia pada tanggal 17 Agustus 1945. 

Pada bulan November 1945 wakil presiden Moh.Hatta mengeluarkan Maklumat X yaitu sebuah maklumat yang mengizinkan agar bebagai aliran-aliran politik yang bermacam coraknya itu nasionalis, agama, sosialis, komunis untuk mendirikan partai-partai politik kenapa hatta yang didukung oleh perdana menteri pertama Indonsia yaitu Sutan Sjahrir mendukung dikeluarkannya maklumat X ini karena mereka menggangap bahwa ketika didalam alam demokrasi Indonesia yang merdeka ini tidak boleh mendirikan partai2 politik ini sama saja kembali ke zaman fasis Jepang. Keputusan ini sangat berbahaya karena akan mengakibatkan tumbuhnya partai-partai politik yang bermacam-macam corak aliran itu seperti tumbuhnya cendawan (jamur) di musim hujan dan pasti setiap aliran partai politik itu akan memperjuangkan kepentingannya masing-masing sesuai dengan fahamnya. Sebulan setelah dikeuarkan maklumat X itu mulai terlihat gejala yang tidak sehat karena partai-partai itu mempunyai kelompok bersenjatanya masing-masing dan apabila dikalangan partai politik itu dilanda konflik maka sayap bersenjatanya juga akan terlibat konflik ini jelas-jelas akan merugikan persatuan dalam kerangka menghadapi Imperialisme Belanda dan dikalangan pemimpin politik Indonesia (Sukarno, Hatta, Syahrir dan para pemimpin politik borjuis kecil yang lain) mulai berpikiran agar melakukan perjuangan melawan imperialisme Belanda hendaknya memakai jalan diplomasi saja agar perjuangan kemerdekaan Indonesia tidak usah berdarah-darah seperti di Vietnam, Malaya, Philipina, Tiongkok, dan lain-lain. 


Ini suatu kesaksian Sujatmoko seorang pengikut setia Sjahrir dia menceritakan bagaimana sjahrir memberitahukan kepadanya mengenai sepucuk surat dari Ho Chi Minh yang diterima Hatta melalui perantaraan Harold Isaacs, seorang pengamat terkenal mengenai soal-soal Asia dan Amerika. Ho Chi Minh mengusulkan agar kedua revolusi – diIndonesia dan di Indocina — dipandang sebagai satu dan hendaknya diupayakan untuk mengkordinasikan keduanya sampai tingkat tertentu…..Sujatmoko yang semangatnya di bangkitkan oleh visi itu secara otomatis mengira bahwa Sjahrir akan memberi respon positif terhadap persepsi ho mengenai berbagai peristiwa, menjadi sangat terkejut ketika Sjahrir berkata bahwa ia tidak akan melakukan hal itu. Bagi Sujatmoko hal itu adalah sebuah penghianatan terhadap gelombang revolusi di Asia, Sjahrir lalu membela diri dengan mengatakan bahwa Indonesia akan memenangkan revolusinya sebelum Indocina memenangkan revolusi mereka. Perancis merupakan negara yang lebih besar dan lebih kuat disbanding Belanda dan sementara nasionalisme Indonesia di pimpin oleh kaum nasionalis, nasionalisme Indocina dipimpin kaum Komunis, oleh sebab itu musuh Indonesia di Internasional akan lebih sedikit, Indonesia pasti akan lebih cepat merdeka (Ini adalah pendapat Borjuis kecil yang picik dan pengecut yang memandang rendah semangat Internasionalisme Proletariat dan pernyataan dari sifat pengecut yang takut akan berkobarnya api revolusi dan pernyataan dari orang yang tidak percaya akan kemampuan rakyatnya sendiri dalam merebut kemedekaan karena mempercayai perjuangan diplomasi untuk merebut kemedekaan)   


Melihat situasi seperti ini atas bantuan para pemuda menteng 31 seorang pejuang tua Indonesia yang selama puluhan tahun dikejar, ditangkap dan dicari oleh Negara-negara imperialis inggris, Belanda, Perancis dan Amerika, seperti kawan-kawannya yang lain yang dianggap sebagai meneer Bolshevik seperti Ho Chi Minh — Vietnam, Mr Crisanto Evangalista – Philipina, Chin Peng – Malaya yang kepalanya kalau bisa dipotong dan dipajang di muka umum inilah hukumannya kalau menjadi pengikut Lenin atau Stalin (agen Bolshevik) muncul kembali secara legal dan memakai namanya yang semula yaitu Tan Malaka karena selama berpuluh-puluh tahun menggunakan berbagai nama samaran seperti: “Ilyas Hussein – Malaya, Tan Ho sheng – Singapura, Ellias Fuentess – Philipina dll. Pada tanggal 3 januari 1946 di Purwokerto diadakanlah konggres pertama Persatuan Perjuangan (PP) yaitu sebuah Volksfront (Front Persatuan) guna menyatukan berbagai macam partai dan laskar bersenjata yang berbagai macam aliran itu, konggres tersebut dilakukan dalam situasi yang sangat gegap gempita karena dimana-mana digaris depan para pemuda dan seluruh rakyat baik itu si Marhaen, Si Murba, Si Proletariat, Si Kromo bahu membahu tanpa ada sedikitpun rasa takut akan kematian karena mereka menginginkan kemerdekaan yang selama ini yang mereka rasakan di alam penjajahan adalah ketertindasan dan kemiskinan serta dianggap sebagai budak sehingga ketika kemerdekaan yang sudah di raih ini akan kembali dikangkangi oleh penjajah Belanda maka mereka tidak peduli walaupun harus mempertaruhkan jiwanya. 


Konggres tersebut berlangsung selama 3 hari dihari terakhir Jendral Sudirman memberikan pidato dukungannya atas konggres Persatuan Perjuangan (PP) disitu ada kata-kata Jendral Besar Sudirman yang sangat terkenal “LEBIH BAIK DI BOM ATOM DARIPADA TIDAK MERDEKA 100%” 


Konggres tersebut menghasilkan 7 pasal yang menjadi paduan untuk perjuangan seluruh rakyat Indonesia dalam berjuang (Minimum Program): 

  1. Berunding atas pengakuan kemerdekaan 100%, sesudah tentara asing meninggalkan pesisir dan lautan Indonesia.
  2. Pemerintahan Rakyat
  3. Laskar Rakyat
  4. Melucuti jepang
  5. menyelenggarakan tawaanan-tawanan Serikat
  6. Mensita kebon-kebon musuh dan mengusahakan pertanian (distribusi tanah)
  7. Mensita pabrik-pabrik musuh dan mengusahakan perindustrian




Ketika itu situasi politik mencekam karena ada 2 kepemimpinan satu ditangan pemerintahan Borjuis-Feodal (Sukarno-Hatta) dengan Perdana Menteri Sutan Sjahrir (Sosialis Kanan – Sosial Demokrat) dan Persatuan Perjuangan (Tan Malaka, Moh Yamin, Iwa Kusumasumantri, Sukarni, Chairul Saleh, Dr Buntaran Martoatmojo – PSII ,adik HOS Cakroaminoto, Wali Alfatah, Dr Sukiman dan SM Kartosuwirjo – Masjumi) dari golongan pemerintah dalam perjuangan melawan Belanda menggunakan strategi diplomasi sedangkan dari pihak Persatuan Perjuangan (PP) dalam melawan Belanda menggunakan strategi Perjuangan Bersenjata dan tetap menolak setiap usaha perjuangan diplomasi yang tidak didasarkan atas Kemerdekaan 100%, karena pertentangan ini kabinet sjahrir jatuh tetapi PP tidak dapat mengajukan calon alternative karena pada saat itu sukarno-Hatta tetap menginginkan perjuangan diplomasi, cabinet kedua sjahrir terbentuk,tetapi karena PP masih tetap keras dalam mempertahankan prinsipnya maka pemerintah mulai menggunakan kekerasan seluruh pimpinan PP di tangkap tanpa pernah diajukan ke pengadilan selama dua setengah tahun, maka sirnalah perjuangan mempertahankan kemerdekaan Indonesia dengan jalan perjuangan bersenjata sebagai hal primer dan diplomasi sebagai hal yang sekunder.  

Pendapat Tan Malaka mengenai peristiwa ini: 

“Selama dua setengah bulan Persatua Perjuangan berdiri, maka persatuan yang berdasarkan perjuangan itu dikenalkan pada seluruh rakyat dari Sultan-sultan sampai ke kaum gembel. Anti Imperialist Front ini mengambil rakyat sebulat-bulatnya, sepenuh-penuhnya buat mempertahankan republic 100%. Sebagai langkah pertama siasat ini mesti diambil, siasat semacam itu dicocokkan dengan keadaan Indonesia dan dengan sejarah revolusi dimana-mana didunia. Pertarungan dua setengah bulan itu sudah memberi ujian kepada semua lapisan tadi. Ternyata sudah setelah penangkapan Madiun terjadi ujian tadi sudah membawa pembelaan kemerdekaan Indonesia ketingkat kedua. Kaum Borjuis tengah dan atas ialah sebagian kaum saudagar, Pamong Praja dan Intelektual sudah melempem dan berbalik muka. Mereka tidak tahan menjalankan ujian itu dan asyik memikirkan bagaimana menghentikan perjuangan ini dan kembali menduduki kursi di sudut-sudut kantor yang di Tuan-Besari oleh Belanda. Sikap melempem di tengah revolusi itu bukanlah monopolinya kaum tengah Indonesia saja. Memang itu sifatnya kaum tengah, ialah maju mundur, lebih banyak mundur daripada maju kalau terlampau berat lekas mundur dan memilih pihak yang kiranya akan menang, Borjuis tengah Indonesia, seperti saudagar tengah, Pamong Praja dan Intelektual memang tidak bisa konsekuen baik dalam revolusi nasional dan revolusi social. 

Sifat memilih dan membidik siapa yang kuat dan akan menang dalam pergaulan itu memangnya terbawa oleh susunan ekonomi dan social Indonesia. Kaum tengah Indonesia tidak mempunyai tempat bersandar baik dalam ekonomi maupun dalam politik. Saudagar tengah Indonesia tidak kenal dengan kaum IMPORTIR sendiri, PABRIKAN Indonesia sendiri ataupun BANKIR sendiri, mereka bersandar pada Importir asing, Pabrikan asing dan Bankir asing. Demikian pula Pamong Praja dan reservenya, ialah kaum kaum Intelektual bersandar pula dengan Imperialism asing. Tidak ada parlemen atau pemerintahan nasional yang bisa dijadikan tujuan dalam usaha mereka mencari pangkal. Imperialisme Belanda dalam penjajahan 350 tahun itu, jaya menghasilkan satu golongan Pamong Praja dan reservenya, golongan intelektual kantoran yang mempunyai semangat ingin memasuki kantor dibawah perintah Tuan Belanda, “semangat Inlander–budak”. Semangat Inlander iniamat tebal dan tidak gampang di ombang-ambingkan oleh semangat revolusioner. Kalau Tuan Belanda hilang seperti pada waktu penyerahan Belanda tanggal 8  maret 1942, maka “para inlander” merasa berbahagia mendapatkan “Tuan Baru” dan memmpelajari “jongkok baru”, ialah jongkok ala Nippon. Apabila rakyat memproklamirkan kemederdekaan tanggal 17 agustus 1945, maka “para inlander” dengan setengah percaya dan setengah tidak percaya memasuki kantor republic. Tetapi apabila “Tuan lama”datang, maka gelisah lagi. Sekarang dengan memuncaknya perjuangan, maka sudah banyak para inlander tadi yang mengenal kembali “his masters-voice” itu. Mereka kembali bersedia menerima tuan lama untuk keperluan tua lama itu kalau perlu menentang kemauan bangsa sendiri. 

Kini mereka para inlander menunggu saat bilama mereka dengan aman bisa melompat-lompat kembali sambil berteriak-teriak “Tuan Besar sudah kembali”, sifat kaum tengah memang selalu bingung selalu bolak-balik diatas Borjuis besar dan proletar nasional. Akhirnya di tengah-tengah kesukaran perjuangan mereka membelok kepada yang kiranya menang. Di Indonesia Kapital dan Borjuis yang kuat kukuh itu terdiri dari bangsa asing. Mungkin pada permulaan perjuangan para inlanders memihak pada rakyat murba tetapi kalau perjuangan itu sedikit lama dan tampaknya sukar, maka mereka akan mengabdi kepada Kapital dan Borjuis asing manapun juga. Dalam dua setengah bulan PP itu berdiri, aliran “para inlanders” terasa benar. Makin keras desakan sekutu Inggris-Belanda dengan “moderatnya”, makin keras pula semangat para inladers dalam Persatuan Perjuangan membatalkan MINIMUM PROGRAM yang memang revolusioner sama sekali atau mensabot membelokkan melemahkan artinya. Sesudah tangkapan madiun proses ini berlaku lebih cepat dan nyata lagi. Tetapi dengan melemahkan, membelokkan bahkan seandainya membatalkan sama sekali tidak berarti bahwa rakyat Indonesia dengan pemudanya akan bisa dibelokkan, dilemahkan ataupun dipatahkan semangatnya dalam membela kemerdekaan 100% dan menolak Kapitalisme asing. 

Mungkin nama Persatuan Perjuangan atau Minimum Program akan dijadikan barang “bisikan” bahkan mungkin bisa ditutup sama sekali tetapi selama rakyat dan pemudanya terus mempertempurkan kemerdekaan 100% dan menolak Kapitalis asing maka selama itulah pula Persatuan Perjuangan yang berarti Persatuan dari mereka yang Berjuang serta Minimum Programnya akan berlaku. 

Nama kumpulan atau program baru mungkin bisa menipu rakyat dan pemudanya sebagian atau seluruhnya untuk sementara waktu tetapi tidak untuk selama-lamanya. 

Semenjak tangkapan madiun dengan radio Hilversumnya nyatalah sudah bahwa Persatuan Perjuangan dan Minimum Program sudah meningkat ke periode (musim) kedua dalam perjuangan Anti Imperialis dan Revolusi Nasional ini. Dalam periode kedua ini kaum setengah kesana dan setengah ke sini, setengah revolusioner dan setengah kompromi itu mesti disingkirkan sama sekali. Karena mereka sudah nyata, dan memegang terus mereka itu berarti melemahkan barisan perjuangan. Persatuan Perjuangan bukanlah berarti kumpulan kaum revolusioner, atau kaum kompromis yang siap dengan 1001 perkataan untuk menyelimuti politik komprominya. Sesudah tangkapan madiun maka perjuangan revolusioner Indonesia mesti dikembalikan ketangan mereka yang tegas-tegas mengakui kemerdekaan 100% menolak segala macam perundingan yang tidak berdasarkan pengakuan 100% itu dan tegas, terang menolak kapitalisme asing dengan siasat mensita perusahaan musuh. Pembersihan mesti dilakukan.

Dan didalam masa pembersihan itu mesti dilakukan dengan cepat dan kalau perlu dengan deras tangkas kalau tidak maka kaum kompromi akan akan jaya melembekkan semangat perjuangan, membelokkan atau mematahkan perjuangan itu sama sekali dan mengembalikan Indonesia ke status Penjajahan atau tidak dengan nama “Republic”. 

Setengah kaum tengah bagian atas yang dipelopori oleh “ahli” politik dan “ahli” diplomasi serta para Pamong Praja dan kaum Intelektual sudah terjerumus atau sengaja menerjunkan dirinya ketengah-tengah barisa NICA. Kaum pembelok, yang sudah menjalankan rolnya dengan terbuka, setengah tertutup atau sama sekali bersembunyi itu mesti di isolir, dipisahkan atau sama sekali diberantas dari perjuangan revolusioner. Persatuan Perjuangan revolusioner mesti terdiri dari kaum dan golongan revolusioner saja. Dalam periode kedua ini, sesudah ujian selama dua setengah bulan ini, maka golongan yang tetap revolusioner ialah:  

    Pertama. Golongan Proletar Industri, yakni: Buruh pabrik, bengkel, tambang, pengangkutan, listrik, percetakan dll.  

    Kedua.      Proletar tani, ialah burh kebun bersama dengan kaum tani biasa, kaum tani menengah sampai ketani sederhana (kerja dan cukup untuk keluarga sendiri saja) terus kesetengah tani dan setengah buruh tani. 

    Ketiga.    Kaum Marhaen ialah pedagang kecil, warga kecil seperti juru tulis, guru, intelektual miskin dikota-kota. 

Semua ketiga golongan ini menghendaki sungguh lenyapnya Imperialisme asing dan berdirinya terus Republik Indonesia dan banyak sekali memberikan pengorbanan harta dan jiwa dalam semua garis pertempuran. Ketiga golongan yang masih revolusioner dalam periode kedua di masa Revolusi Nasional ini lebih kurang terikat oleh tiga aliran pula, yakni aliran keIslaman, Kebangsaan dan ke-Proletaran (Sosialisme, Komunisme dan Anarcho-Syndikalis). Ketiga aliran ini terus menerus mempengaruhi pergerakan anti Imperialis di Indonesia selama lebih 40 tahu belakangan ini. Dalam periode kedua inipun ketiga aliran itu tiadalah bisa diabaikan………………………….Untuk periode kedua ini cukuplah sudah Minimum Programnya Persatuan Perjuangan yang kalau dirasa perlu bisa ditambah disana dan disini, dengan tiada mengurangi semangatnya yang revolusioner. Setelah Kemerdekaan 100% tercapai maka akan berlakulah Maximum Program yang maksudnya menuju Indonesia yang berdasarkan SOSIALISME……………bersandarkan kekuatan diri dan mengingat keadaan di sekitar Indonesia. Pertama sekali amat tidak bijaksana mengumumkan Maximum Program pada musim Revolusi Nasional Demokrasi ini………..(THESIS, 1946)               

Setelah itu mulailah musim runtuh berjuang karena pada saat itu setiap ada gerakan rakyat yang menginginkan mengadakan perjuangan bersenjata dengan pihak belanda pasti akan dikejar-kejar oleh tentara atau laskar yang berpihak kepada pemerintah, sebagai contoh hasil keputusan perjanjian linggarjati maka wilayah kerawang-bekasi-cikampek harus dikosongkan pasukan Republik harus mundur, padahal selama kurang lebih dua setengah tahun para laskar dari Laskar Rakyat Djakarta Raya pimpinan Sukarni, Wikana, Armunanto, berhasil mempertahankan daerah itu dan selalu membuat kocar-kacir pasukan belanda dan diwaktu malam hari mereka selalu menyusup ke Jakarta untuk membuat sabotase terhadap wilayah Belanda karena para laskar gerilyaitu tidak mau patuh kepada perintah pengosongan maka mereka bertempur sendiri dengan pasukan TNI sehingga banyak yang gugur dan pertahanan gerilya pecah dan begitu juga di jawa barat pertahanan Laskar Rakyat Djawa Barat pimpinan Chaerul saleh dan Laskar Bambu Runtjing Sidik Kertapati yang bersama-sama front Hizbullah pimpinan SM Kartosuwiryo pertahanannya hancur bukan karena diserang Belanda tetapi di serang TNI dan Laskar yang pro pemerintah yang mendukung perjanjian Linggarjati, di Jawa Tengah terjadi peristiwa tiga daerah (Brebes, Tegal dan Pekalongan) rakyat dipimpin oleh kader PKI bawah tanah pimpinan Widarta melakukan revolusi social menggulingkan kekuasaan para birokrat mereka menganggap bahwa para birokrat itu adalah agen jepang dan belanda karena sikap mereka yang menindas rakyat di masa lalu tetapi gerakan ini lagi-lagi digagalkan dan seluruh pimpinannya di tangkap termasuk juga Widarta dan ketika itu kelompok Widarta juga menolak perjanjian Linggarjati oleh pimpinan PKI pada saat itu Widarta dianggap sudah menjadi bagian kelompok Tan Malaka lalu keputusan Partai diambil untuk mengeksekusi mati Widarta karena dianggap tidak taat dengan keputusan partai yang mendukung perjanjian Linggarjati (Kelompok PKI Widarta ini adalah kelompok yang paling konsisten dan gigih menetang Jepang sewaktu pimpinan PKI illegal Amir syarifudin cs ditangkap Jepang maka kepemimpinan diteruskan oleh kelompok Widarta ini — Sikap ini nantinya akan dikecam oleh Musso sekembalinya dia dari Moscow karena menurut Musso sikap yang diambil oleh Widarta adalah tepat, menurut Musso bahwa Partai Komunis tidak boleh membunuh kadernya tetapi sangsi maximal yang bisa dikenakan oleh setiap kader partai Komunis adalah di royerr/pecat dan mengecam pimpinan-pimpinan PKI yang pada saat itu mendukung perjanjian Linggarjati dan Perjanjian Renville). Walaupun para pemimpin Persatuan Perjuangan (PP) berada di dalam penjara tetapi para pengikut Tan Malaka atau Partai politik yang terus memakai program Persatuan Perjuangan atau dipengaruhi oleh ide-ide Tan Malaka seperti Partai Rakyat, Partai Rakyat Djelata, Partai Buruh Merdeka, Barisan Banteng, ACOMA, Laskar rakyat Djawa Barat, Partai Wanita Rakyat (semua bergabung dalam Gerakan Rakyat Revolusioner – GRR) terus tetap mengkampanyekan program PP yang masih relevan dan menolak setiap usaha perjuangan diplomasi yang tidak berprinsip yang tidak berdasarkan atas Kemerdekaan 100% dan menolak segala macam bentuk perjanjian seperti Linggarjati dan Renville dan terus melakukan oposisi kepada pemerintah.  

Ketika awal-awal perang kemerdekaan kenapa Tan Malaka mendorong perjuangan kemerdekan Indonesia dengan menggunakan perjuangan bersenjata karena dia melihat modal yang dimiliki oleh kekuatan republic sangat besar ada Vacum of power (kekuasaan yang kosong karena Jepang kalah tetapi sekutu sebagai pemenang perang di pacific belum datang ke Indonesia dan dia melihat semangat para pemuda khususnya dan rakyat Indonesia umumnya semangat anti imperialismenya tinggi sampai-sampai rela menyerahkan jiwa dan raganya untuk membela tanah air, seharus peluang ini dilihat sebagai modal awal untuk mempertahankan republic (lihat yang dilakukan Ho Chi minh di Vietnam ketika terdengar Jepang sudah bertekuk lutut) ini yang harusnya dilakukan ketika itu belum apa-apa para pemimpin di republic ini Sukarno-Hatta-Sjahrir sudah ketakutan setengah mati melihat kedatangan sekutu ke Indonesia mereka harusnya melihat bagaimana semangat rakyat Surabaya yang tidak takut mati dibawah pimpinan Sumarsono (kader PKI-MUSSO) dan Haryo Ketjik (PARI-TAN MALAKA) walaupun dengan senjata yang serba kekurangan siang dan malam dibawah hujan bom dari pesawat inggris terus melakukan perlawanan sehingga membuat pasukan inggris yang tinggal 30.000 orang itu terdesak sudah di pinggir laut pihak angkatan laut inggris tidak dapat terus membomb daratan karena takut kalau terkena pasukannya sendiri ketika itu para pejuang sudah dalam tahap perang penumpasan terhadap pasukan inggris dan seketikan itu datang para pemimpin dari Jakarta seperti Sukarno-Hatta-Sjahrir dan dengan serta merta menghentikan pertempuran dan memerintahkan kepada semua rakyat untuk mundur kesempatan ini tidak disia-siakan oleh pihak inggris untuk mendrop logistic dan mengganti pasukan yang sudah morat-marit dengan pasukan yang baru yang lebih segar dengan persenjataan yang lebih lengkap sehingga perlawanan rakyat di Surabaya dapat dipukul mundur dan rakyat mundur ke pedalaman. Sampai di sini kita melihat dimana antara kemauan Pimpinan dengan kemauan rakyat yang sudah terbakar api revolusioner berbeda pimpinan politik pada saat itu didominasi oleh kekuatan Borjuis kecil yang mereka di dalam hati kecilnya takut melihat semangat gegap gempita rakyat revolusioner, disini kita melihat kekerdilan jiwa para pemimpin itu. 

Februari 1948 Perdana menteri Amir Syarifuddin (anggota PKI bawah Tanah) menandatangani perjanjian Renville, dengan mendapat dukungan dari sayap kiri “FDR”, PNI dan Masyumi dan setelah menandatangani perjanjian itu sebulan setelah itu Masyumi menolak perjanjian itu dan mengadakan demonstrasi yang didukung oleh front Hizbullah, GPI dan semua ormas-ormasnya yang hanya beratus-ratus orang itu untuk menuntut Perdana menteri Amir Syarifudin untuk mundur lalu cabinet goyang dan PM Amir mengembalikan kekuasaannya pada presiden Sukarno. Lalu sukarno menunjuk PM baru yaitu Moh.Hatta yang didukung oleh masjumi dan bekas PM sjahrir yang sudah pecah koalisinya dengan Amir sjarifudin lalu Amir dengan FDRnya menuntut jabatan Menteri Pertahanan kembali kepada Moh. Hatta lalu oleh Hatta di tolak Amir dengan FDRnya melakukan oposisi terhadap pemerintah lalu pihak FDR menggerakkan pemogokan Delanggu mulai terjadi konflik di massa rakyat mulai terjadi bentrokan antara Pesindo dengan Front Hizbullah, Sabupri dengan STII 

September 1948 Musso kembali ke Indonesia setelah banyak berbicara dengan berbagai kelompok seperti bertemu dengan presiden Sukarno lalu di menemui para pemimpin PKI seperti Alimin, Amir sjarifudin, Sarjono, Setiadjit, Abdul Madjid setelah melihat jalan revolusi Indonesia selama tiga tahun ini setelah menilai jalan yang di tempuh oleh PKI selama ini lalu Musso mengusulkan supaya diadakan fusi tiga partai yang berazaskan Marxis-Leninis yaitu Partai Sosialis, PBI dan PKI semua dilebur menjadi PKI yang berazaskan Marxis-Leninis karena dengan adanya tiga partai yang berazaskan sama akan membingungkan golongan Proletariat di Indonesia kata Musso dan Musso juga mengkritik sikap PKI yang mendukung Perjanjian Linggarjati dan Perjanjian Renville dan harus membatalkan dan menolak perjanjian itu karena dengan adanya perjanjian itu sama saja dengan mendukung penjajahan di Indonesia. PKI Musso menolak perundingan dengan Belanda yang tidak di dasarkan atas hak yang sama. Kaum Komunis secara Prinsipiil tidak menolak perundingan akan tetapi harus didasarkan atas hak yang sungguh-sungguh sama. Dalam perundingan sekali-kali tidak boleh disinggung soal kedaulatan republic atas seluruh Indonesia (Musso — Djalan Baru). 

Musso dan Seluruh pimpinan PKI melakukan vergadering2 untuk mensosialisasikan program baru PKI yaitu Program Djalan Baru berkeliling didaerah-daerah Jawa Tengah dan Jawa Timur yang masih menjadi wilayah kekuasaan republic. 

Tetapi konflik antara partai-partai politik sudah tidak bisa dihindari lagi  bermula dari peristiwa penembekan Kolonel Sutarto panglima divisi Panembahan Senopati yang menguasai daerah Surakarta yang bersimpati kepada FDR, terjadi tembak menembak antara Pesindo dengan laskar Front Hizbullah dan pasukan Siliwangi yang baru datang dari Jawa Barat karena harus mengosongkan daerah kantung gerilya akibat ditandatanganinya perjanjian Ranville,  mulai terjadi beberapa peristiwa penculikan dari berbagai kelompok seperti di culiknya Dr Muwardi ketua Barisan Banteng dan Sekjend GRR organisasi yang bersimpati kepada Tan Malaka lalu kelompok ini menuduh bahwa ini dilakukan oleh anak2 Pesindo lalu anggota Barisan Banteng yang waktu itu laskar terkuat didaerah Surakarta dengan kekuatan bersenjatanya kurang lebih 12.000 orang mengamuk dan mengacak-acak markas Pesindo dan PKI di Surakarta lalu bentrokan besar akhirnya tidak dapat dihindari antara Pesindo dan divisi Panembahan Senopati dan Front Hizbullah, TNI dari divisi Siliwangi dan Barisan Banteng, pertahanan Pesindo dan Panembahan Senopati hancur sisa-sisa pasukannya lari menuju Madiun, komandan Pesindo pada waktu itu Soemarsono mendengar peristiwa di Surakarta itu lalu dia berinisiatif melucuti semua pasukan-pasukan gelap, Polisi dan CPM dan Sumarsono mulai teriak-teriak orasi di radio bahwa telah terjadi tembak menembak di Madiun pasukan dari Surakarta telah sampai di madiun ,ketika itu Musso, Amir cs mendengar peristiwa itu lalu langsung menuju Madiun ketika Musso sampai di Madiun sudah terjadi tembak menembak kurang lebih 2 jam. 

20 september 1948 sukarno berpidato di radio menyatakan bahwa PKI-Musso telah berontak dan rakyat disuruh memilih ikut Sukarno-Hatta atau Musso dengan PKI. Tidak lama kemudia Musso juga berpidato di radio menuduh bahwa Sukarno-Hatta adalah pemerintah Borjuis-Feodal dan kolaborator boneka buatan Jepang yang telah menjual rakyat Indonesia menjadi Romusha budak Jepang. 

Bemtrokan besar sudah tidak bisa dihindari sebetulnya dari komposisi pasukan golongan FDR di Madiun memiliki pasukan lebih besar dari tentaranya Sukarno-Hatta tetapi mungkin karena penguasaan territorial yang kurang dan persiapannya basisnya kurang matang maka pasukan FDR kocar-kacir digulung pasukan Sukarno-Hatta sebagaian besar tertangkap, mati dan ada yang berusaha terus lari kearah djawa timur masuk kedaerah pendudukan Belanda, Musso sendiri tewas dan para pemimpin lainnya tertangkap seperti Amir syarifudin, Maruto Darusman, Supeno, dll. 

Bung Karno pernah berjanji kepada Jendral Sudirman bahwa apabila belanda mengadakan agressi militer kembali untuk menguasai republic maka dia dan semua pemimpin akan masuk kehutan ke pedalaman republic untuk memimpin perang gerilya melawan belanda sampai titik darah penghabisan tetapi apa yang terjadi pada tanggal 19 december 1948 belanda mengadakan aggressi militer yang kedua kali ibu kota jogyakarta di serang para pemimpin partai-partai politik di tangkap pada saat-saat terakhir Jendral sudirman menemui sukarno di kediamannya untuk membawa sukarno masuk ke hutan bersama-sama pasukannya untuk mengadakan perang perlawanan gerilya namun ketika itu apa jawaban sukarno: “Saya dan semua pemimpin partai politik dan pemerintahan akan menyerahkan diri tentara dan para laskar terus saja melakukan perang perlawanan kami akan melakukan perjuangan diplomasi” disitu jendral sudirman diam tertegun karena dia merasa dibohongi akan janjinya sukarno dahulu, lalu dia beserta pasukannya menyingkir keluar kota Jogya untuk melakukan perang perlawanan. (Watak opportunis Borjuasi disini terlihat tidak menepati janjinya yang akan berdiri sama tinggi dan duduk sama rendah dengan para pasukan gerilya dalam mempertahankan kemerdekaan tidak sanggup hidup kelaparan di dalam hutan, tidur beralaskan tanah dan ini nanti akan terbukti ketika zaman merdeka/demokrasi terpimpin bahwa sukarno hanya revolusioner di mulut tetapi nol di dalam tindakan ketika menghadapi bawahannya suharto yang membangkang pasca peristiwa 1 oktober 1965 sukarno terlihat gamang serba ragu dan ketika itu pada bulan januari 1966 Ruslan abdul gani mengajak bung karno untuk mundur ke jawa timur karena disana aman karena masih banyak pengikutnya yang setia terutama angkatan laut karena Ruslan melihat bahwa suharto dan angkatan darat sudah kurang ajar tetapi apa yang dikatakan oleh Sukarno: “Saya tidak ingin melihat bangsa Indonesia terpecah belah imperialisme Amerika sudah terpojok di Indocina ketika melihat ada peluang untuk mengintervensi Indonesia pasti itu akan dilakukannya bangsa ini pasti akan hancur, biarlah saya saja yang menjadi korban” lihat omongan seorang yang sudah menyerah padahal belum bertempur tapi lihat apa akibatnya, jutaan orang mati rakyat Indonesia sengsara sampai sekarang di bawah tindasan system kapitalisme, itu katanya pemimpin besar revolusi penyambung lidah rakyat tetapi ketika situasi revolusioner memuncak malah pemimpin-pemimpin besar layaknya Tan Malaka dan Musso dikhianati lalu dihabisi). 

Sekeluarnya Tan Malaka dan kawan-kawan dari penjara dia sempat ditanyai pendapatnya soal kejadian Madiun jawabnya adalah, soal Musso adalah soal Sukarno dan Hatta kalau kami diminta bantuan maka kami akan menolaknya tetapi tugas mendesak yang harus kami lakukan adalah menyusun sisa sisa kekuatan yang kami miliki baik itu senjata, tentara, laskar semua apapun yang dapat dipakai untuk menghadapi serangan imperialis belanda dan jika itu yang diminta kami akan kerahkan apa saja yang kami miliki sambil terus berusaha mengumpulkan semua kelompok yang masih mau berjuang mempertahankan kemerdekaan Indonesia yang 100%. Pada tanggal 7 November 1948 Tan Malaka masih sempat mendorong pendirian partai yang merupakan fusi dari berbagai partai dan laskar yaitu Partai Murba (beliau masih terinspirasi dengan kemenangan revolusi Rusia tanggal 7 November 1917) lalu meneruskan kembali perjuangan masuk kedaerah gerilya bersama para laskar untuk mempertahankan kemerdekaan Indonesia. Awal februari 1949 di daerah kediri dia masih melakukan berbagai propaganda baik diantara para laskar gerilya maupun di radio yang terkenal dengan siaran Murba terpendam, siaran terakhirnya kurang lebih isinya sebagai berikut:  

“Dimana Sukarno-Hatta? Tinggal di rumah yang indah, dengan makanannya yang mewah. Sambil menerima tamu dari Belanda, ketika kami gerilyawan menderita kelaparan di gunung-gunung. Sukarno dan Hatta semakin jauh. Mereka tidak akan pernah kembali lagi………lihat situasi di sekitar kita dengan bantuan politik kompromi Hatta, Belanda menyerang kita. Lihat persenjataan yang digunakan oleh Belanda. Belanda Negara miskin. Dari mana mereka mendapatkan senjata semacam itu? Itu semua dari Amerika. Panser-panser, pesawat-pesawat, jep-jep semua buatan Amerika…… 

Atas perintah Jendral Gatot Subroto panglima komando jawa memerintahkan untuk melucuti semua satuan laskar yang menentang pemerintah Borjuis-Feodal Sukarno-Hatta, semua satuan gerilya yang mendukung Tan Malaka dilucuti dan dia sendiri ditangkap dan dibunuh oleh TNI akhir bulan februari 1949 pada waktu semua pejuang gerilya baik itu dari gerilyawan Murba, Hizbullah, PSII, FDR semua bahu-membahu mempertahankan Republik Indonesia Merdeka dari serangan Imperialis Belanda. 


Ditengah-tengah Masyarakat Rakyat Murba

Ikut serta bekerja di sawah, kebon, pabrik dan tambang

Diwaktu tiada berlatih atau berjuang !

Berlaku sebagai guru kepada murid

Dan sebagai juru rawat kepada yang sakit


Tetapi sekonyong-konyong laksana Kilat-Halilintar


Mengejar halaukan musuh yang tersebar kesasar!


Langit atap-rumahnya, rumput kasurnya

mortir, mitraliyur karabin bantalnya

Atau dengan granat dan bamboo runtjing

Dalam panas dan hudjan dia berbaring…………….


Semua musuh hantjur atau terpelanting !!!

Kembali dia ketengah Masyarakat Rakjat Murba

Sebagai Sang Gerilya !

Putera dan puteri, Tua dan Muda

Sampai Indonesia Merdeka ! 

(Apakah Putra dan Putri Indonesia yang mempertahankan kemerdekaannya dari Penjajahan Kaum Modal Belanda itu bukan seorang nasionalis, yang rela sampai-sampai mempertaruhkan segala harta dan jiwa raganya…???) 



Book: The Indonesian Story (C. Wolf, 1948)








The Birth, Growth and 

Structure of the 

Indonesian Republic 






Issued under the auspices of the 

American Institute of Pacific Relations 






All rights reserved 


Copyright* 1948, by the International Secretariat 

Institute of Pacific Relations 


1 East 54th Street 

Nezv York 22, 2V. Y. 











T. W. 








It is not surprising that the islands of the 


Indies have more than once been referred to as the cultural “melting 

pot of Asia.” The founding of the Hindu kingdom of Taruma in 

Western Java brought the rich heritage of ancient India to Indonesia 

over 1200 years ago. Later, pilgrims from India introduced Gau- 

tama’s teachings to the islands, and in the 8th and 9th centuries 

Buddhism reached its apogee with the hegemony of the Sumatran 

Empire of Shrivijaya. The remarkable Borobodur, with its countless 

carved stone figures of the Buddha, still stands in Middle Java as a 

monument to Buddhist art. 


In the 14th century the Madjapahit Empire, extending from 

New Guinea in the East to Sumatra in the West, brought about 

a fusion of the Brahman-Buddhist strains in Indonesian culture. 

Madjapahit later fell before the crusading vigor of Islam. By the end 

of the 15th century Mohammedanism had been accepted in all of 

Java and thence it spread to other parts of the archipelago. The 

acceptance of Islam was in many cases merely nominal. To this day 

Hindu influence remains in Indonesia as a sort of subtle pantheism, 

combined with a naturalist paganism in the more remote parts of the 

islands. In Bali and several of the remoter parts of Indonesia, Islam 

has never been adopted. There the Brahman-Buddhist-naturalist 

traditions have endured to the present day, still basically unchanged. 


Western penetration into Indonesia began in the 16th century 

with the arrival of the Portuguese, who were ousted in 1595 by the 

Dutch. Gradually bringing the outer islands under formal control, 

the Dutch erected a colonial structure which was to last until World 

War II. But as the Dutch colonial structure matured, Indonesian 

nationalism evolved. The nationalist movement gathered increasing 

momentum after the turn of the century. When the Japanese occu- 

pied the islands at the start of 1942, it grew at an accelerated pace 

and with Japan’s surrender, the nationalists prepared for what they 

hoped would be a new era in Indonesia’s history. On August 17, 








1945, the Republic of Indonesia proclaimed its independence. This 

is where the present book begins. 


For the people of Indonesia, the surrender of the Japanese to the 

Allies meant the beginning rather than the end of war; or more pre- 

cisely, it meant the beginning of their war and the end of a foreign 

war. They had been affected by World War II. It had been waged 

partly on their lands and seas. They had suffered during four years 

under a Japanese misrule harsher than anything they had expe- 

rienced during three hundred and fifty years of Dutch colonialism. 

But in Indonesia, and the other areas of Southeast Asia, the people 

had never really become a party to or partisans of the war. There 

were small pro-Ally resistance groups in Indonesia, and a few ardent 

Japanese supporters as well. But in general, World War II remained 

for the people of Indonesia a struggle among alien forces. 


During the Japanese occupation, the seeds of Indonesian national- 

ism burgeoned. To some degree this was the result of Japanese 

propaganda. To a larger degree it was independent of Japanese in- 

fluence and quite often a reaction against it. Starting from the as- 

sumption that the Japanese overlord was only a temporary master, 

the intellectual leaders of the nationalist movement in Indonesia 

began to prepare for their real problem: resistance to a post-war 

restoration of colonialism. Taking advantage of the opportunity, 

they began the task of organizing and mobilizing the ignorant masses 

of the population in preparation for the future. They collaborated 

with the Japanese to secure these ends. They also supported the 

Japanese propaganda of “Greater East Asia” and “Asia for the Asi- 

atics” largely because it was a useful and practical tool. The Japa- 

nese gave the people of Indonesia sufficient grievances against them 

to make antipathy against the Japanese keener there, two and a half 

years after the occupation, than it is today in the United States. Yet 

the nationalist leaders were in many cases willing to collaborate be- 

cause of the ends they had in view. Much had been done toward the 

achievement of these ends when the Japanese capitulated, and the 

struggle for a new Indonesia began. 


This was the position in Indonesia when the British prepared to 

re-occupy the islands in September 1945. Much of the background 

is feeling and impression psychological and emotionalwhich per- 

meated almost all of Southeast Asia at the time of re-occupation. 

The forces of the past and of the future met and began to be 

resolved, as opposing political and sociological forces usually are, 

partly by statesmanship and partly by military pressure. This book 






deals with the meeting and resolution of these forces. More partic- 

ularly, it deals with the political and economic struggle which has 

been going on in Indonesia since 1945 and with the young Repub- 

lic’s record during this turbulent period. Notwithstanding the ex- 

tremely fluid situation prevailing at the time of writing, an attempt 

has been made to analyze the Republic’s longer-range prospects, and 

to suggest their implications. 


Many of the issues discussed are highly controversial. Both the 

Indonesian and Dutch viewpoints are held strongly, if not violently, 

by their adherents. A sincere effort has been made to be objective 

in the analysis; that is, to present each side of the controversy in its 

own terms and from its own point of view. Where comparison and 

evaluation are undertaken, I have tried to be fair. It is, however, not 

always easy or valid to subsume the irrational components of revolu- 

tion under the rational. Nevertheless, on both sides of the dispute, 

material which was felt to contribute heat rather than light has been 

left out. Where value judgments have been made/ 1 think they will 

stand out clearly as such to the reader. Reactions and comments 

elicited by the manuscript prior to printing have indicated that the 

above efforts will not prove fully satisfactory to either Dutch or 

Indonesian partisans. That is probably unavoidable. 


It should be noted that the scope of the present work is necessarily 

limited. No attempt has been made to deal with cultural develop- 

ments in modern Indonesia. Only brief reference has been made to 

the complicated problem of Chinese and Eurasian minority groups. 

Nor is the presentation of Republican economics as complete or 

analytical as would be warranted in a work of more exhaustive scope. 

Finally, limitations of time and space have made it impossible to dis- 

cuss fully certain aspects of events in Indonesia which are of partic- 

ular interest to the student of international law, e.g. the issues con- 

nected with de facto and de jure sovereignty, recognition, etc. 


Attention is called to the seeming anomaly that in Chapter VIII 

and in earlier chapters, Dr. Hatta is referred to as the Republic’s 

vice-president, whereas in Chapter IX an account is given of the 

cabinet crisis of January 23, 1948, which led to Hatta’s designation 

as Prime Minister and cabinet formateur. The inconsistency was 

due to a substantial rewriting of Chapter IX after the earlier chap- 

ters were already in print. Since completion of the manuscript, the 

Security Council’s Committee of Good Offices has received official 

commendation from the Council for its work in bringing about the 

Renville truce agreement and the political principles of January 17, 






1 948. With the major part of its work still lying ahead, the Commit- 

tee has returned from Lake Success to Indonesia to launch the second 

phase of its task: implementation of the truce and assistance to the 

parties in framing a final political settlement. After several incidents 

in mid-April, which threatened to nullify the Committee’s earlier 

work, negotiations between the parties, under the Committee’s aus- 

pices, appear ready to begin anew. Decisive results remain to be 



Much of the material used was derived from personal observation 

and experience in Indonesia during the period February 1946 to 

June 1947, when the author was a vice-consul in Batavia. For docu- 

mentary material which has been made use of, I am indebted to Dr. 

N. A. C. Slotemaker de Bruine of the Netherlands Embassy in Wash- 

ington, Dr. H. J. Friedericy and Dr. B. Landheer of the Netherlands 

Information Bureau in New York, and the Messrs. Charles Thamboe, 

Soedjatmoko Mangoendiningrat and Soedarpo Sastrosatomo of the 

Republican Ministry of Information. The manuscript was read by 

Miss Virginia Thompson, Professor Raymond Kennedy, Mr. Richard 

AdlofE, and Mr. Bruno Lasker, whose comments have been of con- 

siderable value. I am also grateful for the suggestions and criticisms 

which Mn William L. Holland of the Institute of Pacific Relations 

has offered at various stages in the preparation of the manuscript. 

The Institute, though sponsoring the publication of the book, does 

not assume responsibility for the views I have expressed. For all opin- 

ions and conclusions presented in the book I am alone responsible. 



Harvardevens, Mass. 

April 19, 1948 
















I. Birth of the Republic 3 


II. The British Occupation 15 


III. Proposals, Counterproposals and the Linggadjati Agreement 29 






IV. Political Organization of the Republic 49 

V. Economic Problems and Policies 68 


VI. Republican Leadership 88 







VII. Failure to Implement the Linggadjati Agreement and the 


Final Breakdown 105 


VIII. Military Action and the Role of the Security Council 128 


IX. Recent Developments and the Outlook for the Future 145 




Preamble and Constitution of the Republic 165 

Political Manifesto of the Indonesian Government 172 

Text of the Linggadjati (Cheribon) Agreement 175 

Letter from Sjahrir to the Commission-General, June 23, 1947 179 

Text of the United States Aide Memoire to the Indonesian Repub- 

lic, June 27, 1947 180 

Memorandum of July 20, 1947, from the Lieutenant Governor 


General to the Government of the Republic of Indonesia 181 


Interests of American Firms in Indonesia 185 


Truce Agreement Signed Jan. 17, 1948 184 


Radio Address of Queen Wilhelmina, Feb. 3, 1948 189 


INDEX 193 




















On August 17, 1945, the Republic of Indonesia was 

proclaimed by a small group of determined men, 


“Since independence is the right of every nation, any form of subjuga- 

tion in this world is contrary to humanity and justice, and must be abol- 

ished. The struggle for Indonesian Independence has reached a stage of 

glory in which the Indonesian people are led to the gateway of an inde- 

pendent, united, sovereign, just and prosperous Indonesian state. 


“With the blessing of God Almighty, and moved by the highest ideals 

to lead a free national life, the Indonesian people hereby declare their 



At its inception the new government claimed jurisdiction over a 

land area of more than 700,000 square miles and a population of 

more than 70 million. To some its birth came as a complete surprise; 

as far as they knew it had no roots in the past that preceded the 

Japanese occupation. Actually, this is only partially true, During 

the nineteenth century there had been no less than thirty-three 

revolts against Dutch authority in the Indies. For the most part, 

however, these were Batak or Atchenese or other local revolts; that 

is, they came from sectional minorities and did not have a national 



The formal nationalist movement in the Indies began in Java in 

1908 with the organization of the Boedi Oetomo or “High Endeavor” 

society under the leadership of a pacifist social reformer, Soetomo. 

From that time until World War II, Indonesian nationalism was 

characterized by division and disunity, by factionalism of both ex- 

tremist and moderate groups, and by the constant addition of new 

elements to the movement. The nationalist movement came to repre- 

sent different things to different people. It was linked to social re- 

form as advocated by Soetomo. It put its faith in traditionalist or 

Taman-Siswo mass education, according to the ideals of Dewantara. 

It sought autonomy within the Dutch Empire swayed by the pleas of 







Soetardjo. It was revolutionary Communism when led by the Mos- 

cow-trained Tanmalaka. It was non-cooperative and radical, a call to 

resistance to Dutch authority, as advanced by the fiery Soekarno 

and the professorial Hatta. It was imbued with the concept of 

social democracy and economic betterment under independent In- 

donesian auspices, led by the young Western-educated socialists 

Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin. All these elements attached themselves to 

the nationalist cause in the course of its evolution. 1 For thirty years, 

the diversity of these groups and the conflicts among them, no less 

than Dutch suppression of overt acts, stood in the way of Indian 

nationalist unity. 


At last, in May 1939 a federation of all Indonesian nationalist 

parties, the Gaboengan Partai Indonesia or G A.P.I., was formed by an 

alliance between the cooperative nationalists in the Parindra party 

and the radical nationalists in the Gerindo party, together with a 

number of smaller groups and religious organizations. This first coali- 

tion was a significant achievement in the development of Indonesian 

nationalism, although for some time world events were to prevent 

the G. A.P.I, from consolidating and exerting a constructive influence. 

Nevertheless, however unstable, the unity which it represented was to 

become a symbol of profound importance. 


With the start of the war in Europe in September 1939, shortly 

after the formation of the G.A.P.L, and the fall of Holland in May 

1940, the colonial government of the Netherlands Indies was at that 

time obliged sharply to curtail the activity of the nationalist move-^ 

ment in the interest of the European war effort. Great Britain and the 

United States were making urgent demands for strategic stockpiles of 

the produce of the Indies for rubber, tin, quinine, fibers, and drugs. 

To meet these emergency requirements the Dutch sought to place 

the Indies on a semi-war footing. 


In accomplishing this economic and strategic aim the Netherlands 

Indies Government was eminently successful. As an index of the ef- 

fectiveness of this policy, a comparison of exports from the Indies to 

the United States in 1938 and 1940 shows an increase for tin of 412 

per cent, for rubber of 331 per cent, for drugs and spices of 227 per 

cent, for fibers of 218 per cent, and a total increase in Netherlands 

Indies exports from about $330,000,000 in value to approximately 

$450,000,000. 2 


l Cf. Paul Kattenburg, “Political Alignments in Indonesia,” Far Eastern Survey, New 

York, September 25, 1946. 


* See Rupert Emerson, The Netherlands Indies and the United States, World Peace 

Foundation, Boston, 1942, pp. 45-7. 






The heated Japanese negotiations for oil concessions in the Indies, 

and the unmistakable signs of trouble appearing on the Pacific hori- 

zon, strengthened the Dutch resolve to eliminate dissension and to 

render the nationalist agitation ineffectual, at least for the time be- 

ing. The Penal Code, forbidding any agitation which might foment 

disorder, was narrowly construed and rigidly enforced. Free assembly 

was curtailed. The nationalist press was made to toe the line of un- 

yielding resistance to the Japanese and of support of the European 

war effort. Nationalist pamphleteering was repressed, and many of 

the pamphleteers and nationalist leaders were jailed or exiled. 

When the Japanese occupied the Indies in March 1942, three of the 

future “Big Four” of the Republic Soekarno, Hatta and Sjahrir 

were in prison or exile, although their prison sentences had begun 

before 1940, and the fourth, Amir Sjarifoeddin, had spent part of 

1940 in prison for dangerous incitement, after which he went to 

work with the government in the Department of Economic Affairs 

because of his antipathy to fascism. 


As a result, largely, of Dutch colonial policy from 1939 to 1942, 

the Japanese did not have a consolidated Indonesian nationalist 

front to contend with when they occupied the Indies. In fact, even 

such effective unity as did exist among the nationalists was dis- 

rupted still further over the issue of collaboration. 


On the one hand, there was a group headed by Sjahrir and Sjari- 

foeddin: the young, Western-educated intellectuals who, on purely 

ideological grounds, refused to have anything to do with Japanese 

fascism. Some of them were immediately jailed. Others, like Sjahrir, 

pretended to be only passive toward the Japanese. Released from in- 

ternment, Sjahrir went to Tjipanas in the mountains of West Java to 

work quietly and plan for the future. Here he and his colleagues 

gradually built up the Javanese resistance organization that later be- 

came a driving force behind the Republic’s Declaration of Independ- 

ence. Here he wrote his Perdjoeangan Kita (Our Struggle) and what 

was to become the Political Manifesto of the Republic. 


Sjarifoeddin also entered the small underground resistance move- 

ment. He was imprisoned by the Kempeitai^ or Japanese Secret 

Police, in 1943, and placed under sentence of death, later commuted 

to life imprisonment. 


On the other hand there was the group, headed by Soekarno, 

Hatta, Mansoer and Dewantara, who felt that the defeat of the 

Dutch armed forces and the internment of the remaining white 

Dutch civilian population promised the dawn of a new era for 






Indonesia. This group contended that the new era could best be 

prepared for by dealing with the Japanese in the open, rather than 

by taking the nationalist movement underground. There is little 

evidence to support the charge that this group dealt with the Japa- 

nese from choice. In fact, even those whose dislike for the Dutch 

originally induced some sympathy for the Japanese soon were alien- 

ated completely by the harshness of the Japanese occupation policy, 

and by the decidedly unfavorable turn which the war began to take 

for Japan. 


It is not hard to understand the initial reaction of many of the 

nationalist leaders in 1942. In many cases they recognized the Japa- 

nese as the victors over a colonial government which, whatever its 

merits, had coerced them in peace-time. A certain feeling of grati- 

tude and a desire to cooperate with the Japanese were inevitable in 

these instances, and yet after the first year of the occupation it be- 

came clear to even the most sympathetic nationalists that the na- 

tionalist cause would have to be advanced by exerting constant pres- 

sure on the Japanese, and not by simply cooperating with them. 

There were, furthermore, enough short-wave radio sets operating 

clandestinely, despite the untiring efforts of the Kempeitai to ferret 

them out, for the nationalists to hear and to become convinced by 

1943 that the war was definitely turning against the Japanese in the 

Pacific, and that the Japanese hold on the islands was to be short- 

lived. Under such conditions, honest and sincere collaboration with 

the Japanese was very rare. What at first appeared to be collabora- 

tion seems now, upon closer examination, to have been a hard and 

tenacious bargaining to secure concessions for the nationalist move- 





The introduction of Japanese rule after the capitulation of the 

Dutch in March 1942 meant the elimination of Dutch officialdom, 

and the imposition of military authority over an indigenous adminis- 

trative substructure. There was no wholesale overhauling of the 

governmental organization despite the elimination of the Dutch, 3 

but not the Eurasian, personnel a distinction which was almost im- 

possible to draw accurately after many generations of miscegenation. 


s In Soerabaja, in 1942, several hundred Dutch officials and petty officials were actu- 

ally taken from internment by the Japanese to help solve the city’s food distribution 

problem, which the Japanese could not handle themselves after several weeks of try- 

ing. Within a relatively brief span of time the Dutch had reorganized food distribu- 

tion, and in fact they remained out of internment for over a year until 1943 when the 

Japanese felt they themselves were able to control food distribution again. 






With their own military authorities firmly placed at the helm, the 

Japanese had as their principal aim that of making the islands self- 

sufficient and of gearing agricultural production to the needs of the 

war machine. 


Where necessary new directing organizations were set up by the 

Japanese. For example, an Agricultural Industrial Control Board 

(Saibai Kogyo Kanri Kodan) was set up, early in 1942, connected with 

the former Department of Economic Affairs, with broad powers to 

handle overall financial and procurement requirements for agricul- 

tural industries. The S.K.K.K. was also empowered to deal with 

storage and distribution of the produce of these industries, and to 

gear estate production to the needs of the war effort. In June 1943, 

the powers of the S.K.K.K. were extended still further to include 

not only large estate industries such as rubber and cinchona, but 

also the small estates, particularly those engaged in the production of 

fibers and cacao. 


In general, however, the exploitative economic war aims of the 

Japanese were prosecuted within the framework of an unchanged 

administrative set-up. Political measures, including propaganda and 

limited concessions to the nationalists, were regarded by the Japa- 

nese as means to achieve the main economic goals, and to enlist 

popular support for total economic mobilization. Quinine, tin, 

petroleum products, fibers, textiles and food products, especially 

rice and cassava, were needed; and the Japanese ruthlessly con- 

scripted labor into the Hei Ho or Work Corps, to step up produc- 

tion. Actually, in the case of all production except quinine which 

was increased by 16 per cent, and ramie, a flax plant for making tex- 

tiles which was newly cultivated by the Japanese output fell 

considerably under Japanese direction. No figures concerning 

petroleum or tin production from 1942 to 1945 are available, but 

according to both Japanese and Indonesian statistics covering Java, 

rice production dropped by 25 per cent during this period, corn by 

36 per cent, cassava by almost 50 per cent, rubber by more than 80 

per cent in both Java and Sumatra, tea by over 95 per cent, coffee by 

about 70 per cent and palm oil by almost 75 per cent. 


The labor reservoir also had to be drained to supply men for the 

auxiliary army, and for police and air-raid protection. For all these 

purposes the method of conscription was employed. 


To enlist popular support for such drastic economic measures, the 

Japanese launched successive propaganda campaigns which met with 

varying degrees of success depending upon the nationalist support 






which they received. The first campaign aimed at the glorification 

of Japan and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, with Indo- 

nesia as a part. This so-called Tiga A (Triple A) movement extolled 

Japan as the “Savior, Leader and Life of Asia” and at the same time 

banned all labor and political organizations, and placed a tighter 

clamp on the press than the Dutch had ever imposed. Tiga A was 

dropped after December 1942, when it had become clear that its 

lack of popular support made it a failure. 


The Poesat Tenaga Rajat (Central People’s Power) followed in 

its wake. The Poetera, as it was called, was a centralized organization 

of all political parties (united formally for the first time since the 

defunct G.A.P.I.), including also labor organizations and religious 

and youth societies. Led by Soekarno, Hatta, Mansoer and Dewan- 

tara, the Poetera acquired a strong nationalistic character, and be- 

cause of its broader base, became a potentially stronger nationalist 

force than the G.A.P.I. had been. The Poetera movement spread 

rapidly after its formation in March 1943. While its immediate 

effect was to contribute to a more united war effort, it represented a 

force and a threat to the Japanese which they were never quite able 

to eliminate. In a sense the Poetera was the first formal nationalist!- 

cally-mclined organization to manifest itself during the occupation. 

As its strength grew and it came to include an Auxiliary Army force 

(Tentara Pembela Tanah Aer) and an armed Police Force as well, 

the resistance of the nationalists to Japanese demands stiffened. 


The Poetera never broke openly with the Japanese, but neither 

did it express opposition to the revolts which broke out in Blitar, 

Indramajoe and Tasikmalaja as the occupation wore on. The Poe- 

tera carried on a continual tug-of-war with the Japanese military 

authorities for concessions to the nationalist cause, for higher posi- 

tions in the government for Indonesians, and for a withdrawal of 

Japanese officialdom. In exchange for these concessions the national- 

ists promised support of the war effort. 


The relation between the Poetera and the Japanese military was 

thus a dynamic one of stress and strain. As the military situation in 

the Pacific grew more and more precarious for the Japanese, the 

pull exerted by the Poetera intensified. As the Japanese war position 

grew still weaker, the Poetera and the nationalists grew stronger, and 

the concessions which they were able to elicit widened in scope. 


Finally, after considerable earlier pressure from the Poetera, a 

Commission for the Preparation of Independence was set up in 

April 1944 with Soekarno and Hatta as its guiding lights. By June 






1944 the nationalists were able to exert sufficient economic pressure 

on the Japanese to bring about the end of the centralized Agricul- 

tural Control Board. In its place, an Agricultural Industrial Trust 

(Saibai Kogyo Renokat) was set up, exercising the same functions 

and with the same powers as the former S.K.K.K., except that it was 

now controlled not by the Japanese military but by private estate 

owners and agricultural companies, Indonesian and Chinese as well 

as Japanese. 


In September 1944, under increasing pressure both from the na- 

tionalists and the deteriorating military situation in the Pacific, 

Premier Koiso made the first formal Japanese promise of independ- 

ence to the Indonesians. The red and white independence flag and 

the national anthem, Indonesia Raja (Great Indonesia), which the 

Preparatory Commission had adopted, now were recognized by the 

Japanese authorities. In addition, new regulations were adopted to 

increase the participation of Indonesians in the government as the 

nationalists had demanded. 


In July 1945, with American forces in the Pacific closing in for the 

kill, Count Terauchi, the Japanese Commander-in-Chief for South- 

east Asia and the Indies, received instructions from Tokyo to 

make preparations for independence discussions with the Indonesian 

leaders. The original Tokyo plan provided that independence would 

be declared in the name of the Emperor as soon as Russia entered 

the war, and it was further hoped by the Japanese that, with this 

inducement, the Indonesian Auxiliary Army might then be counted 

on to fight side by side with the Japanese against the expected in- 

vasion forces. 


In early August, Soekamo and Hatta left Batavia for Japanese 

Asia Headquarters in Saigon by special Japanese plane at Terauchi’s 

invitation. There is every reason to believe that they knew what the 

purpose of their visit was to be and what the underlying motives of 

the Japanese were. 


Less than one week after their return to Batavia the Japanese 

capitulation was announced, and somewhat hastily and boldly two 

days later, on August 17, Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed the Re- 

publicnot in the name of the Japanese Emperor, but in the name 

of the Indonesian people. 




Under the confused conditions which prevailed throughout South- 

east Asia at the time of the unexpected Japanese surrender announce- 






ment, it was inevitable that suspicion of collaboration should be- 

come attached to the new-born independence movements in Burma, 

Indo-China, and Indonesia, and that these suspicions would crystal- 

lize into definite charges against the new regimes by the returning 

colonial powers. 


The charges were not long in making an appearance. In Septem- 

ber 1945, Dr. Hubertus J. van Mook, the Lt. Governor General of 

the Netherlands Indies in exile in Australia, advised Admiral 

Mountbatten, the Supreme Allied Commander for Southeast Asia: 


“It is obvious that this republican movement is a restricted one and 

that its pattern is a dictatorship after the Japanese model. … It is to be 

seriously doubted that the puppet government has much of a following, 

and it is of particular importance that this extremist organization not be 

recognized in any way directly or indirectly [since it is] … simply a 

Japanese creation/’ 


Allied intelligence concerning Indonesia during the occupation 

was more meager than for any other area in Southeast Asia. The 

charges of collaboration thus found the world at large unable to 

judge the situation which had existed during the occupation, or 

to recognize the larger scope which the nationalist movement was 

to attain immediately after the Japanese capitulation. There had 

been no O.S.S. or Allied intelligence teams operating regularly 

throughout the archipelago as there had been in other parts of the 

region. Indeed, Japanese broadcasts and one or two brief landings 

on the Java and Sumatra coasts from submarines by Dutch and 

Allied operatives furnished most of the sparse information which 

came from Indonesia during the war. The landings of British forces, 

in October 1945, in insufficient strength and after a critical six 

weeks’ delay, reflected this dearth of intelligence. 


Even after the re-occupation it was difficult to obtain the informa- 

tion necessary for a candid appraisal of the collaborationist charges. 

Released Dutch internees and P.O.W.’s were either too biased or too 

out of touch to offer a fair index of the real state of affairs. Un- 

biased Indonesians were just as difficult to find, and the Chinese 

and Eurasian minorities often were too afraid either of the returning 

Dutch or of the Indonesians to speak freely. 


One of the few Europeans fully qualified and sufficiently open- 

minded to judge these charges and to appraise the Republic at its 

inception was a British Army officer, Lt. Colonel Laurence van der 

Post Colonel van der Post had been assigned by British Army 






Intelligence to remain behind in Java -when Field Marshal Wavell’s 

Southeast Asia Headquarters In Bandoeng decided to evacuate in 

February 1942. He had been assigned the mission of continuing 

guerrilla operations in the hills as long as possible, and specifically 

of keeping au courant of general events during the Japanese occupa- 

tion, looking toward the day when Allied troops would return to 

the Indies. He himself was interned by the Japanese after the guer- 

rilla activities which he had directed in the hills were brought to 

an end. Nevertheless, he maintained sufficient contact with the out- 

side to remain probably the best authority on the Republic’s pre- 

natal history and formation. Unfortunately, however, Colonel van 

der Post’s wide fund of information was never given the attention 

that it merited. 


Actually, an accurate appraisal of the collaborationist charges 

which have been directed against the Republic’s leaders depends 

primarily on an initial adjustment in viewpoint. In analyzing 

collaboration with the Japanese in Indonesia a basically different 

approach must be adopted from that applied to the same issue in 

the occupied countries of Europe. 


In Europe, the populations of the occupied countries knew what 

the war was about. Despite blundering and corruption in pre-war 

Europe, they knew that fundamentally it represented a struggle for 

existence against the expanding forces of aggressive Fascism. They 

had the clear evidence before them that the Fascist enemy had 

“blitzed” through their defenses, beaten their armies, and forced 

their governments into exile. They maintained contact with these 

exiled governments through the active underground movements 

which flourished under the eyes of the invader. They received news 

and pamphlets from their governments by way of the underground 

and by air; and they could carry on in the assurance that their 

forces and those of their allies were growing stronger day by day and 

would eventually return to liberate their soil. In short, despite harsh 

and discouraging conditions and deprivations, they still had some 

feeling of “belonging,” of being a part of the fight against an enemy 

of long standing; a fight that was being prosecuted by their brothers- 

in-arms outside the motherland. 


Under such conditions collaboration with the enemy by an indi- 

vidual citizen was tantamount to treason against his nation’s still- 

continuing fight. In Europe a patriotic and thinking citizen’s duty 

and attitude toward the invader were clear. Collaboration generally 

stood out clearly when judged in this light. 






In Indonesia, on the other hand, a patriotic nationalist’s duty and 

attitude toward the Japanese were by no means as simple or as clear. 

In the first place, the struggle which the war represented between 

fascism and democracy was obscure and distant to all but the most 

sophisticated and Westernized intellectuals, such as Sjahrir and 

Sjarifoeddin. Furthermore, the Japanese were not an established 

enemy of long standing with whom the Indonesians had already had 

contact before and of whom they had already formed a definite im- 

pression. The existence of anti-white racialism, which Japanese 

propaganda exploited, led some Indonesians to identify their op- 

position to foreign white rule with the Japanese war against the 

Western powers. 


The Indonesian nationalists did not have the feeling that the 

enemy had fought against their defenses, beaten their forces, or 

driven their government into exile. In fact, the Indonesian people 

had not had any arms with which to fight the invader, since the 

Dutch Government had avoided arming or training any large groups, 

except for the loyal Ambonese, “and had particularly avoided the 

training or arming of educated or nationalistic Indonesians. The 

emergency conditions of the period from 1939 through 1942 had not 

changed this policy. During this period the Dutch had been even 

more circumspect in their building of an Indonesian armed force, 

lest it might come under the influence of the nationalist movement. 


Finally, the patriotic Indonesian had little feeling of attachment 

to or contact with the distant Netherlands Indies Government in 

Australia. The underground resistance movement maintained no 

liaison with the exiled Dutch. Such resistance as the Indonesians 

organized was their own and was neither in close touch with nor 

was it supplied by the exile government outside. The Dutch Govern- 

ment had gone, and the Dutch civilians remaining behind were 

interned and for the most part effectively removed from the scene. 

The Indonesians were now alone. They were isolated and left on 

their own to sink or struggle to shore as best they could. The resent- 

ment and sense of isolation felt were summarized by Sjahrir in his 

Political Manifesto: 


“When the Netherlands Indies Government . . . surrendered to the 

Japanese in Bandoeng in March 1942, our unarmed population fell prey 

to the harshness and cruelty of Japanese militarism. For three and a half 

years our people were bent under a cruelty which they had never before 

experienced throughout the last several decades of Netherlands Colonial 

rule. Our people were treated as worthless material to be wasted in the 






piocess of war. From the lowly stations of those who were forced to ac- 

cept compulsory labor and slavery and whose crops were stolen, to the 

intellectuals who were forced to propagate lies, the grip of Japanese 

militarism was universally felt. For this, Dutch colonialism is respon- 

sible in that it left our 70,000,000 people to the mercies of Japanese 

militarism without any means of protecting themselves since they had 

never been entrusted with fire-arms or with the education necessary to 

use them. . . . 


“A new realization was born in our people, a national feeling that was 

sharper than ever before. This feeling . . . was also sharpened by the Japa- 

nese propaganda for pan-Asianism. Later attempts by the Japanese to 

suppress the nationalist movement were to no avail. During three and a 

half years of Japanese occupation, the whole state organization . . . which 

had been controlled by the Dutch, was handled by the Indonesians under 

the authority of the Japanese. . . . Our nation acquired greater confidence 

and our national awareness grew towards the Japanese as well as towards 

other nations. 


“The millions of people lost during the occupation and the miseries 

under which the rest of the population lived . . . must be attributed to 

the inadequate preparation which we were given by the Dutch. Because 

of these facts the Dutch have not the moral right to accuse us of having 

cooperated with the Japanese. . . .” 4 


It is certainly true that there were instances of collaboration and 

corruption stemming from purely selfish and servile motives. In 

general, however, it appears that the overall collaborationist charges 

directed against the Republic and many of its leaders must be 

judged in the extenuating light of the complex psychological and 

emotional factors referred to above. It is in this light that the 

occupation records of Soekarno and Hatta and their coterie are actu- 

ally regarded by Indonesian public opinion, and it is this factor 

which has constituted a major source of strength for both the 

Republic and Soekarno. Public opinion in Indonesia regards Soe- 

karno and Hatta not as having been pro-Japanese, but as the leaders 

who cheated the Japanese by political cunning and who brought the 

Republic to life as a result. This is one reason why the colorful per- 

sonality of Soekarno, rather than the more profound and more so- 

phisticated Sjahrir, has the backing of the Indonesian people today, 

It is, of course, impossible not to admire the self-contained in- 

tegrity of Sjahrir who staunchly resisted dealing with the Japanese. 

Nevertheless, Soekarno and Hatta, largely through their own names 

and personalities, preserved the continuity of the nationalist move- 

ment throughout the occupation. It is doubtful whether, without 


4 Translated from Sjahrir’s Political Manifesto, Batavia, November 1945. See Ap- 

pendix, p. 172- 






this continuity, the Republic would have had either the organiza- 

tion or the popular support which it was to need for survival. 


After August 17, 1945, the Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin group united 

firmly with the Soekarno and Hatta group in supporting the Re- 

public. Later attempts of the Dutch to drive a wedge between the 

two by refusing to deal with the collaborationist Soekarno but 

warmly accepting Sjahrir for negotiation failed. Dr. van Mook 

finally withdrew his earlier hasty appraisal of the Republic by ad- 

mitting at Pangkal Pinang in October 1946: 


“Our knowledge of the happenings and conditions in the occupied ter- 

ritory of Indonesia was deficient and incomplete during the war This 


was particularly true in respect to Java and Sumatra. Misled by outward 

appearances … we originally reported the Republic too much as a 

Japanese invention, and when in October and November the movement 

developed with the speed of tropical growth into a sort of popular revolt 

comparable to the September days of 1792 in the French Revolution, it 

was difficult to gauge properly the inherent lasting power of this 

phenomenon. When we look back into history, it is apparent that in the 

Republic forces were at work which signified more and were rooted 

deeper than a mere surge of terrorism. …” 


Once the Republic had been established, the internal issue of 

collaboration was dead. All of the nationalists, whatever the dictates 

of conscience had led them to do during the occupation, were solidly 

united behind the Republic and its watchword Merdeka! (Freedom). 












One of the most controversial vignettes in the whole 

controversial picture of post V-J Day Indonesia has been the activity 

and policy of the British re-occupation forces during the fourteen 

months of their military controlbetween September 1945 and 

November 30, 1946. 


Criticism and invective heaped upon the British for their role in 

the Indies have been abundant, violent, bitter, and often contra- 

dictory. On the one hand, the British were excoriated for being the 

protectors and restorers of imperialism, for ruthlessly helping to re- 

press the awakening people of Indonesia, for ‘ ‘setting the clock 

back” in Southeast Asia, and for violating the spirit of both the 

Atlantic and the United Nations Charters. 


On the other hand, the British were criticized by the Dutch for 

impeding rehabilitation in the Indies in order to secure competitive 

economic advantages for British Malaya, for bolstering and dealing 

with an illegal, Japanese-inspired extremist revolution at its incep- 

tion, and for flagrantly violating even the minimum obligations of a 

faithful ally. 


November 30, 1946, was the day set for the official departure of 

the last British occupation forces and for the end of the Allied Forces 

Headquarters in the Netherlands East Indies (A.F.N.E.I.). It is inter- 

esting to note that after official thanks had been formally accorded 

the British forces by the Dutch Governor General, Dr. van Mook, 

and the Indonesian Prime Minister, Mr. Sjahrir, on the morning of 

November 30, both the Dutch and the Indonesian daily newspapers 

in Batavia, the Dagblad and Merdeka> carried long and violently 

bitter editorials criticizing the British occupation record. Paradoxi- 

cally, they both had a modicum of fact on which to base their 



During most of the Pacific war, Sumatra and its dependencies 

were included in the Southeast Asia Command under Admiral 








Mountbatten; the remainder of the Netherlands East Indies had 

been placed under General MacArthur’s Pacific theater of operation. 

By decision of the combined Anglo-American Chiefs-of-Staff at the 

Potsdam Conference in July 1945, military jurisdiction of the whole 

Southwest Pacific below the Philippines was transferred to S.E.A.C. 


It is true, this transfer took place despite the fact that the United 

States had already made preparations for specialized operations in 

the Indies at its Malay and Dutch language schools at Stanford and 

Yale Universities, and in its Military Government Schools at Vir- 

ginia, Harvard, and Columbia. It is also true that this transfer was 

made despite strenuous objections by the Dutch. 1 


Nevertheless, at the time the transfer was made, the war was ex- 

pected to last another year rather than another month, as turned 

out to be the case. Despite later allegations to the contrary, it appears 

certain that military and not political considerations supplied the 

main motivations for the transfer of authority. Military considera- 

tions may well have been reinforced by political factors, since, on 

the one hand, the British had a particular interest in the archipelago 

because of its strategic political and economic proximity to Malaya, 

and since, on the other hand, the United States was not anxious to 

undertake any re-occupation operations on behalf of colonial powers. 


The suddenness of the Japanese capitulation found S.E.A.C. un- 

prepared to fulfill its expanded commitments immediately, and what 

turned out to be a highly critical delay in the re-occupation ensued. 

It was not until September 15 that the first Allied Mission of about 

fifty people, as well as Mountbatten’s personal representative, Rear 

Admiral Patterson, arrived in Batavia on board H.M.S. Cumber- 

land. And it was not until September 29 that the first battalion of 

British troops, the Seaforth Highlanders, landed in Batavia more 

than six weeks after the Japanese surrender. 


During the six weeks hiatus between the Declaration of Independ- 

ence by Soekarno and Hatta and the landing of the first small British 

forces, the Indonesian nationalists consolidated rapidly and worked 

strenuously to set up a functioning “government.” All shades of na- 

tionaliststhe former cooperatives and non-cooperatives, moderates 

and extremists, collaborationists and non-collaborationistsunited 


*At the Pangkal Pinang Conference in early October 1946, Dr. van Mook stated 

that- “Notwithstanding great objections on our part, the Allied Supreme Command in 

this area was transferred from the Americans, who had for years been preparing them- 

selves for their task in this part of the world, to the British whose operational field 

up to that time had been much more limited. . . .” 






in the common effort. Six weeks was not a long time, but the na- 

tionalists were bent on making the most of it. 


After the Declaration of Independence had been issued by Soe- 

karno and Hatta on August 17 in the name of “the whole Indo- 

nesian People,” the Preparatory Commission, which had been set up 

in April 1944, met from August 18 to August 29 and acted swiftly. 

Soekarno and Hatta were elected by the Commission as the first 

President and Vice-President of the Republic. The Constitution 

which had been drafted during the last month of the war was 

adopted. The original document was hastily prepared and not always 

thorough or detailed; nevertheless it clearly showed the influence of 

the American Constitution that had been used as its model. It pro- 

vided inter alia for a President and Vice-President exercising strong 

executive control and command of all armed forces, a Congress and 

a Council of Representatives to exercise the legislative function, and 

a Supreme Court vested with the judicial power. 


Under the emergency conditions and pending the election of the 

People’s Congress and the Council of Representatives, the Prepara- 

tory Commission, guided predominantly by Hatta, decided that the 

President and Vice-President would exercise all governing powers 

with the advice and consent of a new Central National Indonesian 

Committee (Komite National Indonesia Poesat K.N.I.P.). The 

Preparatory Commission hastily set up an administrative blueprint 

for the republican areas of West, Central and East Java, Sumatra, 

Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas and the Lesser Soendas. This blue- 

print roughly restored the former Dutch administrative system with 

a governor for each province, with residencies, and with semi- 

autonomous sultanates within the provinces. Provision was made for 

a cabinet of twelve ministers, 2 all responsible to the President, ac- 

cording to the American system. The Preparatory Commission 

finally called for the formation of a National Army under the Presi- 

dent, from the various armed auxiliaries and “People’s Armies’* 

(Laskar Rajaf). On August 29 the Preparatory Commission went 

out of existence. The new K.N.LP. was chosen by Soekarno and 

Hatta with a broadened base. It consisted of one hundred and 

twenty of the outstanding national leaders and included all shades 

of nationalist opinion. Republican headquarters were set up in 


2 The portfolios in the Cabinet consisted of Home Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Justice, 

Finance, Economic Affairs, Health, Education and Culture, Social Affairs, Defense, 

Information, Communications, and Public Works. 






Batavia-now called by the Indonesian name “Djakarta.” Shortly 

thereafter, Soetan Sjahrir, the leader of the Indonesian intellectuals, 

was made chairman of the Working Committee of the K.N.LP. 


In quick succession the following steps were taken: Djakarta was 

proclaimed the Republican capital; regional governors for the eight 

provinces were selected; Soekarno chose his Cabinet; 3 the Sultanates 

of Djokjakarta, Soerakarta, Mangkoenegaran, and Pakoealaman an- 

nounced their support of the Republic; and the Japanese Hei-Ho 

was disbanded. 


When the first British troops landed in Batavia on September 29, 

1945, the Republic was a going, if still untested, organization. Al- 

most all buildings flew the red-and-white Merdeka flag. Government 

buildings were conspicuously labeled Kementerian Kasehatan 

(Ministry of Health), Kementerian Oeroesan Dalam Negeri (Minis- 

try of Home Affairs), Kementerian Loear Negeri (Ministry of For- 

eign Affairs), and so on. Posters in English, quoting from the Ameri- 

can Declaration of Independence (since American re-occupation 

forces had been anticipated by the Indonesians) and from Lincoln’s 

Gettysburg address, were in evidence. Indonesian civil police, armed 

with Japanese equipment, made their regular rounds through the 

streets of Batavia. Despite the run-down appearance of the capital 

with its olive-drab coated buildings and pit-holed streets, the city 

was orderly and peaceful. The situation was quiet but confusing, 

and the natural reaction to this unexpected state of affairs on the 

part of the handful of British troops who first arrived was one of 





The British forces came to the Indies with two main objectives, 

purely military in character. The first was to accept the surrender, 

to disarm, and to repatriate the 283,000 Japanese troops concen- 

trated in Java and Sumatra, but scattered also over the Celebes, the 

Moluccas and Borneo. The second was the liberation and protection 

of over 200,000 Dutch and Allied prisoners of war and internees, the 

so-called A.P.W.L That these aims could be attained without affect- 

ing the political situation, and that British military commitments 

could be fulfilled without touching on the thorny problems of 

colonialism and imperialism among a sensitive people and in a sensi- 

tive world, was a fantasy to start with. 


3 Including Sjarifoeddin as Minister of Information, Soebardjo as Minister of Foreign 

Affairs, and Dewantara as Minister of Education* 






The presence of a functioning and self-conscious “Republic” 

could not be disregarded, and the necessity for some kind of attitude 

however vacillating or indefinite or “unpolitical” toward the Re- 

public could not but provoke antagonism on one side or the other. 

A simple restoration of the legal pre-war Dutch colonialism would 

certainly have meant not only serious trouble from the nationalists 

but also harsh criticism from a sensitized world press, which Britain, 

already under fire in the United Nations and in the press for her 

role in the Middle East and in India, could ill afford. 


On the other hand, support of the as yet unrecognized Republic 

and cooperation with it would certainly alienate the Dutch and 

might provoke Holland’s opposition to Britain in the United Na- 

tions Security Council, where Britain was in great need of friends. 4 

The British met the dilemma by a policy which at least temporarily 

had the effect of antagonizing both sides. 


With the meager forces 5 of British and British Indian troops 

available for the execution of the tasks of re-occupation, it was felt 

that extensive operations would not be feasible. The decision was 

therefore made to establish secure bases at eight key points in Java 

and Sumatra, and later on two or three in the Outer Islands, and to 

use these bases as bridgeheads from which to tackle the tasks of dis- 

armament and internment of the Japanese and relief of the A.P.W.I. 


Realizing the magnitude of his task and the insufficiency of his 

forces, the commanding officer of the Allied Forces in the Nether- 

lands East Indies (A.F.N.E.I.), Lieutenant General Sir P. A. Christi- 

son, issued a proclamation immediately upon his arrival in Batavia 

at the beginning of October to the effect that he “intended to re- 

quest the present party leaders to support him in the exercise of his 

task,” and that since only limited operations could be undertaken by 

his forces “the present Indonesian authorities [would remain] re- 

sponsible for the government in the areas under their control.” 


From the point of view of the Dutch, both pronouncements were 

highly and understandably objectionable because of the implied 

recognition which they accorded to the “party leaders” and the 

“Indonesian authorities,” whom van Mook’s Government did not 

wish to have countenanced, officially or unofficially. When Dr. van 

der Plas the former Dutch Governor of East Java, and the first of- 

ficial representative of the Netherlands Indies Government to return 


4 Holland held one of the six elected seats on the Council at the time. 


5 It was not until October 31 that the equivalent strength of a full British division 

was in Java. 






to Javaoffered to conduct preliminary discussions with some of the 

Indonesian leaders including Soekarno, he too incurred the severest 

criticism from his government in Australia. 


The Indonesian authorities regarded this initial British attitude 

with cautious and reserved approval. They cooperated to the extent 

of continuing to run the civil administration, the telephone, power, 

and trolley services and of maintaining civil law and order. 


In accordance with the British tactics of setting up key bases for 

the further execution of their assigned objectives, Batavia was occu- 

pied first, on the 29th of September, 1945, Bandoeng by a small force 

on about October 10, Semarang on October 17, Soerabaja on Oc- 

tober 25, and Medan, Palembang and Padang in Sumatra somewhat 

later. At first little resistance was encountered by the small British 

forces, and the Republican authorities remained cautiously coopera- 

tive. In Soerabaja, a local branch of the Laskar Rajat or People’s 

Army furnished some opposition, but actually this was only slight. 

When trouble came afterwards, it was largely the result of a dispute 

over the return of Dutch troops to the Islands. 


Some Dutch and Ambonese troops that had been interned as 

P.O.W/s during the war were soon released and attached to the Dutch 

echelon at A.F.N.E.L under the command of the stern old Dutch 

General van Oyen, who had arrived from Australia on October 3. 

The Indonesian authorities, led by Soekarno and Hatta, were de- 

termined, however, that no new Dutch troops should be allowed to 

land until recognition of the Republic had been granted. This atti- 

tude resulted from a deep-seated distrust and suspicion of the inten- 

tions of returning Dutch armed forces, and of the returning Dutch 

civil administration whether technically under Allied command or 

not. This same distrust and suspicion was, in fact, reciprocated by 

the Dutch, and was the cause of much of the unpleasant relations 

between the Dutch and the Indonesians during the negotiations of 

the next two years. Mutual hatred, despite early reports, was rela- 

tively scarce, but suspicion and distrust were widespread. 


In the early part of October 1945, two small companies of volun- 

teer combat troops from Holland arrived in the Indies, and shortly 

after were followed by the disliked Netherlands Indies Civil Ad- 

ministration (or N.I.C.A.), which returned to the Indies from 

Australia. Their return occurred over the heated protest of the na- 

tionalists, who claimed as the minimum price for their continued 

cooperation with the Allied re-occupation that no additional Dutch 

armed forces or civil administration personnel be allowed to land 






on Indonesian soil until the Republic’s status had been clarified. 


As an ally of the Netherlands, the British could not, even if they 

had wanted to, give this guarantee. Only the fact that Holland- 

weakened by five years of German occupationwas in no position 

economically or militarily to undertake the re-occupation herself as 

the de jure pre-war sovereign in the Indies, was responsible for the 

assignment of this difficult task to the British and British Indian 

troops. When Soekarno and Hatta renewed their protests to the 

British and reiterated their demand for this minimum guarantee, 

their request was, and under the circumstances had to be, turned 

down. Although in fact no large numbers of Dutch combat troops 

really landed in the Indies until March 1946, no guarantee could be 

given to the Indonesians that their demand would be satisfied. Thus, 

the Indonesians’ worst fears and suspicions began to crystallize, and 

after public protest to the Dutch and renewed private demands to 

the British and to the American Strategic Services Unit in Batavia, 

they began to feel that action must be taken. 


Soekarno and Hatta adopted a more and more militant attitude 

and, in early November, convinced that nothing further could be 

accomplished by verbal requests for the guarantee they wished, 

moved to Djokjakarta and thereby gave the go-ahead signal for the 

unbridled terror which was to ensue in the next two months. At any 

rate, not only the Tentara Republik Indonesia (Republican Army), 

but the more irresponsible Japanese-trained People’s Armies 

(Laskar Rajat), Banteng or Buffalo societies, and Pemoedas (youth 

groups) saw in this move the green light to proceed in disorder and 



These groups had to a large extent been trained by the Japanese 

and in many cases had “accepted” the surrender of the Japanese 

troops in the absence of Allied forces in the interior. There is a typi- 

cal, if apocryphal, story of a British major who went to accept the 

surrender of a Japanese battalion commander and his battalion near 

Soerabaja before a large crowd of Indonesians who ostensibly had 

come to watch the ceremony. The battalion was arrayed in full battle 

regalia and stood prepared for inspection. The battalion commander 

advanced to present his Samurai sword to the British major. As he 

did so, his men laid down their arms and advanced to turn them- 

selves over to the British major. The crowd thereupon moved for- 

ward, picked up the arms from the ground and quietly dispersed. 


Whether the story is true or not, it indicates that British weakness 

after arrival, as well as delay in arriving, made it possible for various 






groups, irresponsible as well as responsible, to acquire large stocks 

of munitions and arms from the Japanese. When the blow-up came, 

and the restraining lid of the responsible authorities was removed, 

these groups had the weapons to cause the violence which ensued. 

Once let loose, it took the “Republic” over a year to get this ill- 

assorted group of fighting forces fairly well under control. The go- 

ahead signal was much easier for the Republic to give than the stop 

signal, but even the majority of the moderate nationalists, who later 

mourned the bloodshed of November and December, then felt that 

lawless action was preferable to no action at all. Bloodshed cannot 

be condoned, it is true, but if there had been no blow-up, Indonesia 

might never have attracted the publicity and world interest which 

were to play so important a part in restraining future action against 

the new republic. The importance of a show of force in the anatomy 

of successful revolution cannot be underestimated, even if the force 

itself is abusive and ruthless. 


The powder keg, which was finally to explode in Soerabaja, began 

to smoke in Batavia at the end of October. Streets were unsafe after 

dark, and people were kidnapped if they ventured out after curfew 

at nine o’clock. The kalis or canals stank with the smell of putrefy- 

ing flesh, and part of the newly-released civilian population had to 

be returned to wartime internment camps for their own protection. 

The same situation prevailed in Soerabaja, but unlike Batavia, 

where there were at least troops enough to insure reasonable protec- 

tion against a wholesale terror, in Soerabaja the disorder grew worse. 

Finally, on November 4, Brigadier Mallaby, the British commander 

who had been negotiating with the local Indonesian authorities, was 

shot and killed at point-blank range as he drove in his car through 

the streets of the town. At the time, not enough troops were avail- 

able for the British to take retaliatory action, but on November 9, 

Mallaby’s successor, General Mansergh, issued an ultimatum to the 

Indonesians to surrender their arms to the British, or offensive ac- 

tion would be taken against them to establish law and order. 


Such action began the.next day, after it had become obvious that 

the ultimatum would not be heeded by the irregular armed bands 

that were responsible for the terror. For ten days the Pemberon- 

takan, one of the strongest Laskar, held out against the British, led 

by their fanatical firebrand Soetomo, and spurred on by the local 

broadcasts of an ex-Scottish ex-American woman named variously 

Manx, Tantri, and “Soerabaja Sue.” When the smoke cleared, it was 

found that several hundred British and Indian troops and several 






thousand of the irregular Pemberontakan adherents had been killed, 

and more than 2,000 civilians had been kidnapped from the streets 

or their homes, never to be heard from again. 


In Bandoeng a similar sequence of events took place. Houses were 

burned and looted, and one section of the town was completely razed. 

More than 850 civilians were reported kidnapped and killed in this 

city, in addition to the small British losses and the large losses which 

the Indonesian bands sustained between November 1 and the end of 

December. Batavia actually suffered less because of the larger con- 

centration of British troops there, but nevertheless civilian casual- 

ties alone here were over 200 during November and December, 



Under these unexpected and critical conditions, the British were 

forced into the unfortunate position of having to use Japanese 

troops against the Indonesian extremists in an effort to maintain law 

and order. A world-wide storm of protest followed this ironic turn of 



The British continued their efforts to bring order to the eight 

Allied bridgeheads but decided that action should end at the demar- 

cation lines of these bridgeheads because of the additional trouble 

which further penetration might cause. British headquarters issued 

a restrictive order forbidding any offensive action by Allied troops, 

and instructing them to fire only when fired upon. This order 

proved to be a constant thorn in the Dutch side, particularly as the 

Dutch forces grew stronger and felt themselves able to undertake 

action in the interior. As the military forces under the new Dutch 

commander, General S. H. Spoor, were reinforced by the arrival 

of fresh troops from Europe in March 1946, increasing pressure was 

exerted first on the British commander and then on the Nether- 

lands Indies Government itself which was negotiating with the In- 

donesiansfor permission to take offensive action against the Re- 

publican Army (T.R.I.) and the irregular nationalist forces. Later 

this pressure was to break through the surface on several occasions, 

provoking “incidents” and further complicating the difficult tasks of 

the van Mook government. 


Gradually, with the beginning of 1946, the situation grew quieter. 

On February 10, after a trip to Holland, the Lieutenant Governor 

General began new discussions with the Indonesian delegation, 

headed by the Republican Prime Minister, Sjahrir, with whom the 

Dutch agreed to negotiate though they still maintained that Soe- 


Figures from Dutch Army Information Service, Batavia, 1947. 






karno and Hatta were unacceptable. The British sent their top 

career diplomat, Sir Archibald Clark-Kerr-now Lord Inverchapel- 

to Batavia to facilitate the formal negotiations, and with their com- 

mencement, the situation took a definite turn for the better. 


The military situation was stabilized, and as more and more 

Dutch troops arrived from Europe the British made plans for with- 

drawal. While General Mansergh, the new British Commander-in- 

Chief, retained supreme command, increasing civil authority was 

delegated to the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration, now re- 

named the Allied Military Administration Civil Affairs Branch, or 





According to the Civil Administration Agreement of August 28, 

1945, between the British and Dutch Governments, the Supreme 

Allied Commander of the re-occupying forces was empowered to 

exercise final local authority over all branches of the Netherlands 

Indies Government in matters of a military nature. In purely civil 

matters the Dutch Lieutenant Governor General remained the top 

authority, but his actions were required to conform to military or- 

ders. Furthermore, it was up to the British Commander-in-Chief, as 

the military situation warranted, “to notify the Governor Gen- 

eral of the extent to which responsibility for the civil administration 

could be resumed by the Netherlands Indies Government”; and as 

the military situation within the Allied bridgeheads and on the 

Outer Islands became quieter, the Dutch Civil Administration was 

authorized to increase the scope of its operations, though ultimately 

remaining subject to the orders of the Commander-in-Chief of 

A.F.N.E.L On November 30, 1946, the last British troops left 

Batavia, AJF.N.EJ. was officially disbanded, and military as well as 

plenary civil control reverted to Dutch hands, 


By this date, the tasks for which the British had come to the archi- 

pelago were largely completed. Almost all of the more than 280,000 

Japanese had been returned to Japan or were on their way home. Of 

the 200,000 internees and prisoners-of-war whom the Allied forces 

had come to release, less than 2,000 had not yet been evacuated from 

the interior of Java, and most of these were post-V-J Day Eurasian 

internees whom the Republic had interned for their own protection 

against extremist action. Their evacuation was well on the way to 

completion by November 30. 


One month before the British withdrawal, a truce had been con- 






eluded between the Dutch and British on the one hand and the 

Indonesians on the other. Demarcation lines had been set up around 

the bridgeheads, which now became the Dutch strongholds as they 

had been the British. Beyond these lines, neither side was to operate 

offensively though in practice these restrictions were violated by 

both sides. The Indonesians had agreed to the landing of additional 

Dutch troops up to the total of Dutch and British troops that had 

been in the archipelago when the truce was concluded on October 

15. Fresh British-trained Dutch troops arrived and continued to ar- 

rive until this 92,000 joint total was reached, to replace the departed 

and departing British, and the British turned over their surplus war 

stock to the Dutch replacements. 


This, in brief, was the military picture which the British left be- 

hind on November 30, 1946. They left behind also a fundamentally 

altered political situation: specifically, a draft agreement between 

the Dutch and the Indonesians which recognized the de facto au- 

thority of the Republic over Java, Sumatra and Madura, and which 

laid the foundation for a federalized United States of Indonesia. 

Finally, the British left behind a residue of bad feeling toward 

themselves on the part of the Indonesians and, in an extreme form, 

on the part of the Dutch. The Indonesian attitude was not deep but 

understandable since, whatever their motives, sympathies and ide- 

ology, the British had made possible and had actually brought about 

the return of the Dutch, 


The Dutch resentment was deeper and, surprisingly enough, con- 

siderably more malevolent. Superficially, of course, there was the 

ordinary friction which might have been expected from the proud 

and independent Dutch finding themselves placed under British 

military control, particularly after the long internment so many of 

them had undergone. It was natural, also, that the newly-released 

Dutch should react when they saw British forces taking the best of 

their pre-war houses, furniture, and automobiles for military pur- 

poses. There was nothing unusual in all this. The same attitude had 

been encountered by United States forces in the liberation of Italy, 

France, and the Netherlands. 


The source of the Dutch grievance, however, was much deeper 

and more unique. Between August 17, 1945, and November 30, 

1946, a revolutionary Japanese-inspired rebellion had, from the 

Dutch point of view, been given a spurious respectability and in- 

direct recognition. This rebellion had become a “government,” the 

“Republic of Indonesia,” whose de facto authority had been tenta- 






tively recognized by the Netherlands Indies Government at Ling- 

gadjati on November 15. From the Dutch point of view, the illegal 

uprising was now a quasi-legal government with a history of col- 

laboration behind it, and with at least an implied promise for the 

future which made impossible a return to the pre-war way of living 

for the Dutch; a government which actually ran and continued to run 

the civil police, telephone, and power systems in the Dutch bridge- 

heads of Java and Sumatra; a government which was conducting one 

of the largest “smuggling” trades in history from Sumatra; a govern- 

ment which had concluded an agreement as an equal party with the 

Government of India to ship rice to India in exchange for textiles 

and other “incentive” goods; a government which had possession of 

the richest producing areas of the Indies; a government, in short, 

which made a return to the pre-war pattern of trade temporarily im- 



After four years spent in harsh internment, many of the Dutch had 

longed for a return to pre-war ease and normalcy. As they looked 

around them on November 30, even the most bitter among them had 

begun to realize that the Republic could now neither be talked nor 

wished nor propagandized out of existence. Their natural disap- 

pointment and bitterness were vented against the British whom they 

held responsible for the fourteen months which had solidified the 

Republican position and had sealed the fate of the “good old days.” 

Frustration and chagrin over the unexpected turn of events required 

a scapegoat, and the British filled the bill. 


For, whatever the merits of the Republic and of Merdeka^ it had 

been the six weeks of British delay in coming to Java that had 

given the Republic time to organize, and it was the weakness of the 

British forces that enabled the Japanese to turn over their equip- 

ment to nationalist groups, and for Japanese to help put organiza- 

tional finishing touches on the new Indonesian army. The British 

had, in many cases, dealt with the Indonesian leaders as equals, and 

this particularly grated on the colonial Dutch mind. They some- 

times addressed Indonesian officials as “your excellency,” as General 

Hawthorne allegedly called the Indonesian mayor of Bandoeng at 

their first meeting. In Dutch eyes, the British had restrained their 

troops and the Dutch troops from taking offensive action against 

harassing Indonesian forces. They had sent several unofficial parties 

to Soerakarta and to Djokjakarta in the early days for talks with 

Soekarno and other Indonesian leaders, and they had placed a plane 

at the disposal of the Republic for official flights to and from Djokja 






and Batavia. From the Dutch point of view, these actions were viola- 

tions of the legal Dutch authority, and the duplicity was attributed 

variously to imperialistic British designs on Sumatra, to the British 

desire to retard rehabilitation in the Indies until it had been com- 

pleted in Malaya in order to secure competitive advantages in world 

markets for such products as rubber, tin, spices and gums which the 

two areas produced in common, and to British plans for a puppet 

Indonesian government under British hegemony. 


That there is some basis, coincidental or not, for this antipathy, 

is possible. That British instigation could, to any considerable ex- 

tent, have been responsible for the nationalistic opposition encoun- 

tered by the Dutch, is well-nigh impossible. An active nationalist 

movement in the Indies had been much in evidence since its founda- 

tion in 1908, and the Dutch had been obliged periodically to repress 

nationalist outbreaks by force in the nineteen-twenties and ‘thirties. 

The Indies had, in many respects, been an admirably and efficiently- 

run colony. Production had been high, and living conditions, for the 

population as a whole, had been relatively good compared with those 

in other colonial areas in Asia. But there had been no democracy or 

official encouragement of nationalist aspirations whatever, under the 

Dutch colonial rule; political discontent and resentment among edu- 

cated Indonesians had been rife. 


Furthermore, there is the fact that, whatever their intentions be- 

hind .the scenes, the British trained over 10,000 Dutch officers and 

men in 1946, and supplied arms for the outfitting of 62,000 Dutch 

troops before leaving the Indies in November. The backbone of 

Dutch military strength in the Indies still is, in fact, British-trained 

and British-equipped. 


Whether the situation would have turned out differently had 

American troops come to Java is open to conjecture. That there 

would have been certain differences in procedure is obvious. The 

Americans would, first of all, have come in sufficient strength and 

number to accept the surrender of the Japanese and much of their 

equipment, to round up and intern them, and to make the use of 

Japanese troops against the Indonesians unnecessary. The Ameri- 

cans would possibly have released and evacuated the Allied prisoners 

of war and internees more rapidly than did the British. But even 

after these measures had been taken, it still is certain that the na- 

tionalist problem would have arisen; that the nationalist core would 

have been strong and effective; that sufficient military equipment 

would still have been available for the Indonesians to maintain an 






army; that the Americans would have been at least as unwilling as 

the British to conduct extended military operations against the In- 

donesians; that the American troops might have been considerably 

more partisan on ideological grounds than were the British, and 

that they might have been especially unfriendly to any token mani- 

festation of Dutch military might. 


At least the conclusion seems warranted that the United States 

was temporarily saved from a severe headache, from much criticism 

and sharp animosity by the decision of Potsdam to delegate the re- 

occupation tasks in the Indies to S.E.A.C. and not to MacArthur. 

The British were faced with a particularly difficult and explosive set 

of problems in the re-occupation of Indonesia, but even their best 

and sincerest attempts to solve these problems received neither the 

thanks nor the credit they were due. It is not likely that the United 

States would have been more successful under the circumstances. 













On March 25, 1947, at the Rijswljk Palace In Batavia in front 

of a larger-than-life portrait of Queen Wilhelmina, the Dutch Com- 

mission-General and the Indonesian Delegation signed the Ling- 

gadjati Agreement after sixteen months of official and unofficial 

negotiating sixteen months crammed with statesmanship, persever- 

ance, restraint and also pettiness, stubbornness, provocation and bun- 

gling on both sides. Sporadically broken off when agreement seemed 

impossible or when consultations with the Hague or Djokjakarta be- 

came necessary, the negotiations were dominated by the will and 

stature of two men, Sjahrir and van Mook. Their convictions in the 

face of harsh criticism and their self-control when extremist pres- 

sures were exerted upon them from their respective camps were 

largely responsible for preventing a complete breakdown as long as 

they .did, and for the slow if not always steady improvement in rela- 

tions between the Republic and the Dutch Government. 


Over all the negotiations hung the specter of mutual distrust and 

suspicion. This proved the most powerful obstacle in the way of a 

successful meeting of minds, again and again preventing a full 

fruition of the work of van Mook and Sjahrir. Van Mook was the 

target of attack from both the Indonesian and Dutch press; Sjahrir 

had spent eight years in Dutch prisons; yet both kept their heads and 

continued resolutely with their painfully slow task. Conflict of many 

luminaries and personalities characterized the sixteen months of 

heated negotiations: Sir Archibald Clark-Kerr and Lord Killearn, on 

the British side; Willem Schermerhorn, and the dignified, conscien- 

tious Feike de Boer of the Dutch Commission-General; the strong, 

intense Amir Sjarifoeddin and the colorful, photogenic enfant ter- 

rible of the Indonesian Delegation, Dr. A. K. Gam, on the Republi- 

can side. These forceful personalities, and others as well, contributed 

their share to the evolution of events. Nevertheless, Sjahrir and van 








Mook dominated the discussions; their hardheaded realism and fore- 

sight were largely responsible for such progress as was made, until 

the signing of Linggadjati. 


Van Mook, criticized bitterly by right-wing groups in the Nether- 

landsincluding the former Prime Minister Pieter Gerbrandy for 

being a traitor and a weakling, exercised the careful, plodding, de- 

pendable statesmanship without which a permanent alienation of 

the Republic would have materialized immediately. A keen if not 

brilliant negotiator, van Mook headed the body by Dutch liberal 

opinion which favored protection of Dutch economic interests at the 

price of political compromise. The Linggadjati Agreement was an 

epitome of this viewpoint. When, under the influence of pressures 

which will be examined later, Dr. van Mook’s views underwent a 

substantial alteration, the hostilities of July 21, 1947, resulted. 


On the other side, Sjahrir was responsible for holding back ex- 

tremists who sought to turn Soekarno’s policy away from compromise 

with the Dutch. Sjahrir is probably one of the most reasonable, un- 

assuming and moderate revolutionaries who ever lived; he demon- 

strated that unusual combination of tenacity of purpose and willing- 

ness to compromise which characterizes true statesmanship, and 

which was so instrumental in the framing of the final agreement; 

a combination which is all the more remarkable in a man so young 

(thirty-eight years), the major part of whose political career, from 

1934 to 1942, had been spent in exile in Tjipinang, Java, Boven 

Digoel, New Guinea, and Banda Neira. 




In November 1945, the cornerstone of the returning Dutch Gov- 

ernment’s policy was a speech made by Queen Wilhelmina on De- 

cember 6, 1942, outlining the future concessions which the Crown 

was prepared to make in its colonial policy. As with most broad 

policy statements, the Queen’s speech was properly generalized and 

open to diverse interpretation. It was the task of the returning Dutch 

Government to adapt this policy to prevailing circumstances in such 

a way as to secure the greatest possible protection of Dutch interests 

in the Indies. Since the colonial government had not had sufficient 

information concerning these circumstances, and particularly con- 

cerning the character and strength of the new Republic of Indonesia, 

it had to work out this adaptation gradually. Temporarily, therefore, 

pending test and scrutiny of the new forces, the Dutch stuck closely 

to the letter of the Queen’s speech and refused to make any specific 






or new commitments. Much ill-feeling and animosity could have 

been avoided if the van Mook government had from the start pos- 

sessed the knowledge, capacity and resiliency to supplement the 

letter of the Queen’s speech with a more friendly attitude toward 

the budding, if not perfected, Republic. 


The official Dutch policy had no place for, and took no account of, 

the revolutionary Republic. This, indeed, was at first simply dis- 

missed and discredited as a temporary and weak Japanese-inspired 

movement which would collapse as soon as its collaborationist 

leaders were arrested. When Dr. van der Plas, the first representative 

of the Netherlands Indies Government to return to Indonesia, went 

as far as to suggest that Soekarno be invited to submit his sugges- 

tions for the reconstruction of the Indies, he was reprimanded by his 

own government. Even van Mook’s meeting with Soekarno in 

Batavia in early November was described by the Hague as taking 

place “against the expressed wish of the Netherlands Government 

and against its instructions.” Dutch policy as laid down by the 

Queen did not appear to have any room for a revolutionary regime 

in Indonesia, whose sponsorship and strength did not derive from 

Dutch-approved sources. 


In brief, the policy outlined by the Queen reaffirmed the Nether- 

lands Government-in-exile statement of January 27, 1942, which 

called for a Round Table Conference of the Kingdom consisting of 

representatives of the Indies, Surinam, and Curasao, as well as the 

Netherlands, “to discuss collectively a project for the reconstruction 

of the Kingdom and its constituents along lines suitable to the 

changed circumstances.” The Queen in December of the same year 

supplemented this by stating that the Kingdom should be recon- 

structed on the basis of a complete and equal partnership among the 

constituents, and that the Round Table Conference “will direct its 

efforts towards the creation of a State Union (Rijksverband) in 

which the Netherlands, the Indies, Surinam and Curasao will be 

equal partners” while retaining the right of self-government on 

purely domestic matters. 


On November 6, 1945, the Netherlands Indies Government re- 

iterated this policy by direct quotation from the Queen’s speech. In 

addition, the Government recognized the legal, nationalistic aspira- 

tions of the Indonesians (not of the Republic, however), but indi- 

cated clearly that the Netherlands Government considered itself re- 

sponsible for directing the development of Indonesia up to the time 

when it would be able to stand as an equal partner with the other 






three components of the reconstructed Kingdom. Also, the Dutch 

statement promised a democratic representative body to consist 

predominantly of Indonesians, an expansion of educational facil- 

ities, a recognition of the Indonesian language as the official lan- 

guage along with Dutch, and abolition of social and racial discrimi- 

nation. This program promised broad revisions in colonial policy, 

which, by 1939 standards, were themselves revolutionary in charac- 



Before the war, and after the revision of the Netherlands Consti- 

tution of 1922, the Kingdom had been described as being composed 

of four constituent parts the Netherlands, the Netherlands Indies, 

Surinam and Curasao, It was not, however, at that time stated or pre- 

sumed that these parts were on an equal footing. The Crown re- 

tained the right to suspend all ordinances enacted by the Nether- 

lands Indies Government. Secondary and final control of the Indies 

budget, as well as the right to legislate on subjects affecting thfc in- 

ternal affairs of the Indies, were retained by the States-General in 

the Netherlands. Until the Japanese oil negotiations in 1940-41, 

which van Mook handled from Batavia in his capacity as Lt. Gover- 

nor General, all foreign relations of the Indies were managed from 

the Hague. The Volksraad or Parliament of the Indies was, more- 

over, a quasi-legislative body, partly elective and partly appointive 

in composition, which could only initiate certain kinds of legislation 

and which was, in any case, subject to the Governor General’s veto. 

Political liberties had been strictly defined by a rigid code, and sec- 

ondary and higher education had been limited. 


There had, then, been no political democracy in the Indies before 

the war. High-placed liberals in the Netherlands Foreign Office have 

readily admitted this fact. The Government’s new policy of Novem- 

ber 6, 1945, thus was a marked and progressive divergence from pre- 

war policy, even though it carried no mention or acknowledgment 

of the Indonesian Republic. 


The zealous, self-conscious republican leaders had certain con- 

ceptions which were basically at variance with the Dutch policy 

statement of November 6. Primarily, they favored the development 

of Indonesia under the Republic rather than under the aegis and re- 

sponsibility of the Dutch, as projected by the November 6 statement. 

In addition to this difference, and to the further estrangement oc- 

casioned by four years of Japanese occupation and the stimulating, 

sometimes belligerent new feeling of dignity with which the na- 

tionalists felt themselves endowed, there was the belief, strong and 






widespread among them, that the Dutch could not be trusted to carry 

out their promises. Right or wrong, justified or unjustified, this dis- 

trust persisted. It made the Indonesians unwilling to take any of the 

Dutch suggestions at face value in November 1945, and for that mat- 

ter in November 1946, when the Linggadjati Agreement was drawn 

up. This distrust was reciprocated by the Netherlands Government 

which feared the Republic was out to sabotage all Dutch interests, 

legitimate as well as illegitimate. Moreover, the distrustful die-hard 

elements on both sides were to find abundant justification for their 

fears in the course of the trying events of the following months of 



The Indonesian position was that the Republic claimed to be and 

was the de facto authority over all the territory of the Indies, and 

that the Republic was prepared to negotiate with the Dutch as a 

specially interested power, although recognition of the Republic’s 

independence was the sine qua non of any such negotiations. Both 

the Dutch and the Indonesian basic claims were to be modified sub- 

stantially before the Linggadjati Agreement was concluded. 


On November 14, the Republic took a first step toward com- 

promise by altering its governmental form. The Soekarno Cabinet, 

which had been chosen by and responsible to the President accord- 

ing to the American system, was replaced by a Cabinet headed by 

Soetan Sjahrir, and responsible to the Central National Indonesian 

Committee (K.N.LP.). Sjahrir was an ardent nationalist with no 

taint of Japanese collaboration, and it was expected that the Dutch 

would deal with him where they had been unwilling to deal with the 

allegedly collaborationist Soekarno. The change, which was the most 

basic and lasting one to take place in the formal composition of the 

Republic until Sjahrir’s resignation on June 27, 1947, was a signifi- 

cant concession under the circumstances. In the long run, further- 

more, it strengthened the Republic’s position as well, since Sjahrir 

was probably a shrewder negotiator than Soekarno would have been. 




On November 17, the first informal discussions between Sjahrir 

and van Mook took place under General Christison’s direction. The 

initial optimism which the beginning of the discussions occasioned 

was short-lived, however. After only the most cursory notice of the 

Dutch policy statement of November 6, and without any formal dis- 

cussion of the proposals which it contained, the meetings were 

ended. They broke down over the question of the return of the 






Dutch troops to the islands. Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin could not agree 

to this under any conditions, until the Republic’s status had been rec- 

ognized. The K.N.I.P. supported Sjahrir’s stand by an overwhelm- 

ing vote of confidence, and in the tense atmosphere engendered 

by the outspoken and frank disagreement and distrust between 

the negotiators, the extremist terror of November and December 

broke out in Batavia, Bandoeng, and Soerabaja. While the terror 

was set loose by the breakdown in discussions, it soon took its own 

head, and could not be controlled by the Republic. It is interesting 

to note that although the Republic did not itself control the terror, 

no cleavage developed between the Pemoeda or youth extremists 

who actually created the disorder and the Republican Government. 

The Pemoeda groups, in fact, voted to support the Republic even 

while carrying on, separately and locally, their armed activities. 


With the discussions halted after November 22, the terror grew 

worse, and at the Singapore Conference on December 6, General 

Christison received a mandate to re-establish law and order in as 

large an area as possible. The Dutch, however, were informed at the 

time that widespread offensive action against the Indonesians was 

not part of the British re-occupation task or policy. 


On December 15, in the midst of the political deadlock and wide- 

spread civil disorder, van Mook left for Holland. Of the several low 

points in the course of developments, this was perhaps the lowest. 

Throughout the Indies terror was rampant. The Dutch seemed to 

have neither the imagination to sponsor cooperation with the Re- 

publican movement, nor the force to suppress it. The political aims 

of the Indonesians and the Dutch were at variance over the question 

of the status of the Republic itself, and neither side was willing to 

make concessions lest they be interpreted as a sign of weakness. The 

British military role, moreover, was inadequate due to indecision 

and insufficient strength, and anti-British feeling on both sides was 

mounting. World opinion was shocked by the travesty on “libera- 

tion” represented by the unexpected course of events in Indonesia. 

The United Nations Security Council was casting an interested eye 

on Indonesia as a subject to be added to its already crowded agenda. 


The first exchange of views between Dutch and Indonesians cer- 

tainly showed little of that statesmanship or constructive com- 

promise which were to become so necessary at Linggadjati. At the 

end of November, the liberal elements on both sides were submerged 

under a flood of bitterness and distrust, and the future seemed dark 

indeed. The Linggadjati Agreement was all the more remarkable 






when considered against the hopeless background of November and 

December 1945. 


By the time van Mock returned to Batavia one month after his de- 

parture, the atmosphere had improved considerably, partly because 

of the discussions between the British and Dutch Governments at 

Chequers, and partly because of the incipient recognition by the 

Schermerhorn Labor Government at these discussions that the Re- 

public could not be ignored or discredited but must be faced and 

dealt with. From the Dutch point of view, the discussions in London 

at the year’s end had resulted in a British agreement to devote in- 

creasing effort to assuring the safety of the A.P.W.I. in the Indies 

and to the maintenance of order. General Christison was to be re- 

called and replaced by the “unpolitical” Lt. General Sir Montague 

Stopford, whom the Dutch found more acceptable. From the In- 

donesian point of view, the London decision to withdraw the old- 

guard Dutch militarists, Admiral Helfrich and General van Oyen, 

was a step in the right direction. Furthermore, the moderate com- 

muniqus of the liberal Schermerhorn Government, with which the 

Indonesians had had no previous contact, also were regarded favor- 

ably by the Republic. Finally, the announcement that the British 

would send to Indonesia Sir Archibald Clark-Kerr now Lord Inver- 

chapel their senior career diplomat and ambassador-designate to the 

United States, to facilitate a resumption of discussions, was wel- 

comed on both sides. 


While the Security Council commenced discussions on the In- 

donesian question, van Mook and Sjahrir met for the first time in 

over two months on February 10, 1946, under Clark-Kerr’s guiding 

hand, and the first constructive proposals of the Dutch Government 

to the Republic were presented. In the Government’s new statement 

of policy that day, and in the explanatory memoire which followed 

six days later, it was stated that the Government would seek the ap- 

proval of all important regions and population groups in the Nether- 

lands Indies for the re-organization of the Indies as aii autonomous 

commonwealth under the Crown. It was, moreover, promised in the 

memoire of February 16 that after a period of preparation and con- 

solidation within the Kingdom, the duration of which would be de- 

termined by discussion and agreement, Indonesia would be given 

the right freely to choose its own political future, and the Nether- 

lands would endeavor to sponsor its admission to the United Na- 


With this resumption of negotiations and presentation of formal 






Dutch proposals to Sjahrir, a seed of promise, albeit a frail one, 

was planted. The Security Council reacted promptly by dropping 

the subject from its agenda, after Russia and Poland had unsuccess- 

fully supported a Ukrainian resolution to send a United Nations in- 

vestigating committee to Indonesia. The position of the United States 

on the Council was in opposition to the resolution on the explicit 

ground that there were now signs of progress between the parties 

concerned which made United Nations investigation no longer nec- 

essary, and on the tacit ground that the suggested cure, with pre- 

sumably some Russian ingredient, might be worse than the ailment 



Actually the proposals of February 10 were still a long way from 

acceptability, and their reception in Indonesian circles was cool. 

The proposals nowhere either mentioned the Republic nor ac- 

corded it any direct or indirect recognition whatever* No guarantees 

were given to the functioning Republican Government or its calum- 

niated leaders, and the promise of an interim period was considered 

too vague to be meaningful. The more extreme nationalist Laskar 

and Pemoeda groups, as well as the Masjoemi and P.N.I. or Na- 

tionalist Parties, openly rejected the proposals and reiterated their 

demands for complete and immediate independence of all of Indo- 

nesia, while the armed extremist bands continued their harassing ac- 

tions against the British forces in the Outer Islands and in the bridge- 

head areas of Java and Sumatra. The discussions seemed likely to 

break off again, but the redoubtable Sjahrir clung to the hope that 

frank discussion could accomplish more than terror. Almost alone 

among the nationalists in this hope, he went to Djokjakarta with the 

new Dutch proposals and persuaded the Central National Indo- 

nesian Committee (K.N.I.P.) and President Soekarno that, unac- 

ceptable as the proposals were to the Republic, in their present form, 

they should be considered as the starting point for further discus- 

sions aiming at securing more acceptable terms. Returning from 

Djokjakarta on March 4, stronger than ever and with a plenary man- 

date from the K.N.LP. to negotiate, Sjahrir began the long uphill 

struggle to identify the Republic with the forces of compromise and 

discussion, rather than with those of disorder and terror. 


Sjahrir countered the somewhat abstract proposals of February 10 

with a comprehensive statement of the Republic’s attitude. He pro- 

posed that recognition of the Republic of Indonesia, as a sovereign 

state exercising authority throughout the archipelago, be regarded 

as a starting point, and that thereafter close cooperation with and 






assistance from the Netherlands Government on all matters would 

be welcomed. From this point on, van Mook took the initiative and 

suggested exploratory discussions along the lines indicated by the 

French blueprint for Indo-China. According to the French plans, 

the Vietnamese Republic in Indo-China was to be an etat libre or 

free state within the Federation Indo-Chinoise, which in turn was 

to be a part of the Union Frangaise. Making it clear to Sjahrir that 

he was not empowered to make any commitment beyond the pro- 

posals of February 10, Dr. van Mook nevertheless agreed to investi- 

gate Sjahrir’s new suggestions along the lines of the Indo-China 

blueprint. While still an unofficial action, this fundamental change 

in attitude was a tribute to van Mook’s imagination and adaptabil- 

ity, and was a suitable and complementary reply to the restraint ex- 

ercised by Sjahrir after his return from Djokjakarta on March 4. 

Like Sjahrir’s expression of willingness to continue negotiations at 

that time, van Mook’s forward step was made against a storm of 

criticism from the die-hards. 


The explorative discussions which ensued between van Mook and 

Sjahrir, (with Clark-Kerr, in his own words, confining himself to 

“pouring the drinks”), made considerable progress up to the point 

at which the Republic agreed that, once it had been recognized, it 

might take its place within a federated Indonesia connected with 

the Kingdom. At this point, van Mook felt that sufficient progress 

had been made along the new line of approach to warrant his return 

to Holland in order to determine whether the new course would be 

acceptable at the Hague, and whether his own mandate to negotiate 

would be extended by the Netherlands Government beyond the 

limitations of the February 10 statement. 


Consequently, van Mook returned to Holland in early April, and 

Clark-Kerr, who had been sent to Indonesia to get the discussions 

started again, returned to England en route to his new post in Wash- 

ington. Upon his return, van Mook’s views found strong support 

from the Labor Government and particularly from the Minister of 

Overseas Territories, J. H. A. Logemann, and strong opposition 

from the van Poll Commission 1 which had returned from a trip to 

Indonesia to inform the Lower House of developments there. Loge- 

mann himself undertook the difficult task of making the unpalatable 

concessions contemplated by van Mook acceptable to a Lower House 


1 The van Poll Commission was appointed as a fact-finding group to report directly 

to Parliament on the situation in Indonesia. Named for its chairman, Max van Poll 

of the Catholic Party, the Commission completed its three-month mission and re- 

turned to the Netherlands at the end of April 1946. 






which was beginning to become more conservative as reconstruction 

in Holland progressed. Finally, with grave misgivings from the Anti- 

Revolutionary and Catholic Parties as well as from the van Poll 

Parliamentary Commission, the Lower House agreed to support the 

new policies outlined by Logemann in his speech of May 2. 


In the first of two speeches in which Logemann eloquently de- 

fended van Mook’s policy, deplored the van Poll Commission’s 

superficial report which had stressed the Japanese-inspired origin 

of the Republic and concluded with a remarkable statement em- 

phasizing the vitality of nationalism in Indonesia and the need for 

cooperation with, rather than opposition to, the Republic, he 



“The reality of nationalism is a primary fact for which we stand and 

will continue to stand. … In Indonesia this [nationalistic] movement is 

above all other considerations. One can indeed make a distinction and 

state that the broad masses of the population have hardly arrived at 

political awareness and that among these broad masses nationalism is 

still only a spiritual awareness which is not of much practical con- 

sequence. If, however, one acknowledges the presence of any awareness, 

one must ultimately acknowledge the vitality of nationalism. I am con- 

vinced that there is not one man of influence in Java who is not a part 

of the nationalist movement in one way or another, although some value 

law and order so highly that they stand with the Government [rather 

than with the Republic]. . . . There is only one realistic approach from 

our side, alongside of which all else is pure fantasy; and that is that if we 

wish to solve this problem in a way which will stand the criticism of 

world history, then we must, with all the earnestness and sincerity that is 

in us … aim at cooperation with the [nationalistic] group [of Sjahrir] 

and therewith to reach agreement. There is no other way.” 


The Parliamentary debates in Holland closed on this hopeful 

note. Van Mook returned to Batavia. The new proposals, which he 

presented to Sjahrir on May 19, 1946, for the first time specifically 

countenanced the Republic and offered de facto recognition of the 

Republic’s authority in Java, with the understanding that the Re- 

public would become part of a federated Indonesian State within 

the Kingdom, such a state to have the right of eventual independ- 

ence after a suitable interim period should it so choose. 


These new proposals had come a long way from the February 1 

policy and seemed a step toward real agreement. But they were still 

unacceptable to the Republic. The picture of hope and optimism 

that prevailed on May 19 was to change sharply by a series of un- 

fortunate incidents which almost caused a complete rupture of the 






improved relations which van Hook and Sjahrir had worked to 

build up. 


After Sjahrir received van Mook’s second set of proposals on May 

19, he returned to Djokja for a Cabinet session to discuss the new 

Dutch offer. At the same time, general elections were called in Hol- 

land. The Schermerhorn Cabinet resigned on May 21, although 

continuing to function until a new Cabinet should be formed. 

Sjahrir returned from Djokja with counterproposals to the Dutch 

offer on June 17, but van Mook was not yet ready to conduct further 

formal discussions until he received a new mandate or until the new 

political line-up and policy in Holland had been clarified. The 

counterproposals rejected the proposals of May 19 and suggested in- 

stead recognition of the Republic’s de facto authority in both Java 

and Sumatra and the formation of an alliance with, rather than a 

partnership under, the Crown. 


Further events forced the Sjahrir-van Mook negotiations out of 

the limelight. In the latter part of June 1946, a coup d’etat was at- 

tempted against the Soekarno-Sjahrir Government. Led by the Com- 

munist Tanmalakka and the disaffected, ambitious Soebardjo, who 

had been dropped from the Foreign Affairs portfolio when Sjahrir 

organized his first Cabinet, this “popular front” movement was 

sharply leftist in character, and opposed the dealings with the Dutch, 

aiming at the overthrow of Sjahrir and Soekarno. Sjahrir was kid- 

napped by this misguided group in Soerakarta toward the end of 

June, and for a while it was rumored in Batavia that he had been, 

or would be, killed by his kidnappers. What such a catastrophe 

would have meant, it is hard to say, but it might well have ruptured 

relations between the ‘Dutch and Indonesians permanently. For at 

that time, Sjahrir was probably the only Indonesian acceptable for 

negotiations by both sides. Had he been killed, it is likely that right- 

wing Dutch pressure would have diverted the policy of the Nether- 

lands Government toward stricter and harsher measures. 


Acting quickly and decisively, Soekarno proclaimed a personal 

dictatorship over Republican areas on June 30. Amir Sjarifoeddin, 

the Minister of Defense, ordered the arrest of the ten leaders of the 

attempted coup and secured the release of Sjahrir. Soekarno’s and 

Sjarifoeddin’s drastic but effective action preserved the continuity of 

the Republic and nipped in the bud what might have grown into a 

political break-up in the interior. 


A new Cabinet was formed in the Netherlands on July 2, consisting 

of a Catholic-Labor coalition, with the Catholic Party controlling 






about 30 per cent of the seats in the Lower House and Labor a close 

second with approximately 24 per cent. The farsighted Minister 

Logemann was replaced by the Catholic Party’s representative, Jonk- 

man, but no immediate change in policy toward Indonesia material- 

ized because the support of the liberal-leftist Labor Party was 

necessary for the new Cabinet to govern. The later stiffening of 

Dutch policy, however, was not unrelated to the earlier change in 

the makeup of the Netherlands government. 


After formation of the new government in the Netherlands, 

Sjahrir’s counterproposals of June 17 were held in the Dutch 

Cabinet for study, and the policy in Indonesia came up for full de- 

bate in the Lower House. Definite action was urged because of the 

increasingly difficult foreign-exchange position which the political 

situation was aggravating in the Indies. Again press influence from 

rightist and military groups advocated forcing the issue. 


In Batavia, van Mook was authorized to proceed with the imple- 

mentation of the February 10 proposals for the time being as best 

he could, and to consult with all regional and population groups in 

the Indies for the reorganization of the islands on a federal basis 

within the Kingdom. It was probably felt, furthermore, that diver- 

sionary action was necessary in order to shift the center of gravity 

and the spotlight away from the Republic, which was already begin- 

ning to solidify its position by establishing contacts abroad particu- 

larly with the new Interim Government of India. 


In the implementation of this policy, van Mook called a confer- 

ence of regional representatives from Borneo, the Celebes and 

Moluccas and the Lesser Soenda Islands (the so-called “Great East” 

areas), Bangka, Billiton, and Riouw. On July 19, at Malino near 

Macassar, a conference took place of forty such representatives, who 

had been chosen by local electoral boards or appointed by the local 

Paroeman Agoeng or Great Council, with supervisory control* over 

the panel of eligible candidates exercised by the Dutch Department 

of the Interior. It is interesting to note that representatives from 

Java and Sumatra were not invited to attend the conference on the 

official grounds that “political conditions there made a free expres- 

sion of the people’s will impossible.” In reply, the Republic ex- 

pressed contempt for the conference which Dr. Hatta characterized 

as “a puppet show . . . whose performers were designated by the 

Netherlands Indies Government.” 


After several days of discussion, the Malino Conference adopted 

resolutions calling for the eventual formation of a federal state, the 






United States of Indonesia, to consist of four equal and semi- 

autonomous states: Java, Sumatra, Borneo and the Great East. The 

conference also confirmed the plan of having a “defined period of 

cooperation within the Kingdom in order to enable the U.S.I, to 

create the governmental apparatus without which it could not make 

a free and independent decision concerning the basis on which 

future relations between the Netherlands and Indonesia should be 

continued.” The conference also expressed the belief that “there 

ought to be lasting voluntary cooperation between the Netherlands 

and the U.S.I.,” but could agree on no definite time limit for the 

initial preparation period. 


Again, at the Pangkal Pinang Conference in the beginning of 

October, the resolutions reached at Malino were endorsed by repre- 

sentatives of the European, Eurasian, Chinese and Arab racial 



Van Mook was prosecuting the Government’s proposals of Febru- 

ary 10 energetically and constructively, before getting back to the 

primary problem of negotiations with the Republic. Actually, al- 

though some of the “rubber-stamp” accusations which the Republic 

directed against both Malino and Pangkal Pinang may have been 

justified, these charges overshot their mark. At Malino, in fact, the 

economic bill of rights drawn up by the conference included strong 

criticism of Dutch Government-sponsored monopolies and economic 

privileges, particularly those formerly enjoyed by the Royal Dutch 

Navigation Company shipping monopoly in the Outer Islands, and 

the special position of the Java Bank. At Pangkal Pinang, one of the 

Arab speakers had to be called sharply to order for derogatory re- 

marks he was making about the Netherlands Indies Government. 

Between these two conferences, three events took place, which 

later proved of major significance in facilitating the Linggadjati 

Draft Agreement. On August 13, the K.N.I.P, ended Soekarno’s 

dictatorship, and Sjahrir returned to the post of Prime Minister, 

heading a new Cabinet whose main change was that it included eight 

instead of five members of the rightist Islamic Masjoemi Party, 

which was inclined to favor a strongly antagonistic policy toward 

the Dutch proposals. On August 17, the States-General in the 

Netherlands enacted a law setting up a Commission General to repre- 

sent the Netherlands Government in the forthcoming negotiations. 

The Commission was given almost plenary powers to negotiate and 

to arrive at an agreement on the spot without having to refer back 

to the Hague*, as van Mook had formerly been required to do. It was 






expected that this additional power would expedite agreement, and 

this proved to be the result. The former Prime Minister, Schermer- 

horn, leader of the Labor Party and a scholarly humanist as well, 

was chosen to head the Commission; the Catholic Party’s Max van 

Poll, Feike de Boer, the former director of the Netherlands Shipping 

Company, and van Mook rounded out the membership. At the end 

of September 1946, they arrived in Batavia to begin their task which 

seven weeks later was to result in the Linggadjati Draft Agreement. 

Perhaps most important, a semi-official Dutch mission headed by 

Dr. P. J. Koets, the Chief of van Mook’s Cabinet, made a trip to the 

interior of Java, from September 15 to September 20, at the Repub- 

lic’s invitation. The impression brought back by Dr. Koets was 

highly favorable to the Republic, With remarkable candor, the first 

high Netherlands Indies Government official to visit the interior 

since the re-occupation described the order, peacefulness, productive 

activity, friendliness, and relative economic prosperity prevailing in 

the interior, in the face of appalling handicaps. Inter alia Dr. Koets 

stated, contradicting finally and definitely many ideas which had 

been generally accepted in Dutch circles: 


“The general picture we saw was that of a society which was not in the 

course of dissolution but which is being consolidated. … I must add 

that I have had talks with many people whom I knew in former years, as 

well as with young people whom I met for the first time. Each time I 

asked: ‘What is for you the essential thing that has happened during the 

last year?’ … I received the same answer. … ‘It is the feeling of human 

dignity.’ People now realize that they are capable of doing something. 

From conversations which went beyond superficialities I heard of the 

fear of a return to colonial status. . . . Not so much because people feared 

economic exploitation or domination, or something of that sort, . . . but 

rather because of a fear that they might lose again this new feeling which 

they had joyously acquired, which they had, so to speak, discovered in 

themselves, and which the people feel is something so precious that they 

cannot live without it. This is a reality of which we must be thoroughly 



The Koets report, coming unexpectedly from a high and responsi- 

ble Dutch official, did much to improve the atmosphere of the dis- 

cussions which were resumed between the Commission General and 

the Indonesian delegation on October 7, under the chairmanship of 

Lord Killearn. Probably more than any single event since the start 

of the negotiations a year earlier, Koets’s candid appraisal awakened 

a real hope in the hearts of many ardent nationalists that cooperation 






and understanding with the Dutch was possible. In the total course 

of the negotiations, the Koets mission and report stand as the most 

shining examples of Dutch willingness to recognize changes and to 

make adaptations to them. 




It had become apparent that if Sjahrir held to his counterpro- 

posals of June 17, he could not accept the reaffirmation at Malino 

of the Dutch intention to separate Java and Sumatra by recognizing 

Republican de facto authority in Java only. A military truce was 

concluded under the sponsorship of the British Special Commis- 

sioner, Lord Killearn, on October 14, between the Allied (British 

and Dutch) forces under Lt. General Mansergh’s command and the 

Indonesian forces under General Soedirman’s command; never- 

theless, the Republic’s determination to stand by the unity of its 

authority in Sumatra as well as Java became obvious after the first 

discussions on October 7. Further concessions were necessary from 

the Dutch, and a new formula had to be found which would also 

satisfy the basic demands inherent in the Republic’s counterpro- 

posals of June 17. The creative statesmanship needed for this was 

not lacking and on November 12 the final compromise was reached 

at a hill station outside Cheribon, called Linggadjati. 


At Linggadjati, the Commission General for the first time met 

Soekarno officially. Dutch policy had come a long way from its non- 

recognition of the allegedly Japanese-inspired Republic. A number 

of concurrent factors provided the final impetus that was needed to 

bridge the gap between the two positions. The Koets report, the 

pressure of the economic standstill, the pending departure of British 

troops on November 30, a critical world opinion, and the galvaniz- 

ing influence of Lord Killearn, all had their effect. The agreement 

itself, initialed on November 15 in Batavia (though not signed until 

March 1947) was a tribute to the perseverance and integrity of van 

Mook and Sjahrir who had labored so long drawing its blueprint. 

The weaknesses in the final solution stemmed not so much from 

what it said but from what it did not say: from certain political 

realities which it ignored, and from the fact that the perseverance 

and integrity of its architects were not shared by its artisans. 


Linggadjati and the accompanying minutes provided inter alia: 2 


I. That the Netherlands Government recognize the Republic as 

the de facto authority in Java and Sumatra; 


2 For the complete English text of the Agreement, see Appendix, p. 175. 






2. That the Netherlands and Republican Governments cooperate 

toward the setting up of a sovereign democratic federal state, the 

United States of Indonesia, to consist of three states, the Republic 

of Indonesia, embracing Java and Sumatra, the state of Borneo, and 

the Great Eastern State; 


3. That the Netherlands and Republican Governments cooperate 

toward the formation of the Netherlands-Indonesian Union, to con- 

sist of the Kingdom of the Netherlands including the Netherlands, 

Surinam, and Curasao and the U.S.I., which Union would have as 

its head the Queen of the Netherlands; 


4. That the Netherlands-Indonesian Union and the U.S.I, be 

formed not later than January 1, 1949, and that the Union set up 

its own agencies for the regulation of matters of common interest to 

the member states, specifically, the matters of foreign affairs, de- 

fense, and certain financial and economic policies; 


5. Finally, the Agreement provided for a mutual reduction in 

troop strength and a gradual evacuation of Dutch troops from Re- 

publican areas as quickly as possible consistent with the maintenance 

of law and order, and for the recognition by the Republic of all 

claims by foreign nationals for the restitution and maintenance of 

their rights and properties within areas controlled by the Republic. 


On paper, at least, Linggadjati appeared to concur with most 

of the Republic’s demands as stated in Sjahrir’s counterproposals of 

June 17. The counterproposals had demanded the recognition of 

Republican de facto authority in Sumatra as well as in Java, and 

Linggadjati endorsed the Republic’s standpoint. Furthermore, ac- 

cording to the Agreement, the U.S.L would be a sovereign demo- 

cratic state and an equal partner of the Kingdom, rather than a 

partner of the Netherlands within the Kingdom as the Dutch had 

proposed. From a purely political point of view, the Netherlands 

seemed to have made the greater concessions. Nevertheless, it had 

maintained its basic, minimum requirements, i.e., keeping Indonesia 

under the Crown (which itself would acquire a dual function as 

sovereign of the Netherlands and “head of the Netherlands-Indo- 

nesian Union”), and reorganizing the Indies on a federal basis ac- 

cording to the Malino plan, with the Republic as one of several 

constituent states. 


The Agreement had two main and vital weaknesses which were 

to occasion a rapid degeneration of the situation up to its final ratifi- 

cation by the Netherlands and the Republican Governments, and 

even after its signing on March 25, 1947. In the first place, Linggad- 






jati referred continually to cooperation between the Netherlands 

and the Republic toward the construction of the U.S.L and the 

Netherlands-Indonesian Union; cooperation in the reduction of 

military forces and in the regulation of economic matters. Despite 

the Agreement, there were still many strong elements on both sides 

which were not yet ready for such cooperation, largely because they 

lacked the conviction that the other party was sincere and trust- 

worthy. In this sense, Linggadjati, whatever its craftsmanly states- 

manship, really represented only a somewhat premature agreement 

to agree. 


Secondly, Linggadjati called for a federal U.S.L to consist of three 

semi-autonomous states, the Great East 3 and Borneo as well as the 

Republic. It implied a paper equality of areas which are not, cannot 

and will not be equal economically, politically, or culturally. In the 

first place, Java and Sumatra together contain about 85 per cent of 

the total Indonesian population, and at least the same percentage 

of the educated Westernized intellectual group. Furthermore, before 

the war they accounted for between four-fifths and nine-tenths of 

the total export and import trade of the whole Indonesian archi- 

pelago. 4 The potential economic wealth of Sumatra, moreover, is 

probably greater than that of the whole remainder of the archipelago, 

with the possible exception of the unexplored vastness of New 

Guinea. Compared with the extremely top-heavy and unbalanced 

federal state envisioned by Linggadjati, the United States of America 

was at its inception a federation of equal parts. 


3 At Den Pasar in Bali on December 18, 1946, 60 representatives of daerahs, or 

regions, and 15 representatives of racial, cultural, social and, economic groups through- 

out the “Great East,” convened at the call of the Netherlands Indies Government to 

draw up a constitution for a new State of East Indonesia, according to the Malino 

plan. Van Hook’s intention was to go ahead with the projected plan for a federalized 

U.S.I. while final word concerning the Linggadjati Agreement was still pending in the 



According to the constitution of December 24, 1946, the new state was to exercise 

some initial local autonomy, but until the formation of the U.SJ., all matters per- 

taining to foreign affairs, defense, finance, trade, education, industrial and economic 

policy, public works, and so on, would be under the control of the Netherlands Indies 

Government. The Constitutional Convention chose the docile Balinese, Soekawati, as 

President and selected Macassar as the capital of the new state. 


The Republic interpreted Deri Pasar as a side-show apart from the main negotia- 

tions, and as a violation of the spirit if not the letter of Article 2 of Linggadjati, 

which provided that the “Netherlands and Republican Governments will cooperate in 

the formation of … the U.S.I.” The Republic felt that “East Indonesia” had been 

set up unilaterally, rather than cooperatively, and that the new state was simply a 

Dutch-controlled puppet with no will of its own. 


4 In 1939, approximately 85 per cent of the Netherlands Indies* exports came from 

Java and Sumatra, and approximately 90 per cent of total imports were for these 







On March 25, 1947, the Agreement was signed. At the time it was 

openly stated that both signatories bound themselves to different 

interpretations of the terms “cooperation” and “federal.” The 

Netherlands Government assumed that cooperation with the Repub- 

lic nevertheless implied a continuation of Dutch leadership and sole 

responsibility pending the formation of the U.S.I., while the Re- 

public interpreted the term to mean joint responsibility and mutual 

consultation in the setting up of the projected federation. Moreover, 

the Dutch interpreted the term “federal” to mean equal states with 

equal voices tuned in key with that of the Netherlands; while the 

Republic interpreted it to mean that a federal U.S.I, did not deny 

either the Republic’s own primacy among the component parts b} 

virtue of its greater political and economic wealth and maturity, nor 

its equal position as co-sponsor of the U.S.I, along with the Nether- 

lands Government. 


These basic and vital differences in interpretation made the out- 

look cloudy. As a protest against acceptance of the unworkable and 

unsettled terms, and the difficulties they foreshadowed for the future, 

de Boer, one of the most practical and liberal Dutch figures in 

Indonesia, tendered his resignation from the Commission just prior 

to the signing. The difficulties envisioned by de Boer were not long 

in materializing, for, although it was a remarkable and tangible 

instrument of compromise and statesmanship, Linggadjati was only 

a bare beginning of the adjustments which had to be made before 

Indonesian-Netherlands relations became stabilized on a new foot- 

ing. Sixteen months of tedious and nerve-wracking negotiations had 

produced an Agreement which was widely regarded as a panacea 

and final settlement. At best Linggadjati was only a first, if vital, 

step toward the political and economic reorganization of Indonesia. 


The rapid and critical degeneration of Indonesian-Dutch relations 

after Linggadjati leading to Sjahrir’s resignation on June 27, 1947 

and the outbreak of Dutch police action in July resulted not so 

much from what the Agreement said, but from what it failed to say, 

and from the absence of a real meeting of minds on the fundamental 

questions of cooperation and federalism. Political crises were to de- 

velop continually in the following months over the issues of a pro- 

posed Interim Government, a joint Dutch-Indonesian police force, 

a joint cease-fire order, and other practical questions. As one issue 

was resolved another was to take its place, while lurking in the back- 

ground and abetting each successive difference was a mutual distrust 

of motives and intentions. 



















Throughout the tedious and protracted diplomatic 

negotiations, the Republican Government managed to strengthen 

and solidify its position by increasing its contacts and friends abroad 

and by extending its control and authority at home. When, finally, 

the negotiations regarding the implementation of the Linggadjati 

Agreement were broken off after several earlier premature crises, 

and Dutch armed forces undertook a program of “limited police 

action” on July 21, 1947, the Republican Government was already 

in charge of a functioning and effective organization whose poten- 

tialities were still bright despite the initial military setbacks it sus- 



Moreover, when Dutch military operations began, the Republic’s 

position was considerably stronger and more firmly grounded than 

had been that of the revolutionary Vietnamese Government of Ho 

Chi Minh when French forces began their unsuccessful drive in 

Indo-China sixteen months earlier. During the two years since its 

birth, the Indonesian Republic had given rise to a functioning po- 

litical organization with unofficial representation in the Middle East 

under its Foreign Minister Hadji Agoes Salim, in India, and in 

Australia; with a financial mission on its way to the United States 

under Dr. Soemitro Djojohadikoesomo, an Indonesian economist 

and head of the Banking and Trading Corporation; with many 

friends in England and in the United States; and with its former 

Prime Minister, Soetan Sjahrir, embarking on a world tour to ce- 

ment these friendships and plead the Indonesian cause. 


At home, the Republican Government had centralized the com- 

mand of its armed forces. It had shipped more than 60,000 tons of 

rice to India in exchange for textiles and agricultural implements, 

and had made initial steps toward putting into effect its plans for 

public works and reconstruction within the interior of Java and 






Sumatra. The Government had formulated plans for a large-scale 

migration of population from overpopulated Java to underpopu- 

lated Sumatra. Finally, the Republic had made some progress in its 

control and rehabilitation of the sugar, rubber, quinine, and textile 

industries and had expressed the outlines of its economic policies to- 

ward labor relations, banking, foreign investment, and foreign trade. 1 


The Government which had been responsible for these apprecia- 

ble advances under the most trying pressures from both left and 

right still was an amorphous organization that had evolved from the 

original Constitution more as a response to changing circumstances 

and needs, than as a direct fulfillment of that Constitution. 


Adopted by the Commission for the Preparation of Indonesian 

Independence on August 18, 1945, the somewhat vague and hastily- 

framed Constitution provided for a representative “Congress of the 

People/’ to consist of both regional delegates and popular delegates, 

the latter in a body to be called the “Council of Representatives.” 

The Constitution placed broad powers with the President, who was 

made Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, and who was 

“vested with the power of government,” assisted by his Cabinet and 

by an advisory Council of State. However, final sovereignty was de- 

clared to rest with the people and, through them, with the Congress 

of the People. 2 


The Preparatory Committee stated, in a transitory provision of 

the Constitution, that under the emergency conditions of August 

1945, when the Indonesian Declaration of Independence was made, 

the powers of these organs [i.e., the Council of State, Congress 

of the People and Council of Representatives] “will be exercised 

by the President, assisted by a National Committee” appointed by 

him. 3 


The present political organization of the Republic has, in fact, 

evolved more from this transitory provision of the Constitution than 

it has from the Constitution itself. As a result of this evolution, the 

political mechanism of the Republican Government has come to 

revolve around three basic entities: (1) the President, (2) the Prime 


1 See Chapter 5. 


2 See Chapter I and Chapter II of the Constitution for a statement of the people’s 

sovereignty and the powers of the Congress of the People. Chapter III enumerates 

the broad powers reserved to the President. The meaning of the term “power of 

Government” is yet to be interpreted clearly, since it might appear to conflict with 

the ultimate sovereignty of the State which the Constitution reserves for the people. 

It seems probable that the Constitution is referring to the “executive” power of 

government in this regard. See Appendix, p. 165. 


3 See Transitory Provision IV, Appendix, p. 171. 






Minister and his Cabinet, and (3) the Central National Indonesian 

Committee or K.N.I.P. (Komite Nasional Indonesia Poesat) repre- 

senting the political parties. 4 


Of the three, the President was probably the strongest single fac- 

tor. Not only does the President stand at the helm of the Republican 

Government, but the personality of President Soekarno was, for 

large masses of the Indonesian people, the incarnation and symbol 

of Indonesian nationalism. In the words of Dr. Koets, the Chief 

of the Dutch Cabinet in Batavia: 


“Soekarno’s influence on the masses and on certain sections of public 

opinion places him in a real position of authority. To the intellectuals, 

young and old alike, he is the symbol of a realization of the ideal of in- 

dependence. The representation of national unity in his person is a force 

that is generally regarded as irreplaceable and indispensable at this stage 

of the struggle for freedom.” 5 


While Soekarno was commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and 

while he had the power to enact law in the form of Presidential de- 

crees without initial recourse to any governmental agency, 6 the 

primacy of his office in the Republic derives more from his position 

as the symbol of the nationalist movement and as the major influence 

keeping dissident nationalist elements within the Republic, than it 

does from the actual legislative and executive powers which he 



In practice the scope of Soekarno’s actual execution of his powers 

was limited by two factors: first, by the activity and behind-the- 

scenes influence of his trusted colleague, Vice-President Mohammed 

Hatta, who acted as an assistant rather than a Vice-President, and 

who handled the day-to-day internal administration of the Republic; 

and second, by the alteration of the original governmental form 


4 The Vice-President of the Republic, while exerting very strong powers, is not 

treated as a separate unit, since his powers are actually delegated Presidential powers 

and can thus be considered as part of the President’s prerogatives. 


5 Report of Dr. P. J. Koets after his return from a mission to Djokjakarta. Quoted 

from the Netherlands Indies Government Information Service Release, October 16, 

1946, Batavia. 


6 The K.N.I.P. was endowed with legislative powers by Presidential decree in October 

1945. While the K.N I,P. has asserted its right to review Presidential decrees, its only 

attempt to enforce this right occurred in March 1947, in the matter of a Presidential 

decree increasing the size of the K.NJ.P. in order to secure support for the Govern- 

ment’s policy of negotiation and compromise with the Dutch, according to the Ling- 

gadjati Agreement. The K.NJ.P., however, finally withdrew its veto of Soekarno’s 

decree at that time, when both Soekarno and Hatta threatened to resign if the move 

were rejected. The speech containing this threat of resignation was actually made to 

the KJ^.LP. by Hatta. 






which called for an American-type Cabinet, chosen by and responsi- 

ble to the President. In its place, a continental-type Cabinet was set 

up, chosen by and responsible to its Prime Minister who, in turn, 

was selected by the President with the K.N.LP.’s consent, and who 

was made directly responsible to the K.N.I.P. after he took office. 


The reason behind this unexpected alteration in the govern- 

mental form, which took place only three months after the Constitu- 

tion had been adopted providing for a Presidential Cabinet, is to be 

found in the policy which the Netherlands Indies Government 

adopted when it returned to Batavia in the fall of 1945. Refusing to 

negotiate with Soekarno or Hatta on the ground that they were 

Japanese collaborators, the Dutch indicated their willingness to con- 

duct informal discussions with a high and competent Republican 

official who had no taint of collaborationists 


In November 1945, therefore, President Soekarno and the K.N.I.P. 

changed the governmental set-up by a Presidential decree which was 

first debated in the K.N.I.P. This decree provided that the post of 

Prime Minister be instituted in the Government, and a ministerial 

Cabinet be selected by and responsible to the Prime Minister. The 

Prime Minister, in turn, would be selected by the President with 

the K.N.I.P.’s consent, and would be directly responsible to the 

K.N.I.P. Soekarno’s own Cabinet was thereupon dissolved, although 

several of the ministers, including Amir Sjarifoeddin, accepted port- 

folios in the new Cabinet; and Soetan Sjahrir was appointed the Re- 

public’s first Prime Minister. Sjahrir was chairman of the K.N.I.P.’s 

influential Working Committee and had a spotless record for the 

occupation period. He was now empowered to conduct negotiations 

with the Dutch and British in regard to the fundamental question 

of Indonesia’s future political status. 


Although Sjahrir also held the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, 

it was in his position as Prime Minister that he handled all negotia- 

tions with the Dutch. This fact was substantiated when Sjahrir re- 

signed on June 27, 1947. At that time, the Foreign Affairs portfolio 

passed to the redoubtable Hadji Agoes Salim who was in Cairo, 

while the post of Prime Minister and with it overall direction of 

the continuing negotiations with the Dutch passed to Sjarifoeddin. 

It is thus clear that the position of Prime Minister in the Indonesian 

Government was instituted as a concession to the requirements of 

the diplomatic situation, although not provided for of in any way 

referred to in the Constitution. 


Most high officials of the Republic agree that th’e Constitution 






may have to be modified in some respects when more stable con- 

ditions have been established; and it seems likely that one modifica- 

tion will involve the final incorporation of the continental minis- 

terial system into the Constitution. However, in the application of 

this system, the Cabinet will have acquired certain features peculiar 

to it and peculiar to the Indonesian political scene. 


The Prime Minister’s Cabinet has come to have a dual function, 

both parts being equally important. On the one hand, each minis- 

ter is charged with the running of his particular ministry. In the 

Cabinet headed by Sjarifoeddin after June 1947, the Prime Minister 

also was charged with the running of the Defense Ministry; A. K. 

Gani was Deputy Prime Minister as well as heading the Ministry of 

Economic Affairs; Hadji Salim became Minister of Foreign Affairs; 

Wondoamiseno, Minister of Home Affairs; Soesanto Tirtoprodjo, 

Minister of Justice; A. A. Maramis, Minister of Finance; Setiadjit, 

Minister of Information; J. M. Leimena, Minister of Public Health; 

Soeprodjo, Minister of Social Affairs; and Laoh, Minister of Public 

Works. 7 In this role, each minister handles the particular adminis- 

trative responsibilities of his ministry. 


In addition to this role, the Cabinet plays a vital and unique 

collective role as the Prime Minister’s index of the support he can 

expect to find among the several political parties for any policies he 

m^y propose. In this role, the Cabinet functions as a sort of pre- 

liminary round-table where the Prime Minister can find out how 

party sentiment stands vis-i-vis his prospective plans. The impor- 

tance of this function can only be fully understood when it is real- 

ized that of the four Cabinets which the Republican Government 

had between November 1945 and the latter part of 1947, three of 

which were selected by Sjahrir and the other by Sjarifoeddin, not 

one had a majority or even a plurality of posts occupied by members 

of the Prime Minister’s own party. In fact, the Socialist Party of 

Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin had at no time held more than one-fifth of 

the total positions, including both Ministers and Vice Ministers 

with and without portfolio. 


Thus, each Cabinet was a coalition Cabinet. Both Sjahrir and 

Sjarifoeddin scrupulously observed the practice of choosing their 

Cabinets from the leaders of the several political parties, although a 

minimum of six seats, in the total Cabinet of between 25 and 35, 

was in each case kept for prominent non-party nationalist leaders. 


7 Mr. Setiadjit, the leader of the Labor Party, also became a Deputy Prime Minister 

under Sjarifoeddin and Gani. For the composition of the later Cabinet, see p. 150, 






It is thus by virtue of their positions as party leaders rather than 

as Cabinet Ministers that the top members of the Cabinet exert 

their main influence on the formulation and execution of Republi- 

can policies. Thus, among 1947 office-holders, Gani was chairman of 

the strong Nationalist Party; Setiadjit, the second Vice-Premier, was 

chairman of the Labor Party; Wondoamiseno and Hadji Salim both 

were prominent leaders of the progressive wing of the large Mas- 

joemi Party; and Dr. Leimena was a leader of the Christian Party. 


As will appear more clearly in the discussion further on, the 

political parties and the religious, youth and labor organizations 

represented in the K.N.LP. constitute the popular element in the 

Republican Government, and tentatively represent the link with the 

people, in whom the Republican Constitution vests ultimate sover- 

eignty. Because of the vital role which the parties play in the Gov- 

ernment, and because of the unavoidable coalition nature of his 

Cabinet, the Prime Minister must use his Cabinet as a sounding- 

board for those policies which will be finally decided upon only by 

the full party representation in the K.N.LP. It is for this reason 

that Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin, while conducting negotiations with 

the Dutch, often had to modify or withdraw commitments to the 

Netherlands Government which they had tentatively made, after a 

Cabinet session revealed to them that the parties would probably not 

support the proposed commitments. While the Prime Minister stood 

at the helm of his own Cabinet, his relationship to it was a uniquely 

consultative one and a relatively dependent one. His strength and 

the practicability of his commitments were dependent on the reac- 

tion and support of his Cabinet, or more particularly on the reaction 

and support of the political parties and other groups which the 

Cabinet represented at the time. Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin both had 

extensive powers in their negotiations with the Dutch, but these 

powers derived from a coalition party support which had to be re- 

ferred back to at all times of crisis. This political fact was at least 

partly the explanation behind the so-called “dilatory tactics” of the 

Republic during the course of its negotiations. It was one factor 

which exhausted Dutch patience to the point where the blow-up of 

July 21 resulted. 


As with most European coalition Cabinets, the Indonesian system 

had its weaknesses, which became most apparent at times when 

immediate decision was required. It appears likely that the coalition 

Cabinet system will continue in the Republic for some time to come, 

at least until some basis for direct popular representation has been 






put into effect, as suggested but not specifically provided for in the 



Until that happens, the only representative body in the Govern- 

ment is the K.N.I.P., which is appointed by the President, and which 

represents political parties, religious, youth and labor groups, but 

not the people directly. As long as the K.N.I.P. remains such a di- 

versely and indirectly representative body,* without one dominant 

party or group, it is to be expected that the Indonesian Cabinet will 

be of the coalition type. 




The first session of the Central National Indonesian Committee, 

or K.N.I.P., took place on August 29, 1945, and consisted of one 

hundred and twenty delegates appointed by President Soekarno 

from the outstanding Indonesian party leaders, as an advisory body 

in accordance with the fourth transitory provision of the Constitu- 

tion. At its second session in October, the K.N.I.P. acquired legis- 

lative authority by a Presidential decree and selected a Working 

Committee (Badan Pekerdja) of seventeen members to continue in 

permanent session to handle the new and expanding powers which 

the larger body was acquiring. As the powers and composition of the 

K.N.I.P. grew in size and scope, and as the diplomatic situation came 

to require more and more decisions by the K.N.I.P., the Working 

Committee tended to become more and more influential. Consisting 

of a cross-section of party representatives drawn from the K.N.I.P. 

itself, the Working Committee remained in permanent session, 

whereas the total K.N.I.P. membership was convened two or three 

times a year, or when called by the President. It was the Working 

Committee which both Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin consulted (in addi- 

tion to their Cabinets) before making any final commitment to the 



The Working Committee and the Cabinet have thus functioned 

to mirror party sentiment for the Prime Minister, and incidentally 

as reciprocal checks on one another in providing a true image of 

that sentiment. While the Working Committee has come to act for 

the K.N.I.P., it is the larger body itself which must vote a final ac- 

ceptance of any major policy decision before it is accepted as law. 

For example, in March 1947, at its session in Malang, the K.N.I.P. 

voted its acceptance of the Linggadjati Agreement which the Prime 

Minister had already negotiated on a draft basis with the Dutch. In 

general, if the Prime Minister has consulted and appraised his 






Cabinet and the Working Committee closely, he can be fairly sure 

in advance of the vote which the KJN.I.P. will turn in. 


The K.N.LP., it should be recalled, has become a heterogeneous 

group of presidentially appointed representatives totaling more than 

four hundred members. While its broad base and diverse compo- 

sition hamper its efficiency, and while it might be streamlined 

when political conditions come to be stabilized, its size and diversity 

are likely to continue for some time. Until some system of suffrage 

is applied, and a real, direct representation of minorities can take 

place on an elective basis, the President will probably maintain the 

ultra-representative character of the K.N.LP. in order to retain as 

much indirect contact as possible with the large, diversified and non- 

vocal population of Java and Sumatra, 


Despite its motley composition, the K.N.LP., as it functioned in 

its first two years, can be considered as divided into two main party 

blocs which were responsible for most of its decisions as well as for 

those of the Working Committee acting in its place. On the one 

hand, there is the Sajap Kiri or Left-Wing Group, consisting of the 

strong Socialist and Labor Parties, the Communist Party, and the 

Socialist Youth Organizations or Pesindo., and generally supported 

by the Central Organization of Indonesian Labor (Sentral Organisasi 

Boeroeh Seloeroe Indonesia) or S.O.B.S.L, 8 the League of Small 

Farmers (Barisan Tani Indonesia) or B.T.I., and almost all of the 

separately represented so-called “People’s Armies” (Laskar Rajaf). 

This bloc generally commands a total of approximately two hundred 

votes in the K.N.LP. 


The Sajap Kiri has provided the major support for the Sjahrir and 

Sjarifoeddin Cabinets and has favored a policy of moderation, nego- 

tiation, and compromise with the Dutch. It is, moreover, this single 

major issue of negotiation with the Dutch around which the unity 

of the Sajap Kiri has been built. On the other hand, the economic 

and social views of the Sajap Kiris constituents vary widely from 

extreme left to center, with the Communists still advocating the 

doctrine of class struggle, and the stronger Socialist Party favoring 

gradual and peaceful socialization of the means of production. De- 

spite these variations, it can be said that the left-wing parties stand 


8 The S.OJJ.S J. is closely related to, but is independent of, the Labor Party. While 

both are represented in the K.N.I.P., the S.O.B.S.I. is regarded as a federation of labor 

aiming^ at the protection of labor’s rights. It is not, strictly speaking, considered to be 

a political party. Similarly, the B.TJ. is an organization designed to protect the inter- 

ests of the small farmer It also is represented in the K.N.I P., and its delegates gener- 

ally vote with the Sajap Kiri bloc, although again the B.T.I, is not considered to be a 

political party. See pp, 68 ff. 






for a moderate socialistic state and a planned economy with Govern- 

ment control of public utilities and transportation, and with exten- 

sive labor and social legislation. 


In addition, the Sajap Kiri parties also stress a policy of coopera- 

tion with foreign nations and appear to be fully aware of the need 

for foreign investment and expanded foreign trade In the economic 

rehabilitation of Indonesia. At the same time, these parties stress 

the need to have the Government scrutinize foreign investment and 

trade in order to guard against the possibility of unfair exploitation. 

These economic policies, which to a large extent are also advocated 

by other parties outside the Sajap Kiri, constitute in effect the ex- 

plicit and implicit policies of the Republican Government itself. 

They will be discussed more fully in the following chapter. 


The Sajap Kiri parties also have tended to favor a widespread 

program of education, particularly of education along technical 

lines, in order to build up the critically short supply of trained per- 

sonnel which the Republic needs and will need in the future. The 

Sajap Kiri group has increasingly tended away from the Taman- 

Siswo system of education which they have come to consider imprac- 

tical and visionary. 9 Instead, the Sajap Kiri parties have favored a 

new system of education advanced by an Indonesian pedagogue 

named Mohammed Sjafi. This system aims at technical and creative 

as well as cultural education and is modeled more along the lines of 

Americarrand European progressive principles than along the tradi- 

tional Taman-Siswo pattern. Under Sjafi’s guidance, the new system 

has been functioning and gaining increasing support in Kayu Tanam 

on the West Coast of Sumatra. 


Lined up against the left-wing progressive parties in the K.N J.P. 

is the so-catled right-center bloc: the Benteng Republik or “Repub- 

lican Stronghold.” There are two major components in this bloc: 

the Masjoemi 10 or Islamic Party, with its numerous allied youth 

organizations, which is the largest single political party in the Re- 

public, claiming almost ten million adherents; and the strong Na- 

tionalist Party (Partai Nasional Indonesia) or P.N.L In addition, this 

group has been supported by the People’s Party (Partai Raj at) and 

the large, militant Pemberontakan, led by the rabid firebrand; Soe- 


& The Taman-Siswo was founded by the old-time nationalist, Dewantara, who was 

Soekarno’s first Minister of Education, but who has since retired into political obliv- 

ion. This system advocated a sort of Aristotelian “peripatetic”* schools, with a major 

canicular emphasis on Indonesian culture and tradition. 


i@ Standing for: Madjolis Sjoera Moslimin Indonesia or Indonesian Council of Mos- 

lem Law. 






tomo. 11 The combined strength o the Benteng group in 1947 

amounted to approximately one hundred seats in the K.N J.P. 12 


Throughout the two-year negotiations with the Dutch, the Ben- 

teng bloc constituted the major opposition to the Government’s 

policy of compromise and concession. In the P.N.I. and the Mas- 

loemi parties as the parties with the oldest nationalist heritage- 

there was a particularly strong distrust and suspicion of the negotia- 

tions and of Dutch intentions in general. As a result, the Benteng 

group continually advocated a stronger and more militant policy 

toward the Dutch than did the progressive and moderate Sajap Kiri. 

Only seldom, did these parties break decisively from the Sjahrir 

or Sjarfoeddin coalition Governments. In fact, through most of 

the negotiations, the Masjoemi and P.N.I, have held more seats in 

the coalition Cabinets than any of the other parties and exerted a 

strong influence from these positions and from within the K.N.I.P. 

When the K.N.I.P. voted on the Linggadjati Agreement, the Ben- 

teng Republik bloc withheld its votes; but immediately after the 

ratification, the bloc announced that it would support the Govern- 

ment in the implementation of the ratified Agreement. 


As already indicated, the division over the fundamental issue of 

negotiating with the Dutch was responsible for the opposed align- 

ment of the Sajap Kiri and Benteng Republik in the K.N.I.P. On 

other matters, the divergence of views between the two groups has 

been less clearly marked. There are, for example, progressive groups 

within both the P.N.I. and the Masjoemi Parties, which favor a 

socialistic state, labor legislation, and a liberal education program. 


However, there does seem to be a basic difference of the approach 

of the Benteng bloc, and particularly of the conservative wing of the 

Masjoemi Party, to social and economic change from the approach 

of the leftist parties to the same problems. As the party with the 

longest history and the most solid grounding in Islamic Law, the 

Masjoemi Party tends to be less receptive to social change and eco- 

nomic experimentation than are the progressive, Leftist parties. Its 

political attitude is nationalistic, but in a conservative and religious 

sense. In this respect, the Masjoemi Party exerts a strong, stabilizing 

influence which is particularly important and may be of special 

significance in the future development of the Republic. 


11 No relation to the founder of the nationalist “Boedi Oetomo” or High Endeavor 

movement in 1908 cf. p. 3. 


12 The remaining seats in the K.NJ.P. aside from those of the Sajap Kiri and Ben- 

teng Republik are held by religious parties, regional and racial groups, women’s par- 

ties, popular militia groups, and others. 








The question has often been raised as to whether the army and the 

numerous local fighting forces such as the “People’s Armies” (Laskar 

Rajat) and the Buffalo Army (Barisan Banteng) constitute separate 

political factions which have their own policies apart from and per- 

haps even in opposition to those of the Government, and independ- 

ent of the K.NJ.P. 


At the time of the Republic’s beginnings, this was substantially 

true. The Laskar, Banteng, and Hizboellah fighting corps arose 

immediately after the Republican Declaration of Independence, 

from what had been the local people’s groups trained by the Japa- 

nese in the hope that these forces would stand with them against 

the attacking Allied armies. Instead, immediately following the 

Declaration of Independence, the people’s groups disarmed their 

Japanese mentors or “accepted” the Japanese surrender in the ab- 

sence of Allied occupation troops, and then set up their own separate 

commands without any overall unity such as the Japanese themselves 

had maintained. With the Japanese weapons which they had seized, 

these local bands were largely responsible for the terror and plunder 

of November-December, 1945. 


When the first outbreak of terror had subsided, the local forces 

went through two successive stages of development. First of all, the 

Laskar became increasingly Integrated within the structure of the 

expansive Socialist Youth Organization or Pesindo y which in turn 

was affiliated with the Sajap Kiri. By the end of 1946, the Pesindo 

had established titular authority over all the Laskar in Sumatra, 

and twelve of the thirteen in Java. In many instances, however, this 

authority was only titular, since there was no way for the Pesindo 

headquarters in Djokjakarta to enforce Its authority on extremist 

units which resisted its will and continued their militant activities. 


The thirteenth Laskar the large and strong Pemberontakan of 

Soetomo maintained its independence from the Pesindo and took 

an open political stand on the side of the Benteng Republik in the 

K.N.I.P. by advocating a militant attitude toward the Dutch. The 

Barisan Banteng and the smaller Hizboellah fighting corps chose to 

remain apart from political affiliations either with the Pesindo or 

the Benteng Republik. Instead, these groups achieved a certain 

amount of separate internal integration and centralization of com- 



This was the situation which confronted Sjarifoeddin when he 






was appointed Minister of Defense by Sjahrir in January 1946. He 

immediately undertook the task of centralizing and unifying the 

Republican Army (Tentara Republik Indonesia) and the more diffi- 

cult task of integrating all the different local armed groups under 

the T.RJ. command, to form one central Republican armed force. 


This task was not fully completed, but by May 5, 1947, Sjarifoed- 

din’s work had progressed far enough partly through diplomacy 

and partly through a use of force against certain bitterly recalcitrant 

extremist units so that President Soekarno was able to issue a decree 

providing for the unification of the T.R.I, and the Laskar, Banteng, 

Pemberontakan and Hizboellah fighting forces under one central 

command. On June 5, this Presidential decree was implemented by 

another which installed the central command itself. Supreme Com- 

mand of the Republican armed forces under the President was 

vested in Lt. General Soedirman, assisted by his Chief-of-Staff, Major 

General Oerip Soemohardjo, Vice-Admiral Nasir, Air Vice-Com- 

modore Soeriadarma, and Major Generals Soeleiman and Djojo 

Soedjono of the Barisan Banteng and Soetomo of the Pemberon- 

takan. This command itself was placed under the overall direction of 

Sjarifoeddin as the Minister of Defense, and finally under Soekarno, 

as the Constitutional Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. 


The strength of these forces and their ability to resist the Dutch 

military action of July 21 will be appraised later on. Here it may be 

said that, under Sjarifoeddin’s capable direction, the Republican 

military forces were unified and brought under the control of the 

Republican Government. At the time Dutch military action began, 

the direct political influence of the former people’s fighting groups 

had been reduced to a minimum, and the irresponsible plunder 

campaigns of these extremist groups had been cut down substan- 

tially. The centralized command of the armed forces was, for all 

immediate purposes, dissolved by Dutch penetration into Western 

and Eastern Java after July 21. From the Indonesian point of view, 

the necessity for preparing for an effective and ubiquitous guerrilla 

warfare throughout Java and Sumatra required a restoration of the 

original local command on which the irregular people’s forces were 

founded. When stable conditions are restored, Sjarifoeddin, or his 

successor, will again be faced with the problem of reviving a unified 

military command responsible to his Ministry of Defense. 


This, then, toward the end of 1947, was the structure of the Re- 

publican Government at its top levels (as shown on p. 61). 






































This is the Government which has grown so greatly in strength 

and scope between 1945 and 1948. Its accomplishments have been 

extensive and have, moreover, been made under trying and difficult 

conditions. And yet, the problems still to be faced by this Govern- 

ment will require still greater energy, organization, and persever- 

ance. The Government must, first of all, resist attempts to abridge 

its authority in Java and Sumatra. It must undertake the imposing 

tasks of economic reconstruction. It must attract foreign capital and 

foreign technicians and yet protect Indonesian labor from unfair 

exploitation by either foreign or domestic capital. It must endeavor 

to spread education and to raise the pitifully low level of literacy in 

Java and Sumatra. It must integrate its economic and political pro- 

grams within the framework of the United States of Indonesia in 

which it will presumably be the largest and strongest constituent 

when the U.S.I, comes into existence, on January 1, 1949. 


The Republic will have to root out the psychological complexes 

and social privileges of a partly colonial and partly feudal society. It 

will have to spread political consciousness among its backward peo- 

ple, and it will have to re-direct the thinking of its intellectuals from 

winning the nation’s independence to utilizing that independence so 

as to raise the standard of living of the Indonesian population as a 

whole. It must overcome the perennial danger of self-seeking among 

its leaders and factionalism among its parties. It must maintain 

order and build up a framework of law which it must then enforce. 

It must streamline the amorphous structure of its administration, re- 

vise its vague Constitution, and effectuate the provisions of the 

revised Constitution which it adopts. The Republic has stood up 

well and shown a remarkable degree of internal unity since 1945. 

Yet during this period, the Republic’s national purpose has been 

simplified by the necessity for preserving unity in order to secure 

its independence. Whether it will be able to bear the more subtly 

divisive burdens of self-government and party politics in normal 

times remains to be seen. 


This is unquestionably a large order for any government new or 

old. The difficulty and magnitude of the many tasks will require 

foresight, efficiency, and progressive, responsible leadership. 


The question has often been raised whether the Republic is likely 

to become totalitarian in the course of its attempts to solve these 

difficult problems. It is the considered opinion of the author that 

the chance of such a development is remote. Nevertheless, the ques- 

tion requires closer examination. 






It is certainly true that, as it stands after the first few years of 

growth, the Republican Government is not a democratic one in the 

pure sense of the word. Its only popular representative body, the 

K.N.I.P., is appointed by the President; that is, its representative 

character does not involve the element of direct choice by the peo- 

ple. Rather, its popular character derives from the diversity and 

representativeness of the delegates whom the first President, Soe- 

karno, has selected. While, actually, these delegates are both diverse 

and representative, this does not change the fact that they are not 

elected by the people. 


However, there has been a gain for democracy in that the K.N.I.P. 

has constantly expanded its role in the Government. It has become 

the repository of legislative authority. For, although the President 

may still make law by Presidential decree, the practice has been 

established whereby these decrees are subject to K.N.I.P. review at 

the next session of the central body. Furthermore, the K.N.I.P. is 

the recognized body to which the Prime Minister and his Cabinet 

are finally responsible. Nevertheless, its source lies not in the whole 

people, but in the President. A situation of this type may continue 

for some time, and the representative body in the Republic, while 

growing stronger and perhaps exercising a decisive influence in the 

Government, may perhaps continue to be largely an appointive 



The reason for this prospect is to be found in the backwardness 

of the Indonesian masses. With a literacy level of less than 10 per 

cent of its total population of 60 million, the people in the Repub- 

lican areas are still a long way from the point where they can under- 

stand, or are sufficiently interested in, politics to vote with compe- 

tence. As long as so few can read, that is, until the Republic’s educa- 

tional plans really start to make headway, it is extremely doubtful 

whether there can be any basis for popular elections in the Republic. 

Some might add that, as long as there is no large middle class in 

Indonesian society, there can be no broadly-based direct democracy. 


The Republican Government cannot yet be considered a demo- 

cratic one, in fact, despite its democratic principles. While it is a 

Government “for” the people, it is certainly not “of or “by” them. 

Nevertheless, this is apparently not true of either the revolution 

which the Republic stands for, or the existence of the Republican 

Government itself. Even the first official Dutch mission to visit Re- 

publican “territories, in September 1946, brought back a report of 

the apparently wide support which the revolution and the Republi- 






can Government had among large masses of the Indonesian people. 

Dr. Koets, the leader of the mission, in fact, spoke of the “national 

unity” which he had encountered. 


Notwithstanding the existence of large groups within the popula- 

tionwet-rice cultivators (especially in the more remote areas), la- 

borers, and others which” are politically indifferent and inert, it 

appears that the Republic has a widespread support throughout 

both Java and Sumatra. But this popular support, while a real and 

apparent factor which can be verified by talking to almost any Indo- 

nesian not under duress, is of a passive type. It is definitely not a 

participating support. The Indonesian people, in general and insofar 

as they can be spoken of as a unit, seem to prefer a government run 

by Indonesians, and in local village councils they have shown their 

talent for devising effective methods of arriving at group decisions. 

On a national level, however, they have not reached the stage where 

they either wish or are able to take part in government. The Repub- 

lican Government thus appears to be supported but not run by the 

Indonesian people. 


Though it is clear from the above remarks that definite qualifica- 

tions must be attached to a use of the term “democratic” in referring 

to the Republic, it nevertheless seems likely that there will be a 

development along democratic lines, and that totalitarianism will 

not materialize in the Indonesian political structure, in the form of 

a dictatorship from either the left or the right. Several of the top 

Republican leaders have marked personal ambitions particularly 

Soekarno and Gani but in general, it is the author’s impression, 

after sixteen months of continuous contact, that Republican leader- 

ship is characterized by a keen sense of responsibility to the Indo- 

nesian people. 


There are, furthermore, several important reasons why even the 

personally ambitious leaders could not even if they should try- 

establish a totalitarian regime. The first factor which would impede 

any incipient tendency toward totalitarianism is the existence of the 

two large and strong opposing party blocs: the leftist Safap Kiri and 

the conservative Benteng Republik. The co-existence of these two 

blocs tends to obviate the likelihood that either one of them can 

seize untrammeled power in the Government. 


Within the two blocs, there are two parties which conceivably 

might have dictatorial aspirations: the strongly nationalistic P.N.I. 

under Dr. Gani’s leadership, and the Communist Party (Partai 






Komunis Indonesia) or P.K.I., under Sardjono, Daroesman 14 and 

Alimin. While the P.K.L itself will be discussed separately and fully 

later on, it can be stated here that any attempt by it to seize power 

would probably fail because of the combined opposition which it 

would meet from both the Socialist and Labor Parties, and the 

Benteng Republik. That the P.K.I, could form a Communist-domi- 

nated coalition with the Socialist and Labor Parties against the 

Benteng bloc is a political improbability because of the key position 

of the Masjoemi Party and the great influence which that party 

wields among the Moslem population of Java and Sumatra, The 

Masjoemi Party has always been a foe of Communism. 


Similarly, the Masjoemi Party can be relied upon to resist with 

the Sajap Kiri any unilateral attempt by the P.N.L to establish its 

supremacy in the Republican Government. Though neither the 

most progressive, dynamic or ambitious of the major political par- 

ties, the Masfoemi’s position as a conservative and stabilizing influ- 

ence in the future development of the Republic can hardly be over- 

emphasized. None of the other parties can risk being violently 

opposed by the Masjoemi in a struggle for power because of the Mas- 

joemi’s hold on the people and because of its position as the inter- 

preter of Islamic law. On the other hand, it is hardly conceivable 

that the Masjoemi itself might attempt to achieve a one-party dic- 

tatorship. The temper of its principles, its background, its leader- 

ship, and its expansive but loose organization are neither suited nor 

inclined toward centralization or concentration of power. However, 

while the leadership of this largest of the parries is conservative and 

cautious, and definitely inclined toward resisting any attempt at 

domination particularly leftist domination of the Government by 

any one party, it is not unlikely that if conditions warranted, the 

Masjoemi Party might come forward as sponsor of an Islamic Pan- 

Asia Movement, stretching from North Africa and the Middle East, 

through Pakistan in India, Southeast Asia and Indonesia. 


Another factor which would tend to offset any inchoate tendency 

toward totalitarianism is the absence of any strong, politically con- 

scious social elite in Indonesia. 15 In the Philippines, the Mestizo 

group to which Quezon, Osmena and Roxas belonged comprised a 

self-conscious and powerful economic and political elite which could 

and did take over the dominant governmental positions in the Phil- 


14 A Minister-without-Portfolio in the Sjarifoeddin Cabinet since July 1947. 

!5 This point was originally suggested to the author by Professor Raymond Kennedy, 

of Yale University, a sociologist who has studied Indonesia at some length. 






ippine Commonwealth even before the Philippines acquired inde- 

pendent status. In Java and Sumatra, on the other hand, the Dutch 

carefully avoided the formation of any similar class which eventually 

might act in opposition to their rule. While there is an old nobility 

in Java and Sumatra, it has grown somewhat effete in the last few 

generations. Its descendants are generally of two sorts: the quiet, 

dignified, completely un-political princes and lesser nobles who still 

retain their titles and social position as best they can in a rapidly 

changing social environment; and the dynamic, aggressive aristo- 

crats who have dropped their titles and joined the intellectual group 

at the helm of the Republic. 


There is no economic ruling clique within the Republic because 

there have been so few Indonesians who have ever produced and 

accumulated wealth under pre-war colonialism. There is, moreover, 

no military clique or any other group which, as such, would be 

likely to dominate the Government as an oligarchy. General Soe- 

dirman, the commander of the military forces, was a schoolmaster 

before the war, and while he and other officers are strong and some- 

times hot-headed, they appear to be actually, as well as nominally, 

controlled by the Minister of Defense. 


In short, the only apparent upper stratum is an intellectual one, 

which provides the leadership of the present Government. This 

group the educated, relatively enlightened, small minority has al- 

ways formed the core of the nationalist movement since its start 

forty years ago. It is a group of people whose social and economic 

origins and ideals are so widely different and even contrasting, that 

it cannot be considered academically or practically as the homo- 

geneous stuff which can form a ruling elite. While the personnel- 

short Republic will need all their services to function smoothly, they 

do not and cannot operate with anything approaching the unity and 

group-consciousness of a true ruling class. 


Finally, within the Republican Government itself there is no feel- 

ing of sacrosanctness or of infallibility, nor is there any tendency to- 

ward apotheosizing either the Government or its leaders. Soekarno 

is devotedly admired, but he is not deified. When he issued a decree 

increasing the size of the K.N.I.P. in February 1946, he was sharply 

and freely criticized in the Indonesian press, and his action was 

stormily debated by the K.N.LP. at its convention in Malang the 

following month. Both Soekarno and the other top leaders partic- 

ularly the colorful A. K. Gam are discussed, appraised and criti- 

cized, often jokingly and sarcastically, by other government per- 






sonnel, young and old alike. There is a spirit of respect, but not of 

worship or constraint, on the part of the younger and minor officials 

in the Republican Ministries toward their chiefs. All of these top 

leaders-including Soekarno realize that they cannot govern with- 

out the support of individuals and groups which would oppose an 

attempt on their part to set up a totalitarian regime. 


While in its early years the Government has only begun walking 

the road toward democracy, it seems to be far enough along to 

make extremely improbable a deviation toward the path leading to 

dictatorship. The fact remains, however, that the constituents of the 

Republic of Indonesia are, in a somewhat over-simplified sense, of 

two as yet only remotely connected types: the young and old intellec- 

tuals at the top and the poor, “apolitical/’ uneducated peasants and 

manual laborers at the bottom of society. Until this latter mass has 

been uplifted economically and socially, and until the gap between 

the two groups has been narrowed and bridged by an aggressive 

and flourishing middle class, Indonesian democracy will, at best, be 

shallow and uncertain. The completion of this mammoth task is 

likely to take several generations even under favorable conditions. 












Before entering a general discussion of the Republic’s overall 

economic policies, it will be well to estimate the specific economic 

progress which the Government has made since it started to function 

effectively in 1945, and to examine some of the institutional plans 

which it has already formulated. It should be mentioned that while 

economic affairs have become of increasing importance to the Re- 

public, the economic progress already made occurred against a back- 

ground in which political considerations were always of primary 



Most of the economic aspects and institutions to be discussed here 

are canalized through the Ministries of Economic Affairs, of Finance, 

or of Social Affairs, and then, finally, into the Central Economic 

Planning Board, directed in 1947 by Vice-President Mohammed 

Hatta. It is, thus, one of the top political leaders who wields the 

greatest influence in the formulation and execution of economic 





As already mentioned, a central Indonesian Labor Organization 

was formed in Djokjakarta in November 1946, called the Sentral 

Organisasi Boeroeh Seloeroe Indonesia (Central Organization of 

Indonesia Labor) or S.O.B.S.I. S.O.B.S.L superseded all previous 

attempts by the Republic to centralize labor organization and has 

come to include all labor unions active in Republican territory, i.e., 

both unions of the vertical C.I.O. type, and those of craft A.F. of L. 

variety. At the time of the formation of the S.O.B.S.L, the Associa- 

tion of Indonesian Craft Unions (Gaboengan Sarikat Boeroeh Indo- 

nesia) or G.S.B.L, voted to go out of existence, and the craft 

unions, which had constituted its membership, all joined the 



Under S.O.B.S.L each organization covers workers of all types 








within a given industry. This vertical plan has already been applied 

in the railroad industry, the oil industry, and the sugar, coffee, tea 

and rubber industries. Separate unions covering each of these indus- 

tries are now in operation within the overall framework of the cen- 

tral organization. While S.O.B.S.L policy favors the formation of 

these industrial unions, it also includes independent craft unions- 

such as those of the weavers, tailors and chauffeurs. In the spring of 

1947, the S.O.B.S.I. membership consisted of twenty-eight industrial 

and craft unions, with a total membership of approximately 1,200,- 

000. The separate unions and their respective branches and member- 

ships were as follows: * 




Name of Union 


1. Health and sanitation 


2. Tailors 


3. Printing 


4. Oil 


5. Pawnshops 


6. Ice 


7. Radio 


8. Female workers (Group) 


9. Weaving 


10. Cigarettes 


11. Opium and salt 


12. Railways 


13. Mines 


14. Sugar 


15. Gas and electricity 


16. Telephone, telegraph, and 


postal workers 


17. Ship and harbor workers 


18. Automobile drivers 


19. Bag manufacturing 


20. Cattle 


21. Forestry 


22. Teachers 


23. Public works 


24. Estate workers (rubber, quinine, 


tea, tobacco, coffee) 


25. House construction 


26. Prisons 


27. Public courts 


28. Banking 



















































































































































. . 

















. . 

















i Figures are from the Republican Ministry of Social Affairs, Djokjakarta, as of 

March 28, 1947. 






The administration of the S.O.B.S.I. is governed by the organiza- 

tion’s constitution. This provides for an administrative body headed 

by a central bureau consisting of a board of directors, a planning 

board and a working board, all of them elected by the large Presid- 

ium Assembly. The Board of Directors is composed of the President, 

the Secretary-General, the Vice-President, and the heads of the plan- 

ning and working boards. The Board of Directors directs the policy 

and functioning of the Central Bureau and, through it, of the ad- 

ministrative structure. The final authority is the Presidium Assem- 

bly which consists of representatives of all the member unions. In 

the summer of 1947, the three top men in the S.O.B.S.I., who actu- 

ally handled the policy affairs of the organization, were its President, 

Soerjono, its Vice-President, Setiadjit, and its Secretary-General, 

Hardjono. Setiadjit was also Deputy Prime Minister in the Cabinet 

and Chairman of the Labor Party. The other two top officials were 

without party affiliations or political office. 


The platform of the S.O.B.S.I. is based on the following five major 



1. The freedom of Indonesia requires as a sine qua non the recogni- 

tion of the right of Indonesian labor to organize freely. 


2. While foreign investment is to be sought and encouraged in the 

economic rehabilitation of Indonesia, Indonesian labor must organize 

strongly in order to defend itself against unfair exploitation by foreign 



3. Indonesian labor must direct its efforts toward furthering the de- 

velopment of political and economic democracy founded on social justice 

and having as its aim the welfare of the Indonesian people. 


4. To help achieve political and economic democracy based on social 

justice, and to insure improvement in the workers’ standard of living, the 

nationalization of public utilities is deemed advisable. 


5. Indonesian labor must exchange information and endeavor to estab- 

lish contact with labor movements abroad. 


While the S.O.B.S.L thus has as its major aim the protection of 

the rights of Indonesian labor and is not, strictly speaking, a politi- 

cal party, it has, nevertheless, a representation of approximately 35 

members in the K.N.I.P. 2 In general, S.O.B.S.I.’s representation in 

the K.N.I.P. has solidly backed the Sajap Kiri or Left-wing Group 

policies, already referred to in Chapter IV. It is likely that organized 

labor in Indonesia will grow rapidly in the next decade, and that 


2 S.O.B.SJ/S representation is separate from the Labor Party’s representation, and 

that of the League of Small Farmers, both of which organizations are indirectly con- 

cerned with the protection of labor’s rights. Cf. Chapter IV, p. 56. 






with it will come a vast expansion in the size and influence of the 





The Republican Banking System consists of five banks. At their 

head is the Bank Negara Indonesia or Indonesian State Bank. This 

bank has functioned as a “banker’s bank” and as the Republic’s bank 

of issue since the first Republican currency was put into circulation 

on October 30, 1946. At that time, the State Bank called in all the 

Japanese occupation money which was still in circulation in Repub- 

lican areas, and in exchange issued the Indonesian rupiah. The 

rupiah which was brought into general use in the Republican terri- 

tories is a coarsely-printed, easily-counterfeited currency which will 

have to be replaced when better paper and printing facilities become 

available. 3 


The State Bank is a Government-owned bank, but it works with, 

rather than under, the Republican Ministry of Finance. Its director 

in 1947 was Margono Djojohadikoesomo, and its assistant director 

Sabaroedin. Along with the Minister of Economic Affairs and the 

Minister of Finance, these two men played important roles in the 

application of the financial policies decided upon by Hatta’s Plan- 

ning Board. 


s The State Bank in 1947 issued quotations for the exchange of Republican rupiahs 

against foreign currencies The bank-buying rate for U.S dollars in terms of rupiahs 

was quoted at R. 2 10 = $1 ? while the selling rate was R. 2 SO $1. For the British 

pound, the buying rate quoted was R. 8 10 = 1, and the selling rate R. 865 = 1. 

For the Australian pound the corresponding quotations \*ere R, 650 and R. 6.70, 

while the Straits dollar was quoted at 90 Republican cents for buying transactions and 

97 cents for selling transactions. 


These exchange quotations were primarily of academic rather than of practical inter- 

est since there was practicalh no exchange between Republican currency and foreign 

currencies at these rates Exchange between Republican and foreign currencies, to the 

limited extent that it actually did take place, was at a black-market rate many times 

above the quoted figures. The exchange quotations listed here must therefore be re- 

garded simply as an index of the value of the Republican rupiah toward which the 

Republic was striving, and which it hoped it would eventually be able to maintain 

on a purchasing power parity or balance of payments basis, when trade and exports 

were functioning again. 


The Indonesian State Bank is apparently aware that the various nominal foreign ex- 

change rates quoted for the Republican currency do not give the correct cross rates, 

as may be seen from the fact that during most of that year the American dollar was 

quoted at 2-10 rupiahs and the British pound at 8 10 rupiahs, instead of 8.40 ru- 

piahs, which would be expected according to the parity level of 1 = $4. The State 

Bank explained this as an indication of the relative special premium which the Re- 

public was at the time placing on the American currency. 


In connection with the counterfeiting of Republican rupiahs, an interesting case 

occurred in Batavia. A Chinese was arrested by the Dutch police for counterfeiting the 

easily-duplicated Republican money for use in Batavia’s black markets. His defense 

was that since, according to Dutch law, the rupiah was not legal currency, he could 

not legally be charged with issuing its counterfeit. He was held anyhow. 






Under this central bank are four depositors’ or commercial banks, 

two of which are controlled directly by the Government, and the 

other two of which are privately owned. One of the Government 

banks, the Bank Rajat or People’s Bank, specializes in small agricul- 

tural and fishery loans but extends some loans to individuals as well. 

During the first quarter of 1947, the Ban k Rajat lent a total of 

approximately 33 million rupiahs for agricultural and fishery loans. 


The two privately owned Indonesian banks are commercial banks 

specializing in larger agricultural loans and in loans for purposes 

of internal trade and production. These two banks are the Bank 

Nasional Indonesia, or National Bank, and the Bank of Soerakarta. 

Both of them are somewhat smaller in their operations than are the 

other three Indonesian banks. 


Finally, there is the Perseroan Bank dan Perniagan or Banking 

and Trading Corporation, established on January 1, 1947, which in 

all probability will play a major role in building up Indonesian 



The B.T.C. was formed by the Republican Government for three 

purposes: (1) to expedite and direct exports from and imports to 

Indonesian areas; 4 (2) to furnish loans for private traders; and (3) 

to make the most efficient use of the foreign exchange that is ob- 

tained from exports in order to finance the most essential imports. 

The Corporation is to have an authorized capital of 20 million ru- 

piahs, 60 per cent of which will be furnished by the Government, 

and 40 per cent of which will be obtained by selling shares to the 

public. Public sale of shares had not yet taken place at the end of 

the year, and since its formation the B.T.C. has functioned solely 

on Government capital. 


The B.T.C. was in 1947 under the direction of an Indonesian 

economist, Dr. Soemitro Djojohadikoesomo, and its Vice-Director 

was a Chinese lawyer, Dr. Ong Eng Djie. 5 It is intended that the 

B.T.C. will eventually function throughout the Republican areas 

although, to begin with, its activities were confined to Java. 


It is also intended that the B.T.C. will temporarily handle the 

export of those goods to which the Republic itself has title, and will 

act on behalf of the Government to finance the import program 


4 The B.T.C. was formed at a time when all Republican ports were blockaded by 

the Dutch Navy to prevent the possible export of European-owned estate produce by 

the Republic. The B.T.C.’s operations have been hampered by this blockade ever 

since its inception, so that it is difficult to judge accurately the magnitude of the role 

which it will play in commercial rehabilitation. That the B.T.C.’s role will be con- 

siderable, however, is likely. 


5 Dr, Ong also was Vice-Minister of Finance in the Sjarifoeddin Cabinet. 






which the Ministry of Economic Affairs is drawing up. In both of 

these respects the B.T.C. will function through the Ministry of Eco- 

nomic Affairs. However, it has been stated that the B.T.C. will not 

be operated as a trading monopoly. Instead, its facilities are to be 

used to encourage private export and import especially through the 

extension of loans to private traders. It is worth mentioning that 

the B.T.C.’s task of building up private Indonesian business is a 

sizable one. To the writer’s knowledge, there are no more than 

a dozen large Indonesian business firms with sufficient capital and 

experience to operate on their own. s 




In April 1947, the Ministry of Public Works began an extensive 

program of repairing damaged bridges, improving and extending 

irrigation works, rehabilitating roads and harbors, and constructing 

new homes in the Republican areas of Java. 


In an official release, the Ministry announced that new roads 

would be constructed in the southern part of Java, particularly tc 

facilitate interior communication with the ports of Tjilatjap, Gen- 

teng, Plabuan Ratu and Tjilaut Bureun. Several of the Republic’s 

few technical experts were sent to Sumatra to improve irrigation 

works and roads there and to make preparations for the migration 

of rural population from Java. The migration scheme will be dis- 

cussed below. 


Dr. Laoh, the Minister of Public Works, also announced that 

housing facilities in Republican cities would be expanded and water- 

supply and power systems more extensively developed in this 



Once it is able to secure equipment and foreign capital, the Re- 

public hopes to increase and intensify its program of public works. 

It had already made the first beginnings toward implementation of 

this ambitious program when the military action of July 21 broke 

out. The resulting damages have handicapped the public works 

program of the Republic, and have increased the magnitude of the 

tasks of the Public Works Ministry, 


The largest of these firms is the Dasaad Musin Concern, a holding company con- 

trolling an export and import company and a textile mill. Before the war, It did a 

business of about fl0,000,000 or about $5,000,00Q at pre-war rates of exchange. Mr. 

Dasaad, the head of the firm, in 1947 completed a trip around the world to open 

branch offices and make business contacts in America, Holland, Great Britain, France, 

Switzerland and Belgium. It was thought likely that his business would expand greatly 

in the next decade. In other cases, however, the B.T.C. was expected to meet more 

difficulties in attempting to build up a sound and profitable network of private Indo- 

nesian commercial firms. 








The Government in the summer of 1947 announced a plan for 

the movement ‘of about 10,000 Javanese families, totaling about 

50,000 people, from over-populated areas in Java to under-populated 

areas in Sumatra. The plan is still only in the blueprint stage and 

will have to await a political settlement before it can be imple- 

mented. Its very scale, while it has given rise to criticism, is an 

indication of the forward-looking planning the Republican Minis- 

tries have embarked upon. 


It is the Government’s intention to gather the prospective migra- 

tors in the capitals of the various Residencies in Java, and to send 

them to their destinations in Sumatra by way of East or West Java 

ports. Each family will be allowed to take along all its possessions at 

the expense of the Government, which will also endeavor to provide 

the necessary equipment for the farmers to cultivate the land on 

which they settle. Dr. Isa, the Republican Governor of South Su- 

matra, has stated that 5,000 families can be received in the Lampong 

and Benkoelen districts of South Sumatra, and that measures to 

ensure the equitable allotment of land to each family are already 

under consideration. To help each family get started, the Govern- 

ment will give it an initial credit of 500 rupiahs. 


Many Indonesians believe that success of this migration plan will 

be vital for the economic development and well-being of the Repub- 

lic. If a large labor force is available in Sumatra, the development 

of that island’s vast economic potential may be accelerated. Large- 

scale inter-island migration can also do much to relieve the pressure 

on Java’s densely populated land, and to improve the living stand- 

ards of its fifty million inhabitants. To aid the plan’s success the 

Republican Ministry of Social Affairs which is in charge of the 

planhas studied the results of the numerous migration schemes 

which were unsuccessfully attempted under colonial auspices, be- 

tween 1920 and 1940. 


According to Abdoel Madjid, former Vice-Minister of Social 

Affairs, and later Vice-Minister of Home Affairs, there were several 

reasons why these pre-war plans were never successful. First, they 

were always tried on too small a scale: not more than half a million 

Javanese were moved to Sumatra during the entire twenty-year pe- 

riod in which the plans were in operation. As a result, the migrants 

were too few in number to organize effectively into prosperous com- 

munities and hence began to feel nostalgic and discontented. Sec- 






ondly, Mr. Madjid believes that the Dutch pre-war schemes for 

migration from Java usually imolved migration of only parts ot 

several Ja\anese kampongs or villages, instead of keeping village 

populations intact. This had the result of separating the new mi- 

grants from their elders and from the adat or customary law which 

was bound up with the organization of the kampong as a whole. 

Third, the Dutch plans lacked an incentive because they never pro- 

vided adequate guarantees that accustomed social conditions would 

be maintained and the level of economic conditions be considerably 

improved through the migration. 


The Social Affairs Ministry has tried to take cognizance of these 

weaknesses and to make allowances for them by specific provisions 

in its own plans. First of all, it is the ambitious intention of the 

Ministry to handle large numbers of people as the plan evolves in 

order to drain off most of the estimated yearly increase of 600,000 

persons in the excess population of Java. Furthermore, the Indo- 

nesian plan will not separate segments of compact Javanese village 

communities but will try to transplant the whole kampong, includ- 

ing the headman, the priest, the goeroe or teacher, and the members 

of the kampong council. Finally, incentives will be offered to pros- 

pective migrants in the form of monetary guarantees that living 

conditions will be improved, and verbal assurance that the migrants 

will be fully protected and aided by the Government in the exercise 

of their own adat and the setting up of their own communities. 


If the plan seems over-ambitious, it is recognized that its develop 

ment will take time and considerable initial expense. Officials of the 

Ministry of Social Affairs hope that the Republic will be able to 

secure aid from abroad in financing the scheme over a period of 

years. Optimism as to the possibilities of the plan’s success is running 

high, notwithstanding the unsuccessful attempts which the Dutch 

administration made along these lines before the war. 




Since the latter part of 1946, four Government administrative 

boards have been functioning in a managerial capacity in industry. 

They were set up to direct rehabilitation and production in the 

textile industry, the sugar-refining industry, agricultural estate indus- 

tries, and miscellaneous industries. They were appointed by Presi- 

dent Soekarno and in 1947 worked under the central direction of 

Vice-President Hatta’s Economic Planning Board. Their activities 

were also under surveillance by an investigation commission of the 






K.N.I.P., under the chairmanship of Tan Ling Djie, Secretary of 

the Socialist Party and a member of the K.N.I.P. Working Com- 



While little specific information concerning their activities was 

available to the public, the following facts were ascertainable. The 

four boards are composed of technicians and members of the differ- 

ent political parties and handle the overall direction of each partic- 

ular industry in its managerial aspects e.g., labor relations, material 

procurement, and so forth. The boards thus far established were: 

(1) Textile Board (Badan Tex til Negara); (2) Sugar-Factory Control 

Board (Badan Penjelengara Goela Negara); (3) Estate-Industries 

Board (Badan Perkeboenan Negara)] (4) General Industries Board 

(Badan Indoestri Negara). According to reports brought back to 

Batavia by the Koets Mission and later by the International Emer- 

gency Food Council sugar mission, as well as by numerous un- 

official observers, the boards have made considerable progress in 

their work. Under their guidance, most of the industrial plants 

which could function temporarily without new equipment from 

abroad were in action. The sugar mission of the I.E.F.C., in fact, 

appeared to be impressed by the industrial activity it found in the 

interior of Java. However, it is likely that the military action and 

scorched-earth which began on July 21, 1947, will have affected 

industrial recovery adversely. 




In July 1946, the Republican Government concluded an agree- 

ment with the Interim Government of India whereby the Republic 

agreed to provide approximately 400,000 tons of rice in exchange 

for textiles, agricultural implements, tires, and other “incentive” 7 

goods which India would send to the Republic for use in economic 

rehabilitation in Indonesian territories. The agreement was con- 

cluded secretly between the two parties and was later presented to 

the Dutch Government and British-occupation commander as a fait 

accompli. Despite initial objections on the Dutch side on the 

grounds that the rice was needed in Indonesia and that the agree- 

ment was a violation of the legal Dutch sovereignty throughout 


^ Money wages have often proved ineffective as an inducement to peasants to leave 

their fields, if there were not available for purchase on local markets the kind of con- 

sumer goods which the peasants had learned to value, or if such goods were too expen- 

sive for then- limited purchasing power. Especially small imported household goods, 

textiles, and other articles known to be attractive to potential wage earners therefore 

have come to be known as “incentive goods” in business and official circles. 






Indonesia since it had been negotiated with an “illegal” political 

entity, namely the Republic the agreement was finally approved 

with certain qualifications by both the Dutch and the British. 


With India supplying the ships, obtained from the British Minis- 

try of War Transport, and trucks for moving the rice from the inte- 

rior of Java to East Java ports, the agreement began to be imple- 

mented at the beginning of September 1946, Although the hopes of 

the original agreement were never fulfilled because of transportation 

and administrative difficulties which were later encountered, the Re- 

public did manage to deliver approximately 60,000 tons within the 

next ten months. The rice exports helped little to ease India’s criti- 

cal food shortage but did help to cement India’s friendship with 

the Republic: the effort on the Indonesian side later paid dividends 

when, after the Dutch military action of July 21, India introduced 

the subject of Indonesia to the Security Council’s agenda at Lake 

Success. The rice agreement therefore was more significant as a po- 

litical than as an economic measure. 




In general, it can be said that the Republic of Indonesia stands 

for a long-run economic program of extensive socialization. Although 

the uncertainty and fluidity of current political conditions in Indo- 

nesia make it impossible to evaluate the Republic’s economic poli- 

cies with any degree of finality, it is nevertheless possible to make 

certain reasonably accurate generalizations concerning these policies 

and the direction in which they point. It is always possible, however, 

that military or other developments in Indonesia may alter either the 

substance of the Republic’s economic policies, or the leadership be- 

hind these policies when the situation again becomes stabilized. 


Moreover, precisely where these policies will fit into, and in what 

respects they will have to be modified in connection with, the pro- 

jected United States of Indonesia and the Netherlands-Indonesian 

Union cannot yet be definitely established. It appears likely, how- 

ever, that in the long run these policies may govern the economic 

reorganization of the Republican areas of Java and Sumatra and 

may exert a considerable influence on the reorganization of the 

economy of the Indies as a whole. 


The formulation of the Republic’s economic policy has been con- 

centrated in the hands of the Vice-President, Mohammed Hatta, 

while its chief spokesman was the colorful Dr. A. K. Gani, Deputy 

Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs in the Sjarifoeddin 






Cabinet, who represented the Republic at the United Nations Con- 

ference on World Trade and Employment at Havana in November 

1947. Hatta prefers to remain out of the limelight and hence has 

received far less publicity than his power and influence in the 

Government would normally warrant. As chairman of the Central 

Economic Planning Board, he was largely responsible for charting 

and planning the broader aspects of the Republic’s economic policy. 

The policy directives of the Planning Board were then correlated 

and enunciated by Gani, as in the case of his “Ten-Year-Plan” which 

will be discussed later on in this chapter. A former medical doctor 

and actor, Gani is a thoroughly likable extrovert, but not an econ- 

omist. The superior technical background and education of Hatta 

made it only appropriate that the top-level planning and final de- 

cision should rest with him. Except for possible political changes 

that cannot be foreseen, it is probable that he will have a large voice 

in determining the extent to which the economic policies, as they 

crystallized in the early years, may veer to the left or the right in the 

years to come. 




As has been intimated, the Republic advocates the immediate na- 

tionalization of public utilities and public works, including gas, 

water and electric works, railroads, civil aviation (as it develops), 

telephone and telegraph communications, of banking, and of rice 

mills. The Government recognizes, however, that it will not imme- 

diately be in a technical or financial position to nationalize the econ- 

omy as a whole; and for this reason, it intends that most of the 

technical and detailed tasks, aside from those connected with utilities, 

banking and rice mills, shall be dealt with by private enterprise 

operating under some measure of Government control. In this 

connection, the distinction made between socialization and social 

control in a statement by the former Vice-Minister of Economic 

Affairs, Saksono, is worth noting: 


“In conformity with the policy of controlled economy, some vital in- 

dustries will be taken over by the Government. However, this should 

only apply to really vital industries, while other industries belonging to 

private individuals . . . will be allowed to carry on, and if such were 

formerly in the Government’s hands, they will be returned to the rightful 

owners. Where necessary,, the industries which are thus returned may be 

supervised by the Government. . . .” 8 


8 Published in Ma’moer (Wealth), Batavia, Nov. 15, 1946. 






It is to be anticipated that estate agriculture and private export 

trade will be allowed to function, but it is the Government’s appar- 

ent policy not only to exercise some control over working conditions 

and wages attendant on such private enterprise, but also to exercise 

close control over the foreign exchange proceeds obtained from all 

exports in order to make certain that this exchange is utilized to 

finance those imports which are most needed by the exchange-short 

economy as a whole. Tentatively, in other words, a new sort of dual 

economy 9 is envisioned, with certain fields remaining within die 

purview of private enterprise including most estate cultivation, 

such as rubber, coffee, tea, and perhaps sugar, substantial foreign 

commerce, and petroleum exploitation and others being national- 

ized and operated by the Government. While the co-existence and 

“mixed company of state and private (both foreign and domestic) 

capital” 10 is advocated, private capital will be subject to the social 

and economic legislation of the Government in such matters as 

minimum wages, land rents, working conditions, and labor relations 



Foreign-exchange control is likely to continue for some time to 

come, or at least until the shortage of dollar exchange on the one 

hand, and the vast import requirements for economic rehabilita- 

tion, 11 on the other, can be alleviated by exports or financial aid 

from abroad. The Ministry of Economic Affairs has stated, in this 

connection, that: 


“. . . the Government should exercise authority over the proceeds 

derived from exports in order that the foreign exchange be used for the 

purchase of the most necessary imports. The particulars involved in the 

regular operation of the exportation of goods can be turned over to 

private enterprises or non-official agencies, but their sales transactions 

should be officially supervised and approved by the Government. . . .” 12 




In general, the Republic is opposed to monopolies and to monop- 

olistic practices. It is known to be unfavorably disposed toward con- 


9 In the past it was customary to speak of the almost separate functioning of modern 

and largely non-Indonesianenterprise and “native” enterprise as making up Indo- 

nesia’s “dual economy.” 


ia Quoted from Dr. Gani’s statement to the press on economic policy, Batavia, April 

8, 1947. 


11 Estimated at perhaps one billion dollars. 


12 From an article entitled “Commercial Policies,” appearing in Berita Perekonomian, 

June 15, 1946, published in the Indonesian language by the Republican Ministry of 

Economic Affairs, Batavia. 






tinuation of the special privileges enjoyed before the war by the 

Royal Dutch Navigation Company (K.P.M.), the Phillips Radio 

Company, and the Netherlands Gas Company, amo’ng others, either 

in the form of government subsidy or in that of special patent or 

license arrangements. While it has been emphasized that the Gov- 

ernment should “always strive to bring about a close cooperation 

with private enterprise/’ 13 it has also been stated that: 


“The limit of authority on both sides should be distinctly drawn up, 

thus facilitating the desired coordination between Government and 

private enterprise. . . . Furthermore, the Government should always see 

to it that this coordination is not limited to a few big enterprises as 

occurred during the former restriction policy of the Netherlands Indies 

Government, since this would only mean the re-establishment of monop- 

olistic rights for big business. In the economic rehabilitation of Indo- 

nesia, we should . . . attempt to make certain that the germs of monopoly 

are forever stamped out/’ 14 


In his Ten Year Economic Plan, Dr. Gani strongly reiterated the 

anti-monopoly position of the Republic. It is, however, not unlikely 

that the Republic may be sympathetic toward proposals that it grant 

certain aid and preferences to Indonesian industries, as part of its 

long-run program of developing local industry complementary to 

that of agriculture. 




Republican leadership recognizes the need for foreign capital and 

foreign investment in the economic reconstruction of Indonesia. 

There seems to be a realistic recognition that aid and investment 

from abroad will considerably increase the pace at which reconstruc- 

tion can proceed and at which the general standard of living can be 

raised. Despite the planned economy aimed at by the Republican 

Government and its desire to nationalize the basic utilities, it ap- 

pears to be convinced that its economy can only be industrialized 

and revitalized by drawing on technical know-how and equipment 

from abroad, through foreign investment. 15 


Foreign properties and capital remaining from before the war will 

be returned to their rightful owners according to Article 14 of the 

Linggadjati Agreement, except in cases where the public welfare 

may require continued Government operation. In all such cases, 


is From Berita Perekonomian, June 1, 1946. 


i* Ibid. 


15 See the Political Manifesto of the Republic, Appendix, p. 174. 






Government operation and ownership will occur after compensation 

to the principals concerned, according to Dr. Gani. Furthermore, the 

Republic evidently intends to take up the contractual obligations 

incurred by the Netherlands Indies Government with foreign capital 

before the war. In this connection Dr, Gani has stated: 


“The Republican Government is not going to annul contracts with in- 

\ested foreign capital and make new ones, but the companies concerned 

will have to recognize the Republican Government as their partner in- 

stead of the Netherlands Indies Government.” 16 


While the Republic thus seems to recognize the need for foreign 

investment and technical know-how, there remains among its leaders 

a fear of economic domination from abroad. In January 1947, at the 

Youth Congress in Soerakarta, Dr. Hatta voiced this fear when he 



“In reconstructing our economy, we must deal with realities. We are 

at present poor and possess only our man power, which has been seriously 

decimated by the Japanese. . . . Despite our poverty, we are rich because 

our soil is fruitful and can produce wide varieties of products. … In 

rebuilding our economy we will have need of foreign capital . . . but we 

must utilize this capital as an efficient and constructive tool, or else we 

shall find ourselves once again economically dominated.” 


It therefore appears likely that the Republic, while welcoming 

foreign investment, will nevertheless attach certain conditions to its 

use in Indonesia. For example, according to Dr. Hatta, the Republic 

will not allow foreign investments to establish commercial monop- 

olies. Furthermore, the Government will probably assert its right to 

decide the minimum percentage of Indonesian employees which a 

foreign enterprise must employ, as well as to make laws concerning 

wages, hours, and working conditions that must prevail in foreign- 

controlled enterprises in Indonesia. 


It is generally recognized that such Government intervention in 

foreign enterprises must be moderate in order not to alienate them, 

but it is felt that even with a modicum of Government control, as 

outlined above, Indonesia will still offer a prospect of sufficiently 

high return on investment so that foreign capital will be attracted 

once conditions of stability have been re-established. 


In its attitude toward investment by particular nationals, there is 

some evidence that the Republic is becoming acutely conscious 


i Statement to the press on economic policy, Batavia, April 8, 1947. 






that its geographical position links it economically to those nations 

on the shores of the Pacific, including those of North and South 

America, and on the continents of Asia and Australia. Dr. Gani has 

indicated his feeling that, while some foreign investment in Indo- 

nesia will certainly come from Europe, in the future investment will 

be particularly welcome from the United States and Australia, since 

Indonesia must increasingly tend to shape its economy in terms of 

the trade requirements of these and other Pacific nations. 




Republican economic leadership envisions a program of increas- 

ing industrialization, but of a sort complementary to the agrarian 

basis of Indonesian economic life, rather than as a substitute for it. 

There seems to be general recognition of the fact that Indonesia 

must remain essentially agrarian for some time to come. However, 

it is anticipated that industrialization in increasing the level of 

agricultural and non-agricultural output can expedite rehabilita- 

tion and help to raise the standard of living. Industrialization will 

also be necessary to diversify the economy’s structure, and to shift 

labor from the land to light industry. In this way, it may be possible 

to increase the elasticity of supply of Indonesia’s agricultural prod- 

uce in periods of changing prices, and thus to prevent a repetition 

of the 1929-32 world market glutting. 


Furthermore, while a seller’s market still exists for most of the 

produce of Indonesia, agricultural exports can be the means of ac- 

quiring the foreign exchange necessary for further industrialization. 

Before any headway can be made in this direction, the current po- 

litical situation must be cleared up and the economic blockade of 

Republican areas be lifted. 


In general, it appears likely that, in the process of industrializa- 

tion, Java will be developed as the rice supplier for the rest of the 

Republic in order to make the whole of Indonesia self-sufficient with 

respect to minimum food requirements, while Sumatra will be ex- 

ploited to furnish the export produce for sale on world markets to 

provide the foreign exchange needed to finance imports. This, of 

course, is a long-run policy only. For a long time to come Java will 

probably continue to contribute largely to exports when a solution 

of the as-yet-unsolved political problem again makes feasible exten- 

sive trade with the outside world. 


As part of its program of gradual industrialization, the Republic 

is known to favor the formation of strong labor organizations. In 






fact, it appears to regard the strength of these organizations as a 

guarantee that foreign enterprises, though active in certain areas of 

the economy, will not be in a position to exploit the workers. As 

Dr. Hatta has stated: 


“We should realize that a powerful labor organization will be neces- 

sary in order to resist the attempt of foreign capital to dominate. … If 

we have such an organization then we have nothing to fear [from the re- 

turn of foreign properties and capital to their rightful owners]. . . /’ 17 


The beginnings of this “strong labor organization” are firmly 

founded in the Central Organization of Indonesian Labor or 

S.O.B.S.I. (Sentral Orgamsasi Boeroeh Seloeroeh Indonesia), which 

has already been discussed. 


A strong labor organization, it is thought, will induce foreign 

enterprises to pay adequate wages and maintain suitable working 

conditions, without requiring the Government to step in. In other 

words, paradoxically. Republican leadership seems to think that the 

existence of a strong labor organization may thus make possible less, 

rather than more, Government control in that sector of the economy. 




As a first step towards the clarification of its economic policies, 

the Republic has formulated a tentative “Ten-Year Plan.” This was 

announced by Dr. Gani to the press in broad outline on April 8, 

1947, but its execution will have to await a change in the political 

situation. The plan includes the following major points: 


L Establishment of minimum wage rates and improvement in the 

health and hygienic conditions of labor; 


2. Elimination of illiteracy and expansion of educational facilities; 


3. Establishment of strong cooperative organizations for peasants and 

laborers, supplemented by legislation to protect the rights of wage-earn- 

ers and farmers; 


4. Industrialization in such a way that “a link will be maintained with 



5. Establishment of “a horizontal form of village industry supported 

by … small state credit”; 


6. Building up Indonesian export trade by initial grants of state 



7. Expansion of state-owned public works and public utilities; 


8. Encouragement and development of inter-island shipping, to pre- 

vent the growth of shipping monopolies; 


17 Quoted from Hatta’s speech at Soerakarta, January 1947. 






9. Appointment of foreign experts and technicians as Government ad- 

visers in education, finance, economics, agriculture, transportation, in- 

dustry and military affairs, but granting “no monopoly in this respect . . . 

to any particular country”; 


10. A new program of transmigration from overpopulated regions (in 

Java) to thinly populated regions (in Sumatra); 


11. Expansion of Indonesia’s international trade, in such a way as to 

prevent the development of commercial monopolies; 


12. Encouragement of the “mixed company of state and private (for- 

eign and domestic) capital in the economy”; 


13. Soliciting a foreign loan and floating an internal national loan, 

to finance economic rehabilitation. 


The Ten-Year Plan is, it will be seen, broad. Its economic policies 

envision far-reaching and ambitious changes. They place weighty re- 

sponsibilities on the young shoulders of the new Government, 

responsibilities which may be borne with some prospects of success 

but only if the elaborate blueprint is supplemented by efficient and 

high-minded administration. 




The economic policies and plans enumerated above are based on 

the relatively moderate and sober currents in Republican economic 

thinking. In this connection, it is worthwhile examining briefly 

those forces which might given the catalysis of continuing strife and 

instability in Indonesia divert the Republic’s policies more and 

more to the left. In the author’s opinion these forces exist but are 

still only in an inchoate stage. There is nothing in Indonesia that 

can yet be called a Communist “menace,” but this does not mean 

that one may not arise. 


In the first place, it is worth noting that neither the S.O.B.S.I. nor 

the Labor Party are controlled by Communists, although both labor 

groups advocate socialistic economic policies. Politically, both groups 

have backed the Republican Government and have been part of the 

Sajap Kin } the Left-wing group which has favored moderation and 

compromise in negotiating with the Dutch, and has opposed the 

more militant stand of the Nationalist and Masjoemi Parties,. 


The S.O.B.S.I. Congress held in Malang from May 16 to 18, 1947, 

was given considerable publicity by the Dutch press in Batavia and 

in Holland as an indication of the strong Communist influence 

which, it was asserted, pervades the Indonesian labor movement. It 

appears that the publicity was designed as much to discredit the 

labor movement and indirectly the Republic (particularly in the 






eyes of the United States), as it was to make known the truth about 

Communism in Indonesia. 


Of course, there were Communistic rumblings at Malang. The 

featured speakers at the Congress were a group of Australian and 

Dutch labor leaders, including the Messrs. Campbell and Roach, 

who are active in Australia’s leftist dockworkers’ union and may 

well have access to Communist Party funds, as well as the Messrs, 

Blokzijl and Vijlbrief, who are known to have connections with the 

party in Holland. The speeches made by this group of fellow-travel- 

ers were loosely-reasoned samples of blatant incitement, but the re- 

ception which they received was cool and unenthusiastic. As one 

high Indonesian official said afterwards, when queried: “There was 

nothing at Malang which was Communistic except certain slightly 

foolish statements by foreign Communists.” While the S.O.B.S.I. 

Congress at Malang may be significant as a harbinger of future Com- 

munistic influence (given a prolongation of strife in Indonesia), it 

can be stated that the labor movement in Indonesia is neither in the 

grip nor under the influence of Communism as yet. 


In appraising the strength of Communism in the Republic, it is 

also worth noting that of the strongest men in the present govern- 

ment none is a member or partisan o any Communist Party, Indo- 

nesian or foreign. 18 On the contrary, the President, Soekarno, and 

the Vice-President, Hatta, have, for substantial portions of their po- 

litical careers, been associated with the rightist Nationalist Party, 

of which Dr. Gani, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Eco- 

nomic Affairs, was chairman in 1947. Of the other leaders in the 

1947 Government, Sjarifoeddin, the Prime Minister, and Sjahrir are 

members of the Socialist Party, and Setiadjit, a co-Deputy Prime 

Minister, belongs to the Labor Party. While Sjahrir, Sjarifoeddin, 

and Setiadjit all favor strongly socialistic economic policies, none of 

them is connected with or leans toward Russian Communism. 19 


There are, however, other points of which cognizance must be 

taken in appraising the strength and influence of Communism in 

Indonesia today. For one thing, three Communist members of youth 

organizations in Russia, Yugoslavia, and France went into the inte- 

rior of Java in May 1947, in response to an invitation which they 


is In the Sjarifoeddin Cabinet, of 1947, one out of thirty-three seats was held by a 

Communist: Daroesman, a minister without portfolio. 


is Sjarifoeddin was jailed for one month in 1940, because of his alleged connection 

with the Indonesian Communist Party. Actually, his imprisonment was because of his 

chairmanship of the Gerindo, an implacably nationalistic party which advocated radical 

opposition to Dutch rule. 






had solicited and received at the New Delhi Inter-Asian Conference 

on March 23, 1947. The purpose of their visit presumably was to 

make contact with Indonesian youth groups on behalf of the World 

Federation of Youth Organizations, and to extend invitations to the 

Indonesian groups to send delegates to the W.F.Y.O. congress in 

Prague later in the year. There is little doubt, however, that the 

actual scope of their visit was broader than this single mission. 


There have also been rumors that a trading organization might 

be set up by the Republic and the Australian Communist Party to 

monopolize trade between Australia and Indonesia. The rumor ap- 

pears to be highly unlikely. In reply to queries relating to it, both 

Hatta and Gani have firmly reiterated the anti-monopoly position of 

Republican economic policy, and have strongly denied any intention 

of embarking on such a project. 


At any rate, the combination of rumors and part-truths requires 

a sober study of the position of Communism and the possible danger 

of its spread in Indonesia. It can definitely be stated that such con- 

tact with Communism as there is in Indonesia has been established 

through the Dutch and Australian Parties; no active, direct and con- 

tinuous contact with Russia has evidently been established as yet. 

Of the two regular Russian-trained Indonesian nationalists, one 

(Tanmalakka) has been in prison in Djokjakarta for his part in the 

abortive coup d’etat of June 1946, and the other (Alimin Prawi- 

rodirdjo) when last heard of was head of the Politburo of the Indo- 

nesian Communist Party. Educated at Moscow’s Far Eastern Univer- 

sity, Alimin is an important figure in the Communist Party and a 

man to be reckoned with, but his influence in the Republic is con- 

siderably less than that of the top men in the government already 



That there is an inchoate Communist influence is undeniable, but 

that it has reached the proportions which certain right-wing and 

military circles have contended is unlikely. The Indonesian Com- 

munist Party (Partai Komunis Indonesia) when observed in 1947 

was still relatively moderate in outlook. It had been allied with the 

Sajap Kiri in support of a policy of compromise and moderation in 

negotiations with the Dutch. The P.K.I. has advocated a policy of 

reconstruction along the lines set by the Linggadjati Agreement of 

March 25, 1947, and has not advocated violence or extremism in the 

course of the negotiations in 1946 and 1947. 


It thus appears clear that the danger and this can hardly be over- 

emphasizedis not that a Communist menace, or anything resem- 






bling it, now exists in Indonesia, but that without an end to the 

political strife and economic isolation, and without a continued ex- 

pression of America’s interest in and sympathy towards the new Re- 

public, 20 the Republican Government might be forced to seek its 

friends and its support wherever it can find them, not only in India 

and the Arab League and the countries in close proximity to Indo- 

nesia, but eventually perhaps in Russia as well. The situation is not 

unique; we are becoming well-versed in dealing with matters of this 

type within the framework of the current w T orld-poIitical dilemma. 

The Republic’s economic program is an ambitious one, and its 

implementation constitutes one of the major tasks for the new 

Government. It may be that with the extreme shortage of techni- 

cians and trained administrators at the helm, the program is too 

ambitious. Nevertheless, the contribution which the United States 

can exert, in terms of material aid and economic advice, to the 

successful working out of the Republic’s economic plans, can be 

vital. 21 But while aid and technical advice from the United States 

can certainly be of great service to the Republic, it is obvious that 

Indonesia’s problems will not be solved through the expediency of 

foreign aid alone. Fundamentally, the problem of establishing a 

sound economic and political structure in Indonesia must be solved 

by the Indonesians themselves. Foreign aid can help, but it cannot 

provide the answers. 


* Along the lines set by the important American note of June 27, 1947. See Appendix, 

p. 180. 


21 The State I>epartment’s appointment of a professional economist as the new Con- 

sul General in Batavia is a promising development in this connection. A former De- 

partment of Commerce official, the new Consul General, Charles A. Livengood, went to 

Batavia from his post of Counselor of Embassy for Economic Affairs in Rome. It is, 

thus, likely that he is well qualified to help give the Republic the advice, as well as to 

analyze the aid, which it will need from outside. 












In the anatomy of successful revolution, leadership is 

always a vital factor. In the case of a revolution which, like the Indo- 

nesian revolution, derives its support from a politically immature 

and an intellectually backward people, leadership is of particular 

importance. All of the top Indonesian leaders have long been both 

familiar with and familiar to the Dutch, because of their extensive 

pre-war political activity. They are all men who have had long 

associations with the Indonesian nationalist movement, and all of 

them were at one time subject to close scrutiny, and in most cases 

imprisonment, by the pre-war colonial government. They are men 

to whom Indonesian nationalism and self-determination have been 

basic motives of life, although these motives have expressed them- 

selves in different ways. 


In a general sense, top-level Indonesian leadership has rested 

largely with four men: the Republic’s President, Soekarno; x its 

Vice-President, Mohammed Hatta; its former Prime Minister, Soetan 

Sjahrir; and its Minister of Defense and second Prime Minister, 

Amir Sjarifoeddin. It would be inadmissible to speak of the Repub- 

lic in terms of four men alone, and it will be worthwhile, later in 

the chapter, to discuss other figures who have played, and will play, 

leading roles in the Republic’s development, such as Dr. A. K. Gani, 

Setiadjit, and Hadji Agoes Salim. Notwithstanding these considera- 

tions, it would be hard to overestimate the role which these four 

men have played in building on the shifting sands washed up by the 

Japanese capitulation, and establishing a functioning if inexperi- 

enced government, where before there had been little more than 

high hopes. 


The Republic developed from a shaky start when it included 

armed bands of terrorists and plunderers over which the Republi- 


i Soekarno was one of the first of those active in the nationalist movement to drop 

the title “Raden,” a mark of nobility. 








can Army (T.R.L) enforced a marked degree of control by June 1947- 

The Republic’s survival has no doubt been aided by such fortuitous 

factors as the arrival of British troops in only small numbers six 

weeks after the Japanese surrender, the turnover of substantial quan- 

tities of armaments by the Japanese to the Republican Army before 

the arrival of British troops, and the temporary impotence of the 

Dutch at the time of the Japanese capitulation. Nevertheless, it is 

almost certain that these factors would not have been sufficient of 

themselves to ensure the survival of the nationalist revolution in the 

face of the pressures of the first three years, if the Republic had not 

also had the advantage of capable and forceful leadership. 


All of the four men named had been active in pre-war nationalist 

circles, all had spent considerable portions of their political careers 

in prison or exile for their political activities, and three of them had 

received part of their education in Holland. Aside from these con- 

ditioning circumstances which they share, and the fact that they are 

all relatively young (Soekarno, the eldest of the group, was 46 years 

old on June 6, 1947), they are dissimilar as individuals. They are 

distinct and even somewhat antagonistic personalities, united by 

their attachment to the nationalist movement. 




Soekarno, the man in whom the Indonesian Constitution placed 

almost unlimited authority In the initial emergency, is physically 

the most prepossessing of the four. Tall by Indonesian standards and 

handsome, with clear features and sharp eyes, Soekarno is the 

showman, the orator of the Republic. Even sober-minded American ” 

journalists who do not understand a word of his speeches agree that 

he has a remarkable ability for carrying an audience with him, for 

making it laugh, cry, and pray. History is Soekarno’s major interest 

aside from politics; he is something of an authority on the American 

Revolution, on George Washington and Thomas Paine whom he 

reputedly quotes at length in the course of private conversation. 


Born in 1901 in Java’s second city, Soerabaja, Soekarno completed 

his studies at the Technical School in Bandoeng where he received 

the degree of Ir., or engineer, in architecture. However, he had 

neither the temperament nor the inclination for a career of architec- 

tural engineering and Instead was drawn toward politics, a career 

better suited to his histrionic nature. In 1927, he organized the 

Partai Nasional Indonesia, the forerunner of the present Nationalist 

Party or P.N.I. Soekarno built up the P.N.I, on a platform of uncom- 






promising nationalism and Indonesian independence. Under his 

leadership it became one of the strongest Indonesian nationalist 



Except for two years, 1932 and 1933, when he was chairman of 

the Partindo, or Indonesian Party, and wrote numerous na- 

tionalist pamphlets, Soekarno spent almost all his time from 1930 

to 1942 in prison or exile on the island of Flores, or in Padang or 

Benkoelen, Sumatra. Freed by the Japanese in 1942, he became the 

leader of the Indonesian Constitutional Law Commission and of the 

Japanese-sponsored Poettra, which laid the foundations for what was 

to become the Republic of Indonesia. 


His critics have always regarded his record during the Japanese 

occupation as confirmation of their charges against him. At first, 

the Dutch Government offered his collaborationist record as the 

main reason for refusing to negotiate with the Republic. Soekarno 

has always answered such, allegations with a simple, politically wise 

reply that temporary cooperation with the Japanese was necessary to 

sustain and advance the nationalist movement. 


Whether this explanation is quite sincere, or partly rationaliza- 

tion, it is hard to say. It is, however, certain that by his activity dur- 

ing the occupation, Soekarno did keep the nationalist movement in 

the public eye. Moreover, he became the incarnation and symbol of 

Indonesian nationalism to large masses of the Indonesian population. 

While others refused to collaborate with the Japanese on moral 

grounds, there is little doubt, from the practical point of view, 

that the groundwork which Soekarno and Hatta.laid during the 

occupation redounded to the advantage of the movement when 

independence was declared on August 17, 1945. Soekarno was the 

man whose initial efforts made the future success and development 

of the Republican Revolution possible. 


At certain critical periods in the first three years, Soekarno has 

assumed and exercised the vast powers delegated to him by the 

Indonesian Constitution, as, for example, during the crisis precipi- 

tated by the Sjahrir kidnapping in June 1946, and also during the 

gap occasioned by Sjahrir’s resignation on June 27, 1947. In gen- 

eral, however, he has confined himself to making mass-meeting 

speeches to solidify his hold on the public adulation that is the 

source of his strength, living in quiet comfort, and leaving day-to-day 

affairs in the capable hands of Hatta and political negotiations in the 

hands of Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin. 








If President Soekarno has been the spellbinder and the political 

welder of the Indonesian Republic, Soetan Sjahrir has been the 

thinker and the diplomat behind it. Until the Cabinet crisis of June 

27, 1947, when Sjahrir resigned under pressure, although his policy 

of compromise with the Dutch was accepted after his resignation, it 

had been the alliance between Soekarno and Sjahrir the former 

supplying and ensuring public support, and the latter furnishing 

foresight and a sense of the politically-feasible which had given the 

infant Republic stability in the face of strong pressures, both inter- 

nal and external. Neither could have swung the beam alone. De- 

spite his success as a negotiator, Sjahrir’s appeal is to the cream of 

the Indonesian intellectual crop and not to the broad masses of the 

Indonesian public, while Soekarno’s public appeal is based on* the 

glow of his personality rather than on the deeper faculties of mind 

which would have suited him to protracted diplomatic negotiations 

under tense circumstances. 


Sjahrir has a boyish and deceivingly ingenuous countenance which 

makes him look even younger than his thirty-eight years. Standing 

just under five feet in height, Sjahrir is probably one of the smallest 

statesmen in history, with a shock of coal-black hair, a friendly and 

ingratiating smile, and a tendency towards plumpness which he tries 

to overcome by dancing, at which he is excellent, and tennis, at which 

he is not so good. Reserved and quiet in manner, he is a man who is 

nearly always underestimated when met casually; and yet to know 

him is to know a remarkably keen and sensitive mind. When a 

Dutch Foreign Office representative asked him for one of the Re- 

publican calendars decorated with the Indonesian motto Merdeka 

(freedom), and jokingly said, “If I hang this on my desk in the 

Palace, perhaps none of the Indonesian sweepers will take my pen- 

cils away,” Sjahrir went out of his way to avoid him for more than a 



Born in the Minangkabau region of Sumatra’s West Coast on 

March 5, 1909, Sjahrir received his elementary and secondary educa- 

tion in Medan, Sumatra, and Bandoeng, Java, and thereafter went 

to Holland to study law at the University of Leyden. He married a 

Dutch girl whom he was not to see for fourteen years following his 

departure from Holland in 1932. While studying in the Nether- 

lands, Sjahrir acquired a profound respect for Western education 

and culture, and a devotion to the idea that he must use his educa- 






lion and his life to help bring freedom to the people from whom his 

Western education had partially alienated him. 


After some socialistic and nationalistic activities in Holland with 

the Perhimpoenan Indonesia or Indonesian Association, he returned 

to Indonesia intending to go back to Holland to complete his 

studies and then to return again with his wife to Indonesia once he 

had become re-oriented toward life there. In 1932, after his return 

to Indonesia, he joined the Pendidikan National Indonesia, or 

Society for National Education, which advocated a program of wide- 

spread education in Indonesia. In two years* time, his pamphleteer- 

ing for expanded educational facilities along Western lines was la- 

beled as dangerous incitement, and he was interned in Boven Digoel, 

New Guinea, without precisely knowing what his offense had been. 

From then until March 1942, Sjahrir remained in exile in New 

Guinea and Banda Neira, in the Moluccas, reading voraciously and 

writing long and discursive letters to his wife in Holland on his 

thoughts in exile, his reading, philosophy, the nationalism and psy- 

chology of subject peoples in general, the psychological aspects of 

colonialism, education, Western letters, and the future of Indonesia. 

These letters were published in Holland in 1945, in a book called 

Indonesische Overpeinzingen (Indonesian Reflections). 2 


During his eight years of exile and isolation, Sjahrir grew in 

intellectual stature. He read and re-read the Bible, Nietzsche, Kant, 

Marx, Plato, Goethe, Dante, Huizinga, ter Braak, and Ortega y 

Gasset, An introvert by nature with a quick and retentive mind, he 

went into the study of Western culture more deeply than most West- 

ern intellectuals, but his thoughts and reactions continued to be 

bound to his own people, to their backwardness, and to the anachro- 

nism which their culture represented in the modern world. 


It is remarkable, but true, that in eight long years of exile and 

internment, Sjahrir acquired no bitterness or fanatical hatred toward 

the Dutch. Actually, while his exile confirmed and re-enforced his 

already strong belief in Indonesia’s right to independence and self- 

determination, and his profound antipathy toward colonialism, this 

long period served to mature his tolerance and realism. When 

eventually he came to the helm of the Republic’s diplomatic ship 

of state, his was always the side of moderation and compromise 

within the framework of the politically and economically feasible 

and practicable. 


*Pubiisihed by the Bezigc Bij, Amsterdam, 1945. Published in English translation 

under tbe title, Out of Exile, Jotin Day, New York, 1948. 






During the Japanese occupation, Sjahrlr remained uncompromis- 

ingly anti-Japanese and was under periodic surveillance by the Japa- 

nese Secret Police. Refusing to deal with the Japanese, Sjahrir pre- 

tended to retire from politics. From an isolated mountain retreat in 

Tjipanas, West Java, he and his trusted co-workers began the slow 

and precarious task of organizing an effective popular resistance 

movement in Java, In the last months before the capitulation the 

resistance was active in harassing the Japanese, and after the final 

surrender Sjahrir’s organization took the lead in disarming Japa- 

nese forces. 


Of his writings during the occupation, he published in 1945 his 

Political Manifesto s and his Perdjoeangan Kita (Our Struggle), call- 

ing for an end to Dutch colonial rule and expressing the desire and 

right of Indonesia to a place in the world community of nations. 

When Soekarno and Hatta proclaimed the independence of Indo- 

nesia and set up the “Republican Government” on August 17, 1945, 

Sjahrir joined the common cause. He was chosen as chairman of the 

Working Committee of the K.N.LP. at its inception and, on Novem- 

ber 13, IJJ45, was appointed Prime Minister, a position which he 

held except for a month’s hiatus during June-July, 1946 until 

June 27, 1947. 


During this time, Sjahrir also held the portfolio of Foreign Minis- 

ter and conducted all diplomatic relations and negotiations with the 

Dutch and with other foreign Governments as well. 4 As a diplomat, 

Sjahrir is shrewd and deliberate. It is no exaggeration to say that it 

has been his shrewdness, diligence, sincerity and restraint more 

than any other’s, with the possible exception of Dr. van Mook that 

were responsible for the Linggadjati Agreement, and for the avoid- 

ance of widespread military action until July 21, 1947. 


As chairman of the Indonesian delegation through twenty months 

of tedious negotiations, Sjahrir not only earned the admiration of 

the Dutch Government, but won for the Republic the friendship of 

Australia, India, the Arab League and Great Britain. During this 

period, moreover, the attitude of the United States toward the Re- 

public underwent an appreciable change. In fact, it was to support 

Sjahrir’s internal position that the United States note of June 27, 

1947, was presented to the Republican Government urging the 

formation of an interim administration along the lines suggested by 

the Dutch, and promising consideration of American financial aid 


3 See Appendix, pp. 172-5. 


* Including the rice negotiations with the Government of India. See pp. 76-7. 






once the interim administration had been set up. Actually, the note 

arrived several hours too late. Sjahrir had already handed in his 

resignation in response to strong pressure from both the Sajap Kiri 

and the Benteng Rcpublik, which felt that he had gone too far in 

conceding to the Dutch on the point of having the Crown’s. Repre- 

sentative as the titular head of the proposed Interim Government, 

pending the formation of the sovereign United States of Indonesia 

by January I, 1949. 5 


Despite this internal political pressure and the criticism which 

accompanied it, Sjahrir’s resignation was actually a tactic of political 

strategy, since within nineteen hours of his departure from the post, 

his policy was endorsed by the Sajap Kiri and President Soekarno 

asked him to return as Prime Minister. The offer was refused by 

Sjahrir, and in his place another moderate, the co-leader of Sjahrir’s 

Socialist Patty, Amir Sjarifoeddin, was appointed. 


In retrospect, it is hard to deny that the change was probably a 

wise one from the Indonesian point of view. As the apostle of com- 

promise and negotiation with the Dutch, and as’ the outstanding 

advocate of restraint on the Indonesian side, Sjahrir was not the 

man to counter the new and increasingly aggressive Dutch policy; 

nor was he, from a psychological point of view, the man to lead the 

Republic in a military conflict if one were to result, as later proved 

to be the case a conflict, moreover, which was almost certain to go 

against the Republican forces at first. Sjarifoeddin, though a moder- 

ate, was not associated with the policy of restraint to the same extent 

as Sjahrir, and as the Minister of Defense in Sjahrir’s two preceding 

Cabinets, he was well-qualified to lead the Republic in case of mili- 

tary action. 


Immediately after the outbreak of military action on July 21, 

Sjahrir left for India en route to the United States, to plead the Re- 

public’s case before the United Nations. His activities at Lake Suc- 

cess will be discussed more fully in Chapter 8, but, in brief, his 

presentation of the Republic’s point of view was eloquent, sophisti- 

cated, and effective. An influential American newspaper character- 

ized his address to the Security Council as “one of the most moving 

statements heard here at Lake Success.” 6 As a moderate of long 

standing, Sjahrir had felt that compromise with the Dutch was pos- 

ble without compromising the principles of the nationalist move- 


* The events leading up to Sjahrir’s resignation, and the political situation prevailing 

in the Republic at the time, will be discussed at greater length in Chapter 8. 

York Herald Tribune, August 15, 1947. 






mem. When Dutch military action started, he felt that the time for 

compromise was over temporarily, at least. His statements at Lake 

Success reflected his changed feelings. 


Sjahrir’s contributions to the Republic’s survival in its early days 

have been subtle and unique. What his contributions to Indonesian 

nationalism will be in the future, it is hard to say. As long as he feels 

he can materially and appreciably advance the cause of independ- 

ence, his position in the Republic will almost certainly be promi- 

nent. When he begins to feel that the cause is well on its way to 

fulfillment, he may wish to turn from politics to study and writing. 

It may well be some time before he will feel free to pursue the study 

in which he is even more vitally interested than in politics. 




The man who in these first years was responsible for the day-to- 

day functioning of the Republic is neither Soekarno, the spell- 

binder, nor Sjahrir, the thinker but Hatta, the realist and practical 

administrator. Forty-five years old in 1947, bespectacled, serious and 

competent, Hatta is the man who drew up the blueprint of the Re- 

public during the occupation. He is the adviser whom Soekarno 

often has with him when the press bombards the President with 

questions on technical matters. 


A diligent, behind-the-scenes administrator who prefers to remain 

out of the limelight, Hatta on many occasions acts as the official 

spokesman of the Government and delivers closely reasoned speeches 

to the S.O.B.S.I. and Youth Congress on its behalf. He made the 

decisive appeal at the K.N.LP. session in Malang on March 12, 1947, 

when it appeared that the delegates might oppose one of President 

Soekarno’s decrees and thereby seriously hinder the Republic’s 

negotiations with the Dutch. After careful reference to the Constitu- 

tion and to the emergency powers which it gave the President, Hatta 

concluded his address with the statement that if the K.N.LP. with- 

drew its support, it would have to find a new President and Vice- 

President. Within two hours, the K.N.LP. voted to shelve the mo- 

tion which had been made to nullify Soekarno’s decree. 


Hatta was born in Bukit Tinggi, Sumatra, in 1902, and went to 

Rotterdam to study in 1922, having been Secretary and Treasurer of 

the Sumatra Youth Organization from 1918 to 1920. In Holland he 

was prominently associated with the Perhimpoenan Indonesia or 

Indonesian Association, and edited that organization’s periodical 

Indonesia Merdeka (Free Indonesia). The most traveled member of 






the quartet, Hatta attended the International Democratic Congress 

in Paris in 1926, and the Liga 7 Congress in Brussels in 1927. He be- 

came connected with the Liga organization and worked for several 

years in Berlin at its headquarters between 1927 and 1930. 


Returning to Indonesia in the early ‘thirties, Hatta became chair- 

man of the Pendidikan Nasional Indonesia, to which Sjahrir also 

belonged, and edited the nationalist periodical, Daulat Rakjat, or 

People’s Call. 


From 1935 until 1942, Hatta remained in exile and internment 

at Boven Digoel and Banda Neira with Sjahrir, for his political 

activities. Always a close friend and associate of Soekarno, Hatta be- 

came a member of the Indonesian Constitutional Law Commission 

after he had been freed by the Japanese, and eventually began the 

task of drafting the Republic’s future Constitution. 


With Soekarno, he led the Poetera 8 in reorganizing and unifying 

all nationalist political groups under Japanese sponsorship. The 

Dutch found Hatta objectionable at first, as they had Soekarno, and 

for the same reasons, and condemned him as a war criminal for 

collaboration with the Japanese. His position as the Republic’s first 

“brain-truster” and right-hand man of Soekarno has, however, re- 

mained as secure as Soekarno’s own. 


Probably the most experienced Republican leader in the technical 

affairs of government, Hatta also directs the Republic’s economic 

policies by virtue of his position as chairman of the Economic Plan- 

ning Board, which charts the course for Minister of Economic 

Affairs, Dr. A. K. GanL To Hatta goes much of the credit for mak- 

ing the Republic work internally, and for directing the progress 

which has been made in the economic rehabilitation of the interior 

regions of Java and Sumatra during the first two years of the Re- 





The Republic’s second Prime Minister was Dr. Amir Sjarifoeddin, 

co-leader of the Socialist Party with Sjahrir and one of the strong- 

est and most experienced leaders in the nationalist movement. 


Before becoming Prime Minister, small, dynamic Sjarifoeddin as 

Minister of Defense in Sjahrir’s second and third Cabinets under- 


* The Uga, or League Against Imperialism, was a leftist organization which agitated 

lor tlie national independence of colonial areas in Asia during the late ‘twenties and 

early thirties, Jawaharlal Nehru and Hatta became dose friends through their com- 

IQOQ association in the Liga. This section was written before Hatta succeeded Sjarifoeddin 

m Prime Minister. 


* See p. 8 et seq. 






took the task of strengthening and unifying the Republic’s armed 

forces and of keeping them obedient to the policies of the Central 

Government. Sjarifoeddin and his military commander, General 

Soedirman, were responsible for bringing law and order to the 

interior of Java and most of Sumatra, before the outbreak of hos- 

tilities on July 21, 1947. 


In addition, Sjarifoeddin performed the vital function of main- 

taining liaison until his elevation to the post of Prime Minister- 

between the Republican Government in Djokjakarta and Sjahrir, 

who spent most of his time in Batavia during the negotiations with 

the Dutch. Sjarifoeddin is a man of vision and integrity, respected 

on both sides. A Socialist who believes that the Republic must be 

politically free to direct its economic reorganization along socialist 

Mnes, Sjarifoeddin has exceptional political stature in the Republic. 


Sjarifoeddin was born in 1907 in Medan, Sumatra, and received 

his secondary education at Leyden and Haarlem in Holland. He re- 

turned to Indonesia to study at the Batavia Law School where he 

received his degree in 1933, after which he did some teaching and 

undertook graduate study towards the degree of Doctor of Law. 


In 1933 he was arrested and sentenced to two years’ imprisonment 

for nationalist pamphleteering. After his release in 1935, he began 

to practice law in Soekaboemi, West Java, and at the same time 

founded, and became chairman of, the strongly nationalistic Gerindo 

Party. In 1939, he became general secretary of the G.A.P.L federa- 

tion of all nationalist political parties, but with the fall of Holland 

in May, 1940, Sjarifoeddin agreed to work with the Dutch Govern- 

ment to aid in the fight against fascism, which he considered a 

greater menace than colonialism. He became successively an adviser 

to the Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary of the Governing 

Board of the Export Bureau, and, finally, editor of the Economic 

Weekly published by the Department of Economic Affairs. 


When the Indies fell to the Japanese in February, 1942, Sjari- 

foeddin remained an implacable foe of the new regime and for his 

active underground work was sentenced to death. The sentence was 

later commuted to life imprisonment. 


Sjarifoeddin played an active part in the Republic from its incep- 

tion and served as Minister of Information in Soekarno’s first Cabi- 

net and in Sjahrir’s first Cabinet. He then became Minister of De- 

fense in Sjahrir’s second and third Cabinets, and succeeded to the 

post of Prime Minister five days after Sjahrir’s resignation on June 

27, 1947. As Prime Minister he had the support and respect of all 






groups in the Government and was able to lead these groups in 

common opposition to the Dutch military action of July 21. 




Ranking below these “Big Four,” there have been other promi- 

nent figures who have helped to contribute the indispensable factor 

of leadership to the Republic. In the forefront of these has been the 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs, Dr. 

Adnan Kapan Gani. Doctor, actor, politician, Gani is probably the 

most colorful of the Indonesian leaders, as well as one of the most 

affable and egocentric. Born in Palembang, South Sumatra, Gani 

studied medicine at the Batavia Medical School and, after receiving 

his degree, began to practice in Palembang. His practice was success- 

ful, but his ambitions and interests soon turned to other fields. He 

became attracted by the lure of Java’s infant moving-picture indus- 

try. He appeared in two Javanese films and made a reputation for 

himself as a screen swain, before his interest in politics began to con- 

sume all his attention. Even now Gani admits a profound personal 

as well as official interest in films and professes a desire to build a 

Government-sponsored film industry in Indonesia in the future. 


In the late 1930*s, Gani became a member of the Executive Com- 

mittee of Sjarifoeddin’s Gerindo Party. During the occupation, his 

political interest and activity lagged, and he returned to the prac- 

tice of medicine. He did, however, in April 1945, become a member 

of the Preparatory Commission for Indonesian Independence and 

was active when that body endorsed Soekarno’s and Hatta’s Declara- 

tion of Indonesian Independence and elected the two top national- 

ist leaders as President and Vice-President of the hastily formed 

Republican Government. In August 1945, he became the first Re- 

publican Resident, or representative of the central Government, in 

his home city, Palembang. Five months later, he was appointed Vice- 

Governor of South Sumatra and in this position expanded his po- 

litical influence, gaining renown as the “brains” behind the extensive 

“smuggling” trade which the Republic carried on with Singapore, 

despite the Dutch naval blockade of all Republican ports. 


In October 1946, Gani became Minister of Economic Affairs in 

Sjahrir’s third Cabinet, a position which he retained under Sjahrir 

and Sjarifoeddin. When Sjarifoeddin became Prime Minister, Gani, 

as the chairman of one of the strongest parties in the new coalition 

government, the P.N.I.,, also was given the portfolio of Deputy Prime 







As a member of the Indonesian delegation throughout the twent) 

months* negotiations with the Dutch along with Soesanto and Mo- 

hammed Roem, and under both Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin Gam, 

a diplomatic neophyte, acquired considerable experience, and a 

reputation for meeting moderation with moderation and fire with 

fire. At one of a series of Dutch-Indonesian conferences regarding 

implementation of the economic provisions of the Linggadjati 

Agreement, Gani had a particularly lively dispute with the Dutch 

Naval Commander-in-Chief, Vice-Adniiral A. S. Pinke. At one point 

in the discussion, the Admiral proclaimed that, regardless of any 

agreements reached by the civil authorities in the Netherlands 

Indies, exports from all Indonesian territory would remain subject 

to naval scrutinybecause “I am the authority in these waters.” 

Gani replied with a sarcastic laugh and a reference to the flourishing 

“smuggling” trade between Sumatra and Singapore which was being 

carried on despite the Dutch Navy. The conference broke up tem- 

porarily as a result of the sharp exchange. 


As chairman of the strong Nationalist Party (P.N.L), Gani’s po- 

litical star is bright. As an economist, however, Gani is a good Thes- 

pian. He has admitted that one of the “main attractions … of poli- 

tics is its romance.” It is thus appropriate that his position as 

Minister of Economic Affairs should be devoted mainly to public 

relations at which he is excellent, rather than to planning. In the 

policy aspects of economic affairs, Gani will probably continue to 

remain subordinate to Hatta. As a statesman and negotiator, Gani is 

emotional and inclined to be superficial. As a public relations man, 

cigar-smoking, gregarious, extrovert Gani is a real asset to the Re- 

publican cause. 




One of the most scholarly and stimulating of all the Republican 

leaders is the Foreign Minister, the venerable Hadji Agoes Salim. 

Born in Kota Gedang on the West Coast of Sumatra in 1884, Hadji 

Salim is probably the oldest active leader in the youthful Republican 

Government. In his position as an elder statesman with a long na- 

tionalist record dating back to the start of the movement, the Hadji 

has exercised considerable influence on the younger, less experienced 

leaders, indirectly through persuasion and advice, rather than di- 

rectly through his own power. 


A scholar who speaks a euphuistic English as well as fluent Arabic, 

French, Dutch, and German, the Hadji acquired most of his learning 






by private stud) after he graduated from high school in Java. From 

1905 to 1911, he worked as a translator in the Dutch Consulate in 

Jidda, Arabia, while continuing his studies of Islam and Arabic at 

the same time. Returning to Java, he edited the Bataviaasche Nieuws- 

bl&d (Batavia News), and helped to found, in 1919, the Islamic 

organization, Sarekat Islam, which later expanded greatly in size, 

strength, and nationalist sympathies. Agoes Salim never slackened 

his interest or activity in Islamic circles. In 1925-26 he founded and 

edited the organ of the All-Islam Congress, the Fadfar Asia (Dawn 

of Asia). In 1927, he became a “Hadji,” or pilgrim of Islam, by mak- 

ing the pilgrimage to Mecca. 


Continuing his activity in the Sarekat Islam, Agoes Salim jour- 

neyed to Europe in 1929 as an Indonesian delegate to labor confer- 

ences in Geneva and in Holland. He returned to Indonesia to edit 

an Indonesian Islamic newspaper in Djokjakarta, the Mustika. Con- 

stantly advocating education, Islamic unity, and direct political 

negotiations to further Indonesian nationalism, the Hadji remained 

both a student of Islam and a citizen of the world. 


When the European War broke out in 1939, Agoes Salim agreed 

to cooperate with the Dutch against German fascism and went to 

work for the Netherlands Information Service for a short time in 

1940. After the Dutch capitulation in 1942, he became active in the 

Poetera with Soekarno and Hatta during the Japanese occupation. 

After the Declaration of Independence, he helped to re-organize the 

Masjoemi Party. He became Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs in the 

second and third Sjahrir Cabinets, and Foreign Minister when 

Sjahrir resigned that portfolio in June 1947. 


Despite his relatively advanced age and his insistence that “revolu- 

tion is a business for young men,” the Hadji’s role in the Republi- 

can Government has been an active one. As a moralist and strategist, 

and as a keen judge of human nature, he exerted a wholesome in- 

fluence on the younger men including Sjahrir who actually han- 

dled the negotiations. His position as a well-known, popular and 

respected national figure, because of his long activity in Indonesian 

Islam, made his advice and opinions much sought after at moments 

of diplomatic crisis, not only by the Republic but even by the 



Agoes Salim went to Delhi in March 1947 to attend the Inter- 

Asian Conference as the Republic’s chief representative. He re- 

mained away for eight months, first on a mission to the Middle East 






to solicit friendship and promises of support in the United Nations 

from the Arab League, in case the Dutch should resort to military 

action. When the outbreak came, Agoes Salim joined Sjahrir in tak- 

ing the Indonesian case to Lake Success, 9 


A small man with a quaint, stubby, white Vandyke beard and 

youthful, bright eyes, the Hadji is a man of taste, wit and acumen. 

In an argument, his polished and enthusiastic rhetoric is at its peak, 

but there is a twinkle in his eye and persuasion in his voice. An un- 

usually versatile raconteur, he is one of the few men whom the 

writer has ever known to out-talk the former American Consul Gen- 

eral in an exchange of anecdotes on pre-war days in the Indies 

which both men knew so well from such different points of view. 


The Hadji is a man who combines a truly religious spirit with a 

contagious zest for life and for people, He is a thinker and an extro- 

vert as well, and is probably one of the few Hadjis who can take an 

occasional alcoholic drink while remaining a devout and respected 

Moslem. There are few men of either the Hadji’s age or broad cul- 

ture on the Indonesian political scene, and while it is likely that he 

will soon retire from public life to return to his large family, the 

Hadji’s high place in the annals of Indonesian nationalism is secure. 


There are still other Indonesian leaders whose positions are im- 

portant and whose names are worth mentioning. Mohammed Roem, 

the former Minister of Home Affairs, has a strong voice in the Mas- 

joemi Party. Born in 1908 at Parakan, Middle Java, Roem was edu- 

cated at the Batavia Law College and entered private law practice in 

1939. He was active before the war in Islamic circles and played an 

important role after his appointment to the Cabinet by Sjahrir in 

October 1946. As a member of the Indonesian Delegation, a Cabinet 

Minister with an important portfolio, and a major figure in the 

Masjoemi Party, Roem had an important position in the Republican 

administration. He is a man of vision who appears to be aware of 

the Republic’s future responsibilities toward the rest of the world. 

Speaking to a group of Indonesian officials and businessmen in 

Batavia on May 8, 1947, Roem said: 


“A difficult task awaits the Republic. We shall have to show the world 

that we are capable of conducting our affairs to the satisfaction and 

benefit of the outside world.” 


$Both die Middle East and Lake Success missions will be discussed more fully in 

Part EH. 






Roem is iikel} to be an important figure in Indonesian politics and 

in the Republican Government. His influence will be a conserva- 

tive one. 


Then there is Setiadjit, the key figure in the Indonesian Labor 

Movement, who has been Chairman of the Labor Party and Vice- 

President of the S.O.B.S.I. Labor Union federation, as well as second 

Deputy Prime Minister behind Gani in the Sjarifoeddin Cabinet. 


Setiadjit is a moderate socialist who spent the war in Dutch under- 

ground activities in Holland, editing the resistance newspaper, 

Vrij Nederland (Free Netherlands). Returning to Indonesia imme- 

diately after the Allied re-occupation, he performed valuable liaison 

work for the Republic. In April 1946, he accompanied Dr. van 

Mook to Holland to help convince Dutch liberal leaders of the need 

for making further concessions to the Republic. He was with Dr. 

Koets when the latter made his important visit to Republican terri- 

tory in September 1946. As the leader of a labor movement which 

is almost certain to grow stronger in the coming years, Setiadjit’s 

position and influence in Indonesian politics is likely to grow pro- 



These are some of the leaders who have helped to steer the new 

ship of state through rough waters during the first years. There are, 

of course, lesser leadersamong them, Alimin Prawirodirdjo, the 

Communist leader, and Dr. Soekiman, the conservative titular head 

of the Masjoemi Party. The latter has long been a member of the 

nationalist movement and was in the vanguard of those who opposed 

negotiations with the Dutch because of their profound distrust of 

Dutch intentions. There are, also, Abdoel Madjid, of the Socialist 

Party, Soesanto Tirtoprodjo, of the P.N.I., and Mrs. Maria Santoso, 

of the Women’s Federation, formerly Minister of Social Affairs. 


In general, the Republic’s leadership is in the hands of younger 

men, whose education and sincerity are greater than their adminis- 

trative or political experience. They are men who came to their new 

positions with a real sense of responsibility toward their people, and 

an appreciation of the magnitude of the tasks before them. They are 

definitely not fanatics. They are men who listen to advice and appre- 

ciate help in their work. They are usually open-minded, and anxious 

for cooperation with other nations. 




















The signing of the Linggadjati Agreement on March 25, 1947, 

was the occasion for reciprocal public expressions of good will by 

Professor Schermerhorn and Dr. van Mook on the Dutch side, and 

Sjahrir on the Indonesian. Selarnatans were held in the kampongs, 

official cocktail parties were exchanged, and optimism in Batavia 

was running high, on the surface at least. 


In their first meeting three days after the signing, the Indonesian 

Delegation and the Dutch Commission General now constituted as 

a joint organization to direct the implementation of the Agreement l 

issued the following proclamation: 


“Now that the realization of the Linggadjati Agreement has put an 

end to the state of conflict between the Netherlands and the Republic of 

Indonesia, it is essential to remove every thought of vengeance or re- 

prisals … on either side, . . . and to put an end to the fear that is [still] 


held by many Furthermore, the main questions which have yet to find 


their solution by mutual agreement can be solved only in an atmosphere 

of friendship and good faith. 


“For this reason the Commission General and the delegation of the 

Republic joindy issue the following statement: 


*’ ‘No one shall be prosecuted or in any other way be subjected to 


legal proceedings for the reason that he has joined either party or 


has placed himself under the protection of either party.’ ” 2 


The proclamation actually contained more sense than it did con- 

viction. Calling for joint and effective action, it was an auspicious, if 

minor, introduction to the problems of implementation which grew 


1 Article XVH, Section A, of the Linggadjati Agreement stated that “In order to 

bring about the cooperation between the Netherlands Government and the Govern- 

ment of the Republic emrisiooed by this Agreement, an organization shall be called 

into existence, consisting of delegations appointed by each of the two Governments 

with a joint secretariat.” See Appendix, p. 178. 


2 Issued at Batavia, March 29, 1947, 








from the vague terminology of Linggadjati. The optimism which 

this proclamation seemed to express was short-lived. 


While both sides continued to give extensive lip-service to the so- 

called “spirit of Linggadjati,” violations and breaches of that spirit 

multiplied in the next two months. Paradoxically enough, there 

were more such breaches on both sides after March 25 than there 

had been in the three months between the drafting and signing of 

the Agreement. It is impossible to determine quantitatively which 

side was guilty of the greater number of violations. The indictments 

on both sides were substantial. 




On the Dutch side, efforts were made toward the setting up of 

puppet states in East Indonesia and Borneo which would initially 

be under Dutch control and in the long run would at least remain 

sympathetically inclined toward the Netherlands. Nominal author- 

ity was given to the East Indonesian Government of President Tjo- 

korde Gde Rake Soekawati and Prime Minister Nadjamoeddin 

Daeng Malewa, but the East Indonesian Constitution provided that 

“provisionally” all matters pertaining to foreign affairs, defense, 

finance, trade, education, industry, etc., 3 would be subject to final 

decision by the Netherlands Indies Government. 


At the opening of the East Indonesian Parliament in Macassar on 

April 22, 1947, both Soekawati and Nadjamoeddin indicated their 

intention of relying heavily on the Government in Batavia. While 

an East Indonesian Cabinet was formed, the position of “Secretary 

General” was attached to each Ministry, and a Dutch official was put 

in the post. The Secretary General of the East Indonesian Ministry 

of Economic Affairs who formerly had been a high official in the 

Dutch Department of Economic Affairs admitted two weeks after 

the opening of the East Indonesian Parliament that, in the event of 

a dispute between himself and the Minister, “I would probably win 

out!” Within the East Indonesian Government itself some pro- 

Republican sentiment developed under the leadership of the Chair- 

man of the Parliament, Tadjoeddin Noor. Within a month after the 

opening of the Parliament, Tadjoeddin was forced out of office. 


In West Borneo, a “state” was set up in May 1947, under Dutch 

sponsorship, headed by Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak. Hamid 

Alkadrie had been a lieutenant-colonel in the Dutch Army. He was 

promoted to the rank of full colonel and attached to the staff of the 


3Cf. footaote, p. 45. 






Queen of Holland just before the formation of the “autonomous” 

state of West Borneo. 


These steps toward autonomy in East Indonesia and Borneo were 

unconvincing, both to the press and to other observers in Batavia at 

the time. The Republic regarded them as a direct violation of the 

spirit of Linggadjati in general, and of Article II in particular. That 

article had provided for “cooperation” between the Republic and 

the Netherlands in the “formation … of a sovereign . . . democratic 

state on a federal basis to be called the United States of Indonesia.” 

The Agreement also had provided that the states of East Indonesia 

and Borneo were to be components of the projected U.S.I. The Re- 

public contended that, in forming these “states” unilaterally and 

under clear Dutch control without any prior consultation, the Dutch 

were harking back to an old colonialism under a new guise, and 

were acting in contravention of the Agreement. 


Dutch political activity in Borneo more especially appeared to 

the Republican Government not to be in conformity with the 

Agreement. The Republic counted upon majority support in both 

East and South Borneo and had repeatedly addressed requests to the 

Dutch to hold plebiscites in these areas according to Article IV of 

Linggadjati, which provided that the “population of any territory 

decide by democratic process” what its position within the U.SJ. 

would be, and whether it wished to become integrated in the Re- 

public or in another of the states. Republican protests were ignored, 

and West Borneo was set up with a fanfare and publicity which com- 

pletely overlooked the fact that the political future of both South 

and East Borneo had still not been decided. 


Even Dr. van Kleffens, the Dutch Ambassador, who presented the 

Dutch case when the Indonesian question came before the Security 

Council after the outbreak of hostilities, 4 showed his ignorance of 

this important point by his reference to “the Government … of 

Borneo,” as being in support of the Dutch military action. 5 The 

Republican Government contended that not only had West Borneo 

been set up outside the provisions of Linggadjati as a puppet govern- 

ment, but that the areas of Borneo which were sympathetically in- 

clined toward Djokjakarta had been effectively muzzled. 


The Republican leaders had still other and more serious griev- 


* See Chapter 8. 


5 On August 26, 1947, the Dutch announced recognition of the “self-governing” terri- 

tory of East Borneo. No plebiscite among the people of the area and no consultation 

with the Republic preceded the formation of the new “government” which the Dutch 

announced would become part of the projected U.SJL 






ances against Dutch action in the period immediately following the 

signing of LinggadjatL One of the most serious of these was over 

the P&saend&n independence movement which the Dutch fostered in 

the recognized Republican area of West Java. The movement, they 

alleged, was engineered by certain high officials in the Dutch Civil 

Service and the Army, who hoped that it would provide a legitimate 

political excuse for military action. The existence of such a plan was 

well known to all observers in Batavia and was even admitted by the 

Dutch officials who had not been actively associated with it- Evi- 

dently, the intention had been to foster separatism in West Java and 

to justify it in the light of the linguistic and cultural differences 

between the Sundanese and the other peoples of Java. 


More than two months before the signing of Linggadjati, one re- 

liable American observer visited a high Dutch Civil Service official 

in Bandoeng, the center of Republican Western Java, which was 

held by the Dutch. The official had numerous Sundanese visitors and 

spoke to them in the Sundanese language. The observer asked him 

before leaving what it was all about, and smilingly he replied, “We 

are working on something here which will blast Linggadjati off the 

front pages.” With the help of the Dutch Army in Bandoeng and in 

Buitenzoig, the Pasoendan movement very nearly did just that. 


On May 4, 1947, in Bandoeng the Sundanese People’s Party 

(Parted Rajat Pasoendan), which had been newly formed for the 

occasion, proclaimed the independence of the twelve million Sun- 

danese people in the western third of Java. The proclamation was 

immediately turned over to the Dutch Army whose help and protec- 

tion were solicited to set up a “government” and hold a “plebiscite” 

in “Sundanese” territory. 


Actually, the whole “movement” was a farce from start to finish. 

In the first place, the two top leaders chosen for the “movement’ ‘ 

were the most impossible selections imaginable. Soeria Kartalegawa, 

the “President/’ had been widely regarded as a ne’er-do-well and 

Raden Mas Koestomo, the “Prime Minister” and spokesman of the 

group, had been released from a mental institution in Buitenzorg 

only a few months before the proclamation of independence! The 

Simdanese People’s Party itself had had no contact whatsoever with 

the Sundanese people as such, since the organization had never ven- 

tured outside the Dutch-held cities of Bandoeng and Buitenzorg. 


The ceremonies of the independence proclamation, moreover, 

were staged to the point of absurdity. At one of the ceremonies 

Dutch Military Police handed out green and white Pasoendan 






flags with one hand, and large half-loaves of bread with the other to 

the hungry people mostly young boys in order to start a parade 

as a “voluntary” demonstration of the popular support behind the 

new movement. 


The travesty of Pasoendan was immediately exposed by the press, 

and public disclaimers were soon issued by the Netherlands Govern- 

ment Information Service in Batavia and, unofficially, by Dr. van 

Mook’s headquarters as well. 


In all fairness it should be stated that the Pasoendan “movement** 

was a misguided plan engineered by overzealous units of the Army 

and the Civil Administration, evidently without the prior approval 

or consent of the Central Government or the Commission General 

in Batavia. 


Aside from certain “protective” actions which the Army took 

against Republican Government offices in Buitenzorg and later in 

Batavia, the Central Dutch Government restrained the Army and 

extinguished the synthetic Pasoendan spark before the Army had 

fanned it into a major military conflagration. 


Nevertheless, from the Republic’s point of view, the Pasoendan 

abortion confirmed its worst suspicions of a Dutch intention to “di- 

vide and rule,” and to find a diplomatic excuse for using military 

force in order to restore colonialism in Indonesia. Justified or not, 

Republican distrust and suspicion probably were augmented more 

by the Pasoendan fiasco than by any other Dutch action after Ling- 



On the military front, the Republic directed countless charges 

against alleged Dutch violations of the March 29 statement that 

Linggadjati had “put an end to the state of conflict between the 

Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia. . . .” Particularly in the 

Medan area of Sumatra, allegations were made that Dutch patrols 

constantly crossed the demarcation lines which had been set up as 

barriers between the Dutch and Indonesian forces. Similar allega- 

tions came from the other side. 


On March 17, one week before the signing of the Agreement, 

Dutch troops had openly violated the demarcation lines around the 

Soerabaja perimeter in East Java, when they moved out from the 

city itself into the Republican territory, and occupied the Republi- 

can city of Modjokerto, According to the Dutch, the reason for the 

action was that the rice area in and around the Sidoardjo and Bran- 

tas deltas outside Soerabaja had been partially inundated by a break- 

age in the delta dikes. Immediate action was necessary, they main- 






uined, to repair the dikes which the Republic seemed unwilling or 

unable to do-and to prevent further inundation and destruction of 

the rice crop covering an area of some 70,000 acres. 


There was certainly justification for this view, but the Indonesians 

regarded the action as a blatant violation of the cease-fire order of 

October 14, 1946. The ends, they felt, had not required or justified 

the military means used. One of the first demands they made after 

the signing of the Agreement was for an immediate evacuation of 

Dutch troops from Modjokerto, and from the Sidoardjo and Brantas 

deltas. The Dutch countered with a suggestion that both sides de- 

militarize the area. Lengthy discussions on the point ensued, and 

during the discussions Dutch troops remained in Modjokerto. The 

Republican contention was that the area was de facto Republican 

territory and had been recognized as such by the Dutch themselves 

on March 25. The Republic could not and would not agree to a 

demilitarization of its territory unless the Dutch were to agree to a 

similar concession in Dutch territory. A satisfactory solution was 

not reached; Dutch troops and patrols remained in the area, al- 

though Republican civil officials later returned to the city. 


As the Pasoendan incident had confirmed the Republican fear 

that the Dutch might use a political device as a justification for the 

employment of force, so Modjokerto confirmed its fear that the 

Dutch might use an economic situation to justify the use of force. 

Both events strengthened suspicion of Dutch intentions, particularly 

on the part of the rightist Benteng Republik constituents. 


On the economic side, there was the thorny issue of the Dutch 

Naval blockade of Republican ports which continued in effect after 

the signing of Linggadjati. According to a series of Dutch ordinances 

promulgated by decree of the Lieutenant Governor General, and the 

Commander-in-Chief of the Dutch Navy in the Netherlands Indies, 

Vice-Admiral A. S. Pinke, on January 28, 1947, all exports from and 

imports to Republican ports were subject to inspection and licens- 

ing either by the Dutch Navy or the Dutch Department of Economic 

Affairs in Batavia. Categories of “contraband” goods had been 

formulated which included not only imports of military equipment 

but also exports of any produce which might be considered to be 

“estate” or “European” in origin. Products such as rubber, quinine, 

sugar, abaca, and sisal in Java which before the war had largely 

originated from European and Dutch-owned estates were prima facie 

assumed to be still owned by the former estate proprietors, regard- 

less of the date of production of the goods. In other words, all estate 






produce was assumed to have antedated the Dutch capitulation of 

February 1942, and such “prime facie estate produce” was subject to 

seizure by the Dutch Navy, regardless of allegations or bills of lading 

which might be proffered to prove that the production had taken 

place after the Dutch had left or been removed from their estates. 


In point of fact, the Dutch had justification for these decrees since 

there is no question but that large quantities of pre-war estate stock- 

piles of rubber, sugar, quinine, tobacco, and fibers were stored in 

Republican areas, and that attempts were being made by Indonesian 

and Chinese dealers to smuggle this old but valuable produce to 

Singapore. There is, moreover, little doubt that at least part of Dr. 

Gani’s “trade” from South Sumatra consisted of just such caigo. 


Nevertheless, before the signing of Linggadjati, the Dutch Navy 

applied the decrees of January 28 in an arbitrary and high-handed 

fashion, refusing to consider or allow any discussion or evidence as 

to the “details” of place of origin, date of production, or bills of 

lading attached to a specific cargo. Chinese, Indonesian, and British 

ships, and one American vessel, were seized and their cargoes im- 

pounded by the Navy on behalf of the Department of Economic 

Affairs, whether or not there was any doubt as to ownership, age, 

or origin. 


As a matter of fact, prior to Linggadjati, the aggressiveness of the 

Navy in enforcing the decrees had constituted, in effect, a complete 

blockade of all Republican ports and had given rise to strong pro- 

tests not only from the Republic but from the American and British 

Governments as well. 6 


*The most famous of these protests was delivered two weeks before Linggadjati by 

the American Ambassador to the Dutch Foreign Office at the Hague. The protest con- 

cerned the seizure of the American liberty ship, “Martin Behrman/* The “Behnnan,” a 

ship of the Isbrandtsen Company, had arrived in the East Java Republican port of 

Cheribon in the middle of February. According to a “‘contract” which the Isbrandtsen 

Line had allegedly negotiated with the Republic’s Banking and Trading Corporation 

(cf. pp. 72-3), the “Martin Behrman” began to load a cargo of 5,000 tons of rubber 

sheets and crepe, 400 tons of sugar, 500 tons of cinchona bark, and 200 tons of sisal 

under the eyes and guns of the waiting Dutch destroyer, “Kortenaer.” The cargo was 

“prir&a facie” estate produce, but the B.T.C claimed to have bills of lading and 

“proof of the date of production and, hence, of the Republic’s “legal” ownership of 

the produce. The Isbrandtsen Company stated that it was “satisfied” as to the legality 

of this “proof,” and continued loading despite Dutch threats of seizure. On March 1, 

when loading of the multi-million-dollar cargo had been completed, the “Kortenaer” 

placed an armed marine guard on the “Martin Behrman” and forcibly directed the 

master to proceed to Tandjong Priok, the Dutch port of Batavia 


On March 4 the cargo was impounded by the Dutch Government, and one week 

later the American protest was delivered to the Hague. The Netherlands’ reply called 

attention to continued Dutch de jure sovereignty and “responsibility” throughout 

Indonesia, and on March 24 the Batavia Land Court confirmed the Government’s 







After the signing of the Agreement, it was the understanding of 

the Republic and particularly of its Minister of Economic Affairs, 

Dr. Gani that the decrees of January 28 and the Dutch blockade 

would be lifted. Gani’s contention was that in line with the “co- 

operation” implied by the “spirit of Linggadjati,” and in line with 

Dutch recognition of the Republic’s de facto authority, the Dutch 

should immediately take steps to enable his Ministry freely to carry 

on and to regulate bona fide trade between Republican areas and 

the outside world. 


In the two months following Linggadjati, the aggressive Econom- 

ics Minister made several representations on this subject to the 

Commission General and to J. E. van Hoogstraten, the Director of 

the Dutch Department of Economic Affairs, but his efforts were to 

no avail. Gani and the P.N.L party of which he was chairman, be- 

came more than ever convinced by this failure that the Dutch in- 

tended to isolate the Republic from foreign trade despite the de 

facto recognition which had been granted by Linggadjati in order 

that pre-war colonial economic relationships might be restored. 


As in the other cases which have been cited, the question as to 

whether or not the Republic’s enhanced suspicions were fully justi- 

fied in every case is of secondary importance. The main point, 

rather, is that there was ample cause for some of the Republic’s fears, 

and that these aggravated fears nullified much of the cooperative 

spirit which Linggadjati had awakened. 





It is, however, well to remember that in the period following 

Linggadjati, fear and suspicion were by no means confined to the 

Republican side, nor were “provocative” acts restricted to the Dutch 

side. In Dutch eyes, during the two months following Linggadjati, 

the Republic also gave abundant indication of her unwillingness or 

inability to abide by the Linggadjati Agreement according to its in- 

tentions and spirit- 

First and foremost of Dutch grievances was the independent and 

expanding network of foreign relations which tKe Republic had 

begun to set up even before the signing of the Agreement, and 

which it expedited after it was signed. Less than one week before the 

signing, the then Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hadji Agoes 

Salim, left by an Indian plane from Djokjakarta to head an Indo- 






nesian delegation to the Inter-Asian Relations Conference in New 

Delhi on March 23, 1947. The Interim Government of India had 

invited twenty-two countries of Asia to participate in this first 

Inter-Asian conference and had extended a special invitation to the 

Republican Government. Two days after the signing of the Agree- 

ment, Prime Minister Sjahrir also left for New Delhi and later ad- 

dressed the conference. Indian-Indonesian relations, which had be- 

gun on a friendly note with the rice negotiations a year before, 7 were 

cemented by Sjahrir’s trip to Delhi, and his conversations and ex- 

change of views with Pandit Nehru, Foreign Minister and leader of 

the Interim Government. 


Sjahrir returned to Batavia via Siam and Singapore within two 

weeks, but Hadji Salim remained in India and soon afterward led 

an Indonesian delegation to the Middle East. Setting up headquar- 

ters in Cairo in April, the Hadji began a series of discussions with 

and visits to the states of the Arab League, with the avowed purpose 

of acquiring friends for the new Republic. As a Moslem leader of 

long standing, and having a fluent command of Arabic, Agoes Salim 

was a good choice for the mission. 


By the beginning of June, Egypt, Syria and Iran had all accorded 

de facto recognition to the Republic, and on June 10, in Cairo, 

Agoes Salim and Prime Minister Nokrashy Pasha of Egypt signed a 

treaty of friendship between their respective nations. Syria soon fol- 

lowed suit. From the Indonesian point of view, Hadji Salim’s mis- 

sion was an auspicious success. From the Dutch point of view it was 

a flagrant violation of Linggadjati and of the Agreement’s accom- 

panying memoranda and exchange of letters. According to the Dutch 

view, the Republic’s diplomatic activity in India and the Middle 

East was contrary to the cooperative spirit of Linggadjati and repre- 

sented a clear indication of the Republic’s intention to by-pass, and 

even to sabotage, the projected Federated United States of Indonesia 

by establishing its own unilateral contacts and missions abroad. The 

Dutch charged that the foreign diplomatic activity of the Republic 

was in direct contravention of an exchange of letters between the 

Commission and Sjahrir on November 20 and November 25, 1946, 

in which the Republic had indicated its adherence to the premise 

that de facto recognition did not carry with it the diplomatic conno- 

tations of de jure recognition. 


According to Article II of the Agreement, de facto recognition 

alone had been granted the Republic, and de jure recognition of a 


*Seep. 76. 






“sovereign * . . state” had only been accorded to the not-yet-formed 

United States of Indonesia, For the Republic, the distinction be- 

tween the two forms of recognition may have been a tenuous one. 

For the Dutch it was crucial. In the two months following Lingga- 

djati, Dutch confidence in Republican aims was undermined more 

by the independent program of foreign relations which the Republic 

embarked upon, than it was by any other single factor, including 

truce violations and casualties inflicted on Dutch armed forces by 

Republican regular and irregular army units. 


That there were also violations of the cease-fire truce Agreement 

of October 14, 1946, by the Indonesians is unquestionable. The 

Dutch Army made continual allegations of Republican infiltration 

through the demarcation lines in Bandoeng, Soerabaja, Medan, 

Padang, and Batavia. In the months following Linggadjati, there 

were countless reports by the Dutch Army Information Service of 

“routine” Dutch patrols or posts being mortared or machine-gunned 

by T.R.L units. Invariably, the official reports would acknowledge 

that Dutch forces had retaliated and “silenced” the T.R.I, fire. 

There is little doubt that provocation from the green T.R .1. troops 

was extensive, and yet under the military conditions prevailing in 

Sumatra and Java following Linggadjati, where Dutch and T.R.I. 

units had patrols operating within a few hundred yards of one an- 

other, it was obviously impossible to determine who fired the first 

shot in most of the innumerable skirmishes that took place. Cats and 

dogs, noises and wind could and did start shooting, and the psycho- 

logical factor in such cases is always so strong that both sides could 

well have been sincere in accusing the other side of starting any 

particular incident. Such simultaneous dual accusations were made 

more than once. 


Another Dutch grievance lay in the numerous “plots” which were 

discovered following Linggadjati, involving alleged Republican at- 

tempts to foment disorder and sabotage in East Indonesia. In one 

such episode, during April, forty armed Indonesian “extremists” 

were captured by the Dutch Navy en route from an East Java port 

to Bali, six miles across the Straits, in small prahus. The Dutch felt 

that this and other such instances constituted clear evidence that the 

Republic regarded the Linggadjati document as a temporary ex- 

pedient, and that the real Republican aim was to sabotage the fed- 

eral structure envisioned by the Agreement. 


The records on both sides, during the two months following 

Linggadjati, were so tarnished that militant groups in both Djokja- 






karta and Holland were becoming stronger, and the cooperative ele- 

ments were becoming less and less inclined toward cooperation. 

Cause and effect were, of course, almost indistinguishable in this 



In Djokjakarta, the worst fears of the rightist Benteng Repubhk 

were being confirmed, and the moderate Sajap A’iri was becoming 

more and more inclined to favor a strong policy toward the Dutch. 

Confidence in Sjahrir remained, but there was a noticeable decrease 

of enthusiasm for his compromise policies and for his continuing 

confidence in the workability of cooperation. 


In Holland, pressure on the Catholic-Labor Coalition Govern- 

ment was increasing. The Catholic Party under its Parliamentary 

leader, Professor Roinme, openly advocated the use of force in Indo- 

nesia. The Labor Party remained opposed to force but was more 

pressing in its demands for some action which would put an end 

to the costly stalemate. The newly formed and influential right-wing 

Committee for the Preservation of the Kingdom (Comite Handhav- 

ing Rijkseenheid) called for military action. Its leaders, former 

Prime Minister Pieter Gerbrandy and former Minister of Colonies, 

C. H. Welter the old-guard colonials openly accused the Com- 

mission General of weakness, incompetence, vacillation, and even 

treachery. One member of the Commission, Feike de Boer, had al- 

ready resigned because of the scurrilous criticism which his liberal 

position had received. 8 Dr. van Mook and Professor Schermerhorn 

could not and did not remain indifferent to the pressures from home. 


In Batavia, none of the trust and mutual confidence or goodwill 

envisioned by the Agreement was apparent in April and May. It 

was not unusual for Dutch and Indonesian officials to voice their 

grievances and disappointments privately to American and other ob- 

servers. Each would separately, but spiritedly and sincerely, refer to 

a violation committed by the other side as an indication of that side’s 

unwillingness or inability to act upon the Linggadjati Agreement. 

The Indonesian would point to Pasoendan or Modjokerto and aver 

that the Dutch were plainly doing their best to gain a footing for a 

restoration of colonialism by a policy of divide-and-rule, 


The Dutch would just as heatedly refer to the Republican diplo- 

matic activity in India and the Middle East, or to an incident at one 


8 Mr. de Boer’s resignation had this personal motive as well as that referred to on 

page 46. A liberal, straightforward businessman, de Boer had taken the position of 

favoring political concessions to the Republic as a quid pro quo to give Dutch business 

a chance to operate again. For this stand he was harshly criticized in the press and 

by rightist political parties in Holland. 






of the demarcation lines around Medan or Bandoeng, where several 

Dutch soldiers had been killed; or to orders “secured” by the 

Netherlands Forces Intelligence Service (N.E.F.I.S.), which showed 

that the T.R.L was planning an attack on some Dutch hill station- 

as indications that the Republic was composed of irresponsible ele- 

ments out to sabotage Linggadjati and all future Dutch interests in 



During the two following months all attempts by the Republican 

Delegation and the Commission General to implement the Agree- 

ment through discussion and compromise on specific points were 

stymied by the 4< which-comes-first-the-chicken-or-the-e^” sort of 

controversy. For example, Dr. Gani continually pressed for a re- 

laxation of the Dutch economic regulations of January 28 and a 

lifting of the Dutch blockade of Republican ports. Over the heated 

words of Admiral Pinke, the Commission General or its economic 

representative, van Hoogstraten replied that this might be done, 

but only after European and other foreign properties in Republican 

territories had been returned to their rightful pre-war owners as 

provided for in Article 14 of the document. 


Dr. Gani and the Republican Delegation countered that foreign 

properties would gladly be returned in accord with mutual Dutch- 

Indonesian interests in economic rehabilitation. However, Dr. Gani 

stipulated that as an assurance of Dutch good intentions all Dutch 

troops be withdrawn in advance from the areas in Java and Sumatra 

which the Netherlands Government had recognized as de facto Re- 

publican territory, according to Article I of the Agreement. 


The Dutch in turn replied that since final de jure responsibility 

rested with the Netherlands throughout Indonesia pending the 

formation of the sovereign U.S.I. and since they had doubts as to 

the Republic’s willingness and ability to implement Article 14, they 

would not withdraw their troops until all foreign properties had 

been returned and were once more functioning normally under the 

management of their pre-war owners. 


On this particular point the Dutch position was unacceptable to 

the Indonesian Delegation. Any attempt to attach the withdrawal of 

Dutch troops as a condition to the return of foreign properties to 

their pre-war owners would be irrevocably opposed not only by the 

Benteng Republik and the Sajap Kiri but by the S.OJB.S.L labor 

combine. S.O.B.S.I. would and did regard all such conditions as 

incontestable evidence that the Dutch intended to use force to re- 






store pre-war working conditions and economic servitude on estates 

and in factories. 


Thus, endeavors to implement specific articles of the Agreement 

bogged down in a mire of circumlocutory mumbo-jumbo. From the 

Indonesian standpoint the situation was serious. Both the Djokja- 

karta Government and the two large political party blocs were be- 

coming increasingly cool toward the discussions which Sjahrir was 

continuing with the Dutch in Batavia. 


From the Dutch point of view, the situation was absolutely un- 

tenable. The political pressures which were being brought to bear 

on the Netherlands Government and the Commission General have 

already been referred to. The economic pressures were even more 

critical. No appreciable resumption of trade, and particularly of ex- 

ports, had occurred in Indonesia during the two years since the re- 

occupation. Exports of petroleum products from the Indies had 

averaged more than 500,000 tons per month in 1940. In 1946 and 

the first half of 1947 there were no exports of petroleum products 

whatsoever. In- 1940, rubber exports had been at the rate of over 

40,000 tons per month but during the twenty months of British and 

Dutch occupation exports had never averaged more than 15 per 

cent of this figure. The expenditure of more than 3,000,000 guilders 

a day roughly 1,000,000 United States dollars for the maintenance 

of the Dutch armed forces, was exhausting the Netherlands* finances. 

The foreign exchange and particularly dollar balances to which 

the Netherlands Indies Government had access were critically low, 

and during April and May the Foreign Exchange Control Bureau 

of the Netherlands Indies Government was literally closed to all 

business involving applications for dollar allocations to finance im- 



As time passed, economic rehabilitation in the self-sufficient Re- 

publican areas proceeded slowly, but the fact is that it did make 

some progress.* On the Dutch side, the longer the Linggadjati 

Agreement failed to be implemented, the weaker grew the economic 

position. Loss of time was a critical liability for the Dutch, and a 

subtle asset for the Republic. 


Under the joint pressures of economic and political influences, 

Prime Minister L. J. M. Beel and the Minister of Overseas Terri- 

tories, J. A. Jonkman, flew to Batavia in the middle of May for 

decisive conferences with the Commission General. By this time Dr. 

van Mook himself had been convinced that, under the economic 


See pp. 73 ff. 






exigencies of the situation, force would almost certainly have to be 

used. Only Schermerhorn, the chairman of the Commission and the 

leader of the Labor Party, held out for continued discussions, and 

Schermerhom’s support was necessary if military action were not to 

signify the dissolution of the Catholic-Labor coalition and the fall 

of the Beel Government. 


By the time Reel and Jonkman returned to Holland in the last 

week of May, Schermerhorn too had agreed that if a final set of 

Dutch proposals were not accepted by the Republic in full, he would 

not oppose any subsequent action which the Government might 

deem advisable. 


Just after the departure of Reel and Jonkman, before one observer 

left Batavia at the beginning of June 1947, a Dutch spokesman in 

the Government Information Service in Batavia remarked to him: 


“It is too bad you are leaving at this time. You have seen the 

Dutch cowering for a year and a half now; if you were to wait just 

a little longer, you would see what we can really do” He left little 

doubt as to his meaning. 


By the beginning of June, the Dutch decision to resort to military 

action had evidently been made. The question was no longer 

whether, but when, The only likelihood of a change in plan lay in 

foreign intervention and the foreign intervention which was later 

made was neither strong enough nor far-reaching enough to deter 

the Dutch permanently from acting upon the resolve they had taken 

by the beginning of June. 




On May 27, the Commission General presented its “final” pro- 

posals to Sjahrir. The document of approximately 10,000 words had 

four main provisions. 


In the first place, it provided for the immediate formation of a 

supreme “Interim Federal Government” to govern Indonesia until 

the establishment of the projected U.S.I. by January 1, 1949. Accord- 

ing to the Dutch proposal, the Interim Government would consist 

of representatives of “the various political entities in Indonesia/’ 10 

as well as the “Representative of the Crown.” In view of the con- 

tinuing de jure sovereignty of the Netherlands until January 1, 1949, 

the Crown’s Representative was to be at the helm of the Interim 


ie Quoted from Appendix I, paragraph 1 of the Commission General’s proposals of 

May 27, The term “various political entities” refers to the Republic, East Indonesia, 

and West Borneo. 






Government in “a special position with power of decision/’ n The 

Interim Government was to be charged with the formation and 

direction of all federal organs and departments which eventually 

would take their place in the sovereign U.S.I. 


Secondly, under the Interim Government the foreign relations of 

Indonesia were to be handled by a Council for Foreign Affairs, con- 

sisting of two Republican representatives, one representative each 

from East Indonesia and Borneo, and the representative of the Far 

Eastern Branch of the Dutch Foreign Office, who would be chairman 

of the Council. 12 A sort of joint top-level control of foreign rela- 

tions by the Supreme Interim Government, on the one hand, and 

the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Hague, on the other, was 



In the third place, to implement and enforce a complete cessation 

of hostilities, to demilitarize the perimeter areas separating the 

Dutch and Republican forces, and to maintain security, a “Joint 

Directorate of Internal Security” under the Supreme Interim Gov- 

ernment was called for. 13 The Directorate, consisting of “a number 

of civilian and military authorities, Dutch as well as Indonesian,” 

was to have control over a “joint Indonesian-Dutch gendarmerie” 

in which there would be equal contingents of Dutch and “Indo- 

nesian” troops. 14 Moreover, the Directorate through its military 

arm, the joint gendarmerie was to be empowered to maintain law 

and order throughout the archipelago, presumably wherever and 

whenever it was deemed necessary. 


Finally, a joint economic Administrative Council was to be set up 

under the Interim Government. This Council was to consist of 

Dutch, Republican, East Indonesian and West-Borneo represent- 

atives as well as the president of the Netherlands-owned Java Bank, 

and was to have jurisdiction over all matters of export, import and 

foreign exchange. Decisions concerning economic matters were to be 

by unanimous vote. In case of a failure to reach unanimity, the 

supreme Interim Government was to decide. 15 


The Commission General left no doubt as to the finality of these 

proposals. In a closing note, Dr. van Mook wrote: 




f. Quoted from Appendix I, paragraph 2. 


ia Ibid. f Appendix II, paragraph 2. 


is Ibid., Appendix in, paragraphs 2 and 3. 


14 Ibid. “Indonesian,” rather than “Republican” forces were referred to in Appendix 

III. Presumably, the implication was that the “Indonesian’* forces in the joint gendar- 

merie would be derived from East Indonesia and Borneo, as well as the Republic. 


is Ibid., Appendix IV, paragraph 1. 






** . . The Commission General considers itself bound to demand that 

a reply to these proposals be given by the Republican Delegation within 

fourteen days. In case this answer is in the negative or unsatisfactory, the 

Q^aMamion-Genera! sees to its regret no possibility of continuing the 

discussions and will have to submit to the Netherlands Government 

the question as to what is to happen further.” ie 


From the Dutch point of view, considering the exigencies of the 

moment and the critical economic need for an immediate resump- 

tion of exports to replenish the exhausted Dutch exchequer, the 

proposals of May 27 were reasonable, fair, and concrete. There is 

little question but that these proposals represented a sincere attempt 

to end the diplomatic impasse, and to implement the Linggadjati 

Agreement according to the Dutch interpretation of that Agree- 

ment. Unfortunately, however, the Dutch interpretation was no 

closer to the Republican interpretation on May 27, than it had been 

two months before. 17 


From the Republican standpoint, the lengthy document was sub- 

ject to grave suspicion, particularly when viewed in the light of the 

events of April and May. The Republican Delegation was acutely 

aware of the new strong-line policy of the Commission and partic- 

ularly of Dr. van Mook/s concurrence. Sjahrir had conferred with 

Jonkman before the latter’s departure and knew of the likelihood 

of a use of force by the Dutch. No one knew better than he what 

the Dutch frame of mind was which had produced the proposals of 

May 27. Consequently, both Sjahrir and his Cabinet had grave sus- 

picions of these proposals, and the clear evidence that they were 

intended as an ultimatum did little to allay these suspicions. 


In the first place, the proposals began with the statement that 

“future federal matters and . . . the organization of federal depart- 

ments . , . will be handled in cooperation between the Netherlands 

Indies Government and the various political entities of Indonesia.” 18 

According to the Republic, the “spirit” of Article II of Linggadjati, 

which called for “cooperation between the Netherlands and the Re- 

public in the formation … of … the sovereign, federal . . . U.S.L,” was 

gone. In place of cooperation between the Netherlands and Republi- 

can Governments, there now was to be cooperation between the 

Netherlands representatives and the “various political entities of 



** Quoted from Ofeiai Text of Memorandum of May 27, 1947. 


IT See pp. 44-6. 


i* Quoted from Apf>eiidix I t paragraph I, May 27 Memorandum, 






As has already been pointed out, the Republic’s interpretation of 

“cooperation” involved co-equal status with the Netherlands in the 

setting up of the U.S.I. According to the Republican concept of 

“federal,” as used in the Linggadjati Agreement, the primacy of the 

Republic over the other political entities in all federal matters by 

virtue of its size and population was not to be denied. The new 

phraseology signified to the Republican Delegation an attempt to 

deny its co-equal status with the Netherlands in the setting up of 

the future U.S.L It also implied a strong possibility that the Re- 

public’s voice in federal matters might be drowned in the din of the 

Dutch-dominated voices of the other Apolitical entities.” 


These were the broad disagreements which still divided the two 

delegations. More specifically, the Republic had strenuous objections 

to the projected Internal Security Directorate which, Republican 

leaders feared, might be used as a means for heavily-armed Dutch 

troops to gain access to Republican territory. Furthermore, they 

foresaw that the joint gendarmerie would constitute a violation of 

the de facto internal authority of the Republican Government, and 

that the Dutch contingent of the gendarmerie could be used to re- 

establish the pre-war colonial conditions which some Dutch estate 

and factory owjiers might still hope to restore. 


Furthermore, the economic clauses of the Dutch proposals were 

considered to offer no guarantee that the Republic would receive a 

suitable proportion of foreign exchange allocations commensurate 

with her export contributions and her import requirements. Exports 

from Republican territories might, thus, be used to further eco- 

nomic recovery in the Dutch-dominated areas of East Indonesia and 

Borneo rather than in Java, Sumatra, and Madura. 


Finally, the Republican leaders suspected that the supremacy of 

the Crown’s representative in the Interim Government, and of the 

Dutch Foreign Office in the conduct of the Interim Government’s 

foreign Relations, might conceivably be used to weaken the Repub- 

lic’s position not only in the future U.S.L, but abroad as well. 


These were the major objections which the Republic had to the 

final Dutch proposals of May 27. They underscored the basic cleav- 

age between the two delegations particularly with respect to the 

crucial issues of “federalism” and “cooperation” which had existed 

at Linggadjati and which still existed at the end of July when the 

final outbreak of hostilities occurred. 


In Djokjakarta, both the Sajap Kiri and the Benteng Republik 

immediately rejected the Dutch proposals, almost unanimously. Re- 






turning to the Republican capital for an emergency session of his 

Cabinet, Sjahrir hastily drafted a rough and somewhat vague set of 

counterproposals in an attempt to comply with the Dutch ultimatum 

and stave off the breakdown which both sides now expected. 


On June 8, the Republican answer was handed to the Commission 

General in Batavia, 


The Republican counterproposals o June 8 accepted the prin- 

ciple of an interim government. However, in accord with the Re- 

public’s interpretation of Linggadjati, the counterproposals attached 

so many conditions and qualifications to the Dutch proposals of May 

27 as to constitute a virtual rejection of the Commission General’s 

note. In point of fact, the counterproposals were intended as an 

agenda for discussion, although no one knew better than Sjahrir 

that the Dutch in Batavia were in no mood for further discussion. 


Realizing this fact still more clearly after his return to Batavia, 

and realizing that as the Republican counterproposals then stood 

hostilities might well break out before further discussions had a 

chance to materialize, Sjahrir undertook to make more direct con- 

cessions supplementary to the June 8 note. In a letter to the Com- 

mission General on June 20, and an explanatory memorandum of 

June 23, 19 he went as far as he felt the Republic could go towards 

meeting the Dutch proposals, while still adhering to its basic inter- 

pretation of the Linggadjati Agreement. In quick order, he now 

agreed to recognize the de jure “special position” of the Crown’s 

Representative in the Interim Government; and he agreed to the 

organization of the Council for Foreign Affairs, as the proposals of 

May 27 had suggested. Referring to the economic aspects of the 

Dutch proposals, Sjahrir asked for supplementary discussions on 

those points but expressed the opinion that differences in viewpoint 

concerning them could be resolved. 


Finally, he reiterated the Republic’s stand that any arrangements 

concerning a Directorate of Internal Security to which the Republic 

might agree would not affect the fact that “maintenance of law and 

order in Republican territory should be first and foremost the duty 

of the Republican Government.” ^ 


Sjahrir well knew the gravity of the situation. He was acting in 


w Camddentally, Sjahrir ‘s letter of June 20 crossed a letter to him from Professor 

Schermerfaorn in which the Commission General rejected the Indonesian counter- 

proposals of June 8 and stated that “The Commission General has . . . come to the 

conclusion that the Republican note [of June 8] does not offer any opportunity for 

further negotiations.” 


*a Quoted from Sjahrir’s letter of June 23, 1947. See Appendix, p. 179. 






what he considered a last hope of preserving peace, and of resolving 

the differences between the two sides by negotiation instead of by 

force. In hastily drawing up these maximum concessions, Sjahrir 

was taking an initiative which was too far ahead of the leaders in 

Djokja who were not fully aware of the situation in Batavia. 


Returning to Djokja with serious doubt that even these last con- 

cessions would stave off conflict, Sjahrir was confronted with strong 

opposition to his policies. On June 25, Dr. Soekiman the head of 

the Masjoemi party stated that it was “very possible that the Mas- 

joemi would attempt to oust Sjahrir.” 21 P.N.L and Masjoemi oppo- 

sition to the latest concessions was strong, and on June 26, the Sajap 

Kiri bloc, which had provided the K.N.I.P. support for Sjahrir’s 

Government, also voted its disapproval of the June 20 and June 23 



After an all-night session with the Sa^ap Kiri, and with his Cabi- 

net, Sjahrir tendered his resignation and that of his Cabinet to Soe- 

karno on the morning of June 27. The Sajap Kiri’s vote of no- 

confidence had made his position untenable. 


Within nineteen hours of Sjahrir’s resignation, the Sajap Kiri 

reversed itself and announced that it would support his policies and 

seek to reinstate him. Sajap Kiri’s extraordinary reversal came partly 

as a result of its unwillingness to have Sjahrir dropped from the 

Government and from the negotiations which he had led for twenty 

months, and partly from an increasing awareness in Djokjakarta of 

the extreme seriousness of the situation with which Sjahrir had been 

trying to cope. 


The arrival of an aide memoire from the United States Govern- 

ment to the Republican Government strengthened the resolve of 

both the Sajap Kiri and President Soekarno to seek Sjahrir’s return 

to office, although actually the United States note arrived in Djokja- 

karta after the Sajap Kiri had already reversed its earlier stand and 

had decided to support Sjahrir. 


The aide memoire itself, which presumably had been despatched 

from Washington to strengthen Sjahrir’s position at home, arrived 

in Djokja late in the evening of June 27. In it, 22 the Republic was 

urged “to cooperate without delay in the immediate formation of an 

interim federal government,” as Sjahrir had already agreed to. 

Furthermore, the note promised that “after the interim government 

shall have been established, and mutual cooperation along a con- 

si Associated Press despatch, June 25, 1947, Djokjakarta. 

22 See Appendix, pp. 180-81. 






stractive path assured, the United States Government (will) … dis- 

cuss, if desired, with representatives of the Netherlands and the 

interim government (including representatives of the Republic and 

other constituent areas) financial aid to assist the economies and re- 

habilitation of Indonesia.” 


The prestige and power behind the Government which sent the 

note of June 27, together with the enticing promise of financial aid 

which neither side could afford to overlook, were probably the 

major factors which prevented a launching of military action by 

the Dutch after Sjahrir’s resignation. 


Despite the United States’ note and requests by both President 

Soekarno and the Sajap Kiri that he return to office, Sjahrir decided 

against it. Even with the U.S. note, Sjahrir felt that there was almost 

no possibility of peaceful compromise, and that under the circum- 

stances hostilities might be postponed, but were nevertheless bound 

to occur eventually. That a political stratagem also was involved in 

his refusal to return is possible, as has already been pointed out. If 

hostilities were to break out, Sjahrir was not the best man to lead 

the Republic. His possible service as an international ambassador to 

plead the Indonesian case before the world would, on the other 

hand, unquestionably be a great asset to the Republic in case it was 

needed. By a decree of President Soekarno on June 30, Sjahrir was 

made “special Adviser to the Government,” and his use in this 

diplomatic capacity was foreshadowed. 


Three days later, Amir Sjarifoeddin was appointed Prime Minis- 

ter by President Soekarno, to head a Coalition Government with the 

backing of the Sajap Kiri, the progressive wing of the Islamic party, 

and the P.N.I. The support of this last party was assured by the 

appointment of its chairman, Dr. Gam, as Deputy Prime Minister, 

and the support of the Sajap Kiri was strengthened by the appoint- 

ment of the head of the Labor Party, Setiadjit, as second Deputy 

Prime Minister. 


During the six-day hiatus between Sjahrir’s resignation and Sjari- 

foeddin’s appointment, Soekarno had assumed all powers as the Con- 

stitution authorized him to do in times of emergency. On June 27, 

immediately after Sjahrir’s withdrawal, Soekarno addressed a note 

to Dr. van Mook stating that “the Republican Government agrees 

entirely with the declaration by the Republican Delegation … in 

its letter of June 23.” ** It was clear that with or without Sjahrir as 

Prime Minister, the Republic had decided to adopt the policies and 


& Quoted from President Soekarno’s note of June 27, 1947, paragraph 6. 






concessions which he had already undertaken. There was thus no 

change in the Republican attitude during the six days that Soekarno 

personally handled negotiations with Batavia, or during the eighteen 

days that Sjarifoeddin carried on, before the outbreak of hostilities. 


In Dr. van Mook’s reply on June 29, the Lieutenant Governor 

General referred to the “unclear” agreement on certain points 

which had been reached, and the “doubt” which the Dutch Govern- 

ment still entertained concerning other points. In this note, Dr. van 

Mook once more tersely reiterated the fundamental points in the 

original Dutch memorandum of May 27 and re-asserted the “final 

responsibility” which the Joint Directorate for Internal Security 

and its joint gendarmerie would have for the maintenance of 

“order, safety and political freedom” throughout the archipelago. 

Finally, Dr. van Mook called for “explicit and public deeds” on the 

part of the Republic to prove its amicable spirit. The “public deeds” 

explicitly called for were the “cessation of hostilities, by which is 

meant the . . . construction of fortifications” ** and the discontinu- 

ance of the Republic’s “foreign relations.” The strong note of June 

29 ended with an ultimatum that the Republic must express full 

agreement and take action upon all the Dutch points within one 



As Dr. van Mook’s note of June 29 indicated that die Dutch would 

not go beyond the proposals of May 27 and the interpretation of 

Linggadjati behind them, so the reply of the new Prime Minister, 

Sjarifoeddin, on July 5, showed plainly that the Republic’s final 

position was and would remain that of Sjahrir’s note of June 23 and 

of the Republican conception of what had been agreed at Linggad- 



During the next two weeks, Sjarifoeddin and van Mook exchanged 

a number of memoranda in which the latter reiterated his demand 

for a dissolution of Republican foreign relations and for a cessation 

of hostilities, and held to the position that the Security Directorate 

must be supreme. Sjarifoeddin reaffirmed the Republic’s primary 

right to exercise the police function in its own territory, refused the 

“explicit and public deeds” which van Mook had called for until 

such time as agreement had been reached and called upon the 

Dutch to reduce their armed forces commensurate with a reduction 

in T.R.I, strength as an expression of ‘”mutual trust” and good will. 


During most of this period Sjarifoeddin remained in Djokja as he 

feared an outbreak of hostilities at any moment, and the negotiations 


& Quoted from Dr. van Mook’s letter of June 29, 1947. 






and memoranda were transmitted through Gani or Setiadjit in Ba- 

tavia. On July 18, the discussions between van Mook and Gani broke 

off. Two days later Gani was placed under house arrest, and Beel 

authorized van Mook to take “police action,” at the latter’s recom- 

mendation. On July 21, Dutch troops moved out, and hostilities 



And yet, when hostilities started, the two sides had come closer to 

agreement on some of the original points of May 27 than ever before. 

The principle of an Interim Government to rule Indonesia until 

the formation of the U.S.L had been agreed upon. The de jure spe- 

cial position of the Crown’s Representative in the proposed Govern- 

ment, and the projected Council for Foreign Affairs had both been 

accepted. On some other points, the two delegations were still as far 

apart as they had been when the final Dutch proposals were made. 

The Directorate of Internal Security and the Joint Gendarmerie 

were no closer to mutual acceptability by the two sides. The Repub- 

lic adamantly refused to discontinue its independent foreign negotia- 

tions and relations and its construction of fortifications, road blocks, 

and land mines, as long as the tense situation existed. On the other 

hand, under the current conditions the Dutch refused to diminish 

or withdraw their forces in the de facto Republican bridgehead areas 

in Java and Sumatra. 


Behind the progress towards agreement which had been made on 

some issues and the failure to reach agreement on others, the cleav- 

age between the two delegations had remained. On the essential 

problems of federalism and cooperation, the Republic and the 

Netherlands were hardly any closer on July 28 than they had been 

four months earlier. The Dutch still contended that the term federal 

meant a political equality among states which actually were no more 

equal than Yemen and Pakistan. The Republic still clung to the 

position that the term cooperation, as used in the Linggadjati Agree- 

ment, implied a co-equal status between the Republic and the 

Netherlands in the setting up of the United States of Indonesia and 

of its constituent parts East Indonesia and Borneo. 


There is little doubt that the United States note of June 27 was 

the main factor which postponed the outbreak of hostilities until 

July 21. And yet, the United States note also failed to recognize the 

vital fact that what separated the two sides was not a single issue- 

either on June 27 or on July 18- such as the position of the Crown’s 

Representative question first, and the Joint Gendarmerie question 

later, seemed to be. These were symptoms, not the disease. The disease 






was the inability of the two sides to arrive at a common interpretation 

of the original Linggadjati Agreement; or perhaps back of this the 

deep-seated distrust which each side maintained toward the other. 

As the Dutch Ambassador Dr. Eelco van Kleffens admitted before 

the Security Council on July 31, when the Indonesian question 

came up for discussion: “Let it not be said that this [military] action 

was merely undertaken because we still continued to differ over one 

point in connection with the execution of the terms of the Linggad- 

jati Agreement namely the constitution of a joint gendarmerie/’ ** 

Dr. van Kleffens knew that more basic differences were at issue- 

differences which could hardly be resolved by force. 


25 Quoted from the address made by Dr. van Kleffens before the United Nations 

Security Council on July 31, 1947. 













On the stroke of midnight, July 20, 1947, after Dr. van Mook 

had advised the Republic that “the Netherlands Government . . . 

will take such measures as will make an end to this untenable situa- 

tion,” 1 Dutch troops launched extensive operations from their main 

bridgeheads in Ratavia, Bandoeng, Semarang and Soerabaja in Java, 

and Medan, Paleinbang and Padang in Sumatra. 


The same political motives and pressures which had led to 

the ultimatum of May 27, after the visit of Dr. Reel and Mr. Jonk- 

man, lay behind the action of July 2L The same economic condi- 

tions which had made the post-Linggadjati situation untenable for 

the Dutch and had required decisive action on May 27, now lay 

behind the even more drastic action of July 21. Dutch patience had 

been exhausted by the protracted and dilatory negotiations which 

produced some results on paper, but few in practice. Dutch nerves 

had been frayed by the perpetual suspicion with which every Dutch 

suggestion was received by the Republic. Sjahrir and Sjarifoeddin 

did not have a broader mandate from Djokjakarta to conduct nego- 

tiations than the Commission General had from the Hague. Con- 

sequently, they were continually obliged to refer final decisions on 

vital matters back to the central Government in Djokja. The Dutch 

felt that this procedure had been used as a tactic to prolong negotia- 

tions and to weaken the Dutch economic position. When Dutch 

troops finally began their “police action,” Dutch military strength 

was at a peak, but Dutch economic resources were at rock bottom. 


It is not the author’s purpose to judge whether Dutch motives 

justified the action of July 21. There is, however, one vital factor 

which cannot be ignored. The Linggadjari Agreement had pro- 

vided that: 


* Quoted from Dr. van Mook’s memorandum to tiie Republican Government, July 20, 

1947. See Appendix, p. ITS. 






“The Netherlands Government and the Government of the Republic 

of Indonesia shall settle by arbitration any dispute which might arise 

from this agreement and which cannot be solved by joint consultation 

. . . between those delegations. In that case, a chairman of another na- 

tionality with a deciding vote shall be appointed by agreement between 

the delegations or, if such agreement cannot be reached, by the Presi- 

dent of the International Court of Justice/’ 2 


The drafters at Linggadjati had, thus, not only envisioned the 

possibility of difficult problems arising from the Agreement itself, 

but also had provided a mandatory means by which these problems 

might be peaceably resolved. The basic differences which still sepa- 

rated the two sides on March 25, after the signing of the Agreement, 

and on July 21 were substantially the same. As has already been 

emphasized, these differences stemmed from the fundamentally 

different interpretations which the Republic and the Netherlands 

attached to the concepts of “federalism” and * ‘cooperation/’ as used 

in the Agreement. The failure to reach agreement over these two 

issues had augmented the distrust and ill-will on both sides in the 

four months following Linggadjati. 


According to the Linggadjati Agreement, the Netherlands Gov- 

ernment had committed itself to the procedure of arbitration by a 

third party in case any disputes should arise which could not be 

resolved by the Commission General and the Republican Delega- 

tion. Both the Republican press and the Delegation had repeatedly 

called attention to this clause of the Agreement during the months 

following the signing, when it became clear that despite progress on 

particular points of difference the interpretive gaps between the two 

parties remained as broad as ever. The Dutch repeatedly justified 

their claim that the arbitration clause did not apply on the ground 

that the disputes in question had not actually arisen from the Agree- 

ment itself. To others this seemed hair-splitting sophistry. 


The disputes in question could no more be dissociated from the 

Agreement than a person can be dissociated from his environment. 

The Agreement itself provided the environment, the point of refer- 

ence of the disputes, and they were thus intimately connected with 

it. Post hoc rationalization as to which came first, the disputes or the 

Agreement, was neitheT rewarding nor relevant. When military 

action began, the Dutch had as yet made no attempt to avail them- 

selves of the arbitration procedure for peaceful settlement, to which 

they were already committed, 


2 Quoted from Artide XVH, Paragraph B of the Linggadjati Agreement. See Ap- 

pendix, p. 178. 








The political scope of the original action of July 21 was not clear. 

Dr. van Mook had stated in a memorandum to the Republican 

Government on July 20 that the action was undertaken to end “an 

untenable situation” and to “create conditions of order and safety 

which will render possible the execution of the . . . program , . . ex- 

pressed in Linggadjati.” He also stated, in the same memorandum, 

that “the Netherlands Government can no longer consider itself 

bound, in its dealings with the Republic … by the Linggadjati 

Agreement.” 3 In a statement to the press the following day, he 

again stated that “the Netherlands Government . . . does not con- 

sider itself bound any further by the Agreement, and retakes its 

freedom of action.” 4 


On the other hand, Dr. Reel stated on July 20 in a radio broad- 

cast in which he announced that the Lieutenant Governor General 

had been authorized to take “police action*’ that “the Government 

will continue to adhere to the principles of Linggadjati . . . and 

these principles will also retain their full meaning with regard to 

the Republic,” 


The divergence in the two views indicates that there may have 

been an element of opportunism in the Dutch action. On August 

26, at a ceremony in Samarinda, Borneo, Dr. van Mook recognized 

the new “autonomous” territory of East Borneo as a prospective part 

of the United States of Indonesia. At the same time, he expressed 

the “hope” that a similar development might be expected in West 

and East Java, in the Palembang area of South Sumatra, and in the 

Medan area of the North East Coast of Sumatra. Since these terri- 

tories were parts of the de facto Republican areas recognized by the 

Linggadjati Agreement, Dr. van Mook’s implication was clear. These 

areas had all been occupied by Dutch troops since the outbreak of 

“police action.” As he saw it, the Dutch had regained their freedom 

of action and were no longer bound by Linggadjati. In the circum- 

stances, it was not unlikely that an attempt would be made to set 

up separate states in these regions, which would then be detached 

from the Republic. Later events proved that this possibility was 


On August 2, the Republican Government announced from Djokjakarta that, in 

consequence of the unilateral breaking of relations by the Dutch, the Republic also no 

longer considered itself bound by the Linggadjati Agreement as a member state hi 

tlie future U.S.I. According to the announcement, the Republic considered that it had 

regained freedom of action, and it intended to use that freedom to take its place as a 

sovereign state in the world family of nations. 


* Quoted from release of the Netherlands Information Service, Batavia, July 22, 1947. 






seriously considered by the Dutch authorities. Such a policy of 

divide-and-rule would not be unique. However, there are reasons to 

doubt that it will be applied, or could succeed if it were. These 

reasons will be taken up later on. 


Dr. van Mock’s personal role in the course of events since May 27 

has been interesting. As the liberal mentor behind the Lingjadjati 

Agreement, on the Dutch side, van Mook showed initiative and re- 

straint throughout the protracted negotiations. Despite harsh criti- 

cism and accusations from right-wing groups in Holland, he had 

advocated a peaceful and gradual transition to a new order. He had 

been in the forefront of those who realized and argued that the end 

of colonialism had come, and that a new pattern of organization 

must be found for the former colonial areas- Compared with the pre- 

war Governor Generals, van Starkenborgh and de Jonge, van Mook 

was regarded in the Netherlands as an extreme progressive. 


However, after May 27, Schermerfaorn not van Mook became 

the main advocate of moderation and restraint. Van Mook, instead, 

had come out for an increasingly strong policy toward the Republic. 

It is no coincidence that almost all the “strong” notes from the 

Commission General to the Republic during the period from May 

27 to the final notification of hostilities on July 20 were signed by 

van Mook and not by the chairman of the Commission, Professor 

Schermerhorn. Furthermore, after the outbreak of hostilities, it was 

van Mook who bitterly condemned the Republic and plainly sug- 

gested a break-up of its territories. 


The reasons behind this apparent change of heart are somewhat 

obscure. Though an idealist, van Mook had become discouraged by 

the course of events after the signing of Linggadjati. The Agreement 

which he had worked so long and so hard to formulate, and for 

which he had sustained harsh criticism in Holland, seemed to be 

corning to naught. Distraught and disappointed by this criticism and 

by the recurrent difficulties in the way of implementing the Agree- 

ment, van Mook evidently decided that he could implement it more 

effectively on a unilateral basis, than on the bilateral basis of its 

conception and dedication. There is little doubt that, in van Mook’s 

own mind, the action of July 21 in no way constituted an attempt 

to restore colonialism. 


Van Mook is a man of principle. Regardless of the integrity of his 

original motives, however, his later actions and public statements 

showed the fallacy of his own thinking. A bilateral agreement cannot 

be implemented unilaterally. Any attempt at unilateral action, how- 






ever sincerely undertaken, violates the spirit of the agreement and 

leads to an opportunistic violation of the letter as well. 




Despite the haziness of the political scope of the Dutch action, its 

military aims were fairly clear. The “limited police measures” which 

the Dutch now undertook were neither “limited” nor “policing” in 

the usual sense of those words. They constituted full-scale military 

action, employing large numbers of troops, airplanes and tanks, with 

extensive and specific military objectives. 


The first of these objectives was to meet and destroy the T.R.I. 

and its irregular constituents, the Laskar and the Banteng forces. 

The second was to isolate the Republic in as small an area as possi- 

ble in Central Java. This was to be accomplished by land and sea 

operations from Batavia, Soerabaja, and Semarang along the North- 

em Coast of Java, with the ports of Laboen, Cheribon, Indramajoe, 

Tegal, Probolinggo and Bandjoewangi as the major goals. From Ban- 

doeng and Cheribon, after its capture, drives were to be directed to 

the South in order to take the only port on Java’s South Coast, 

Tjilatjap, and to slice West Java from the Republic. From Soera- 

baja a drive to the South Coast was to complete the Isolation of the 

Republic by severing East Java from Central Java. Finally, if the 

political situation made it possible to drop the pretext of “limited” 

action, a drive might be made from Semarang through Salatiga to 

the Republican capital, Djokjakarta, in Central Java. 


In Sumatra, the military objectives were considerably more lim- 

ited, mainly because of the smaller forces which the Dutch had sta- 

tioned there. The action In Sumatra envisioned an extension of the 

Dutch bridgeheads of Medan in the Northeast, Palembang in the 

South, and Padang In the West. As a result of this action, the Dutch 

expected to regain possession of the rich estate areas on Sumatra’s 

east coast, and of the Standard and Shell oil fields forty miles outside 



To accomplish these objectives, the Dutch had about 109,000 

troops in Indonesia at the end of July, under the command of Lt 

General S. H. Spoor. They comprised a strong, disciplined, well- 

equipped, mobile and mechanized force with adequate first-line air 

and naval support, but with a relatively small store to replace dam- 

aged or lost equipment. Their morale was generally excellent. The 

author talked with many of the officers and men, both In Batavia 

and at hill stations in Java, from the time they began to arrive In 






the Indies during the spring of 1946 until a month before the out- 

break of hostilities. They seemed ready and anxious to fight and be- 

came more so as time went on. Their theory was that fighting had to 

come sooner or later: the sooner it began the sooner it would be 

over, and the sooner they could return home. Without exception, 

they felt that the military issue would be settled within a few weeks 

by the complete destruction of the Indonesian forces. The confidence 

of the Dutch army just prior to the outbreak of hostilities was 

boundless. It is not improbable that this was a strong factor in- 

fluencing the final decision to take military action. This over-ween- 

ing confidence was surprising in the light of the information which 

the army must have had concerning the military and political posi- 

tion of the Republic, as well as concerning the experiences of the 

French military forces during the previous year in Indo-China 

against the Viet-Nam guerrilla forces. 


To oppose the Dutch action, the Indonesians had three weapons. 

In the first place, there was the military arm. The T.R.I., under the 

command of General Soedirman, comprised a total force including 

both the regular and irregular units of approximately 200,000 

troops, of which 150,000 were in Java and 50,000 in Sumatra. This 

combined force, which still bore the clear markings of the Japanese 

* model from which it was constructed, possessed an- armament of 

about 150,000 rifles, and something under 5,000 small arms, machine 

guns, and mortars, as well as unknown quantities of home-made gre- 

nades and land mines, and several small munitions factories. A token 

air force of no more than forty Japanese Zero fighter planes and 

bombers rounded out the Republic’s military strength. Actually, 

Air Commodore Soeriadarma’s main source of worry was a lack of 

pilots, rather than of planes, since he commanded only about half 

as many qualified pilots as planes. 5 


The T.R.I, was definitely not a mechanized, modern striking 

force. It was not the sort of army which could stop the Dutch me- 

chanized columns in open combat, and it made very few attempts to 

do so. It was, however, a trained if unseasoned force. It could harass, 

counterattack, lay land mines, and blow up bridges. The T.R.L 

could not prevent rapid and large-scale initial advances by the highly 

mobile Dutch army and marine units, but it could wage a long 

guerrilla war of attrition, and, in the long run, it might prevent the 

Dutch from capitalizing on their advances. It could retreat to the 


s Host o the Republic’s few pilots had seen service in the Ihitcfa Air Force during 

the war and had received their training with it in the United States or in Australia, 






hills and natural hideouts in which Java and Sumatra abound. It 

decentralized its command in preparation for a long and scattered 

war. The Laskar Rajat and the Barisan Banteng were placed on 

their own in preparation for the type of localized guerrilla warfare 

which these units were well-adapted to prosecute. 


In Indo-China, 160,000 Vietnamese guerrilla troops with no more 

than 50,000 rifles had been able to stalemate over 110,000 French 

troops, with aerial and mechanized support, from the spring of 

1946 through the summer of 1947. The French had taken all the 

important ports and cities, but no white man could venture outside 

the cities without an armed escort. French patrols had periodically 

been ambushed, and communication lines were continually harassed. 

Economic rehabilitation and production had been effectively 

blocked. This had all been accomplished with less than 35 per cent 

of the fire power which the Republic had at its disposal. It was this 

kind of long and indecisive warfare for which Soedirman was mak- 

ing plans. 


Secondly, the Indonesian Government announced its intention of 

following a scorched-earth policy in the course of its initial retreats, 

in order to prevent stockpiles of sugar, rubber, cinchona bark, hard- 

cordage fibers, coffee, and tea from falling Into Dutch hands. The 

S.O.B.SJ. labor organization was particularly active in the execution 

of this policy; its members inflicted heavy damage on Malang, 

Tjilatjap, Probolinggo, and several West Java cities before they were 

taken by the Dutch forces. According to the Government^ policy, 

the S.O.B-S.L, in collaboration with the T.R.I., was to enforce the 

scorched-earth policy and to concentrate on such other tactics of 

“economic warfare” as might later be necessary to delay and obstruct 

economic rehabilitation in the areas occupied by the Dutch. 


At the outbreak of Dutch military action, stockpiles of from 200,- 

000 to 600,000 tons of sugar, approximately 1,500 tons of cinchona 

bark, over 6,000 tons of hard-cordage fibers, and indefinite quantities 

of rubber, tobacco, and tea were on hand in Republican areas, ac- 

cumulated since 1942. It is impossible to estimate how much of this 

valuable produce was actually burned, how much was captured by 

the swiftly-moving Dutch forces, and how much was removed to or 

retained in Central Java, when the Security Council’s first cease-fire 

order was issued on August 1. While it is certain that substantial 

quantities were lost, it is likely that the rapid movement of the 

Dutch forces and the speed of the Council’s cease-fire order com- 






bined to prevent a complete execution of the Republic’s scorched- 

earth plans. 


The final, and probably strongest, weapon In the Republic’s hands 

was the diplomatic and psychological support it could elicit abroad, 

as the victim of an attack which appeared to aim at the restoration of 

colonialism. President Soekarno and Prime Minister Sjarifoeddin 

lost no time in presenting their case to the world in this light. 

Following the outbreak of hostilities, the Djokjakarta radio carried 

their pleas to the United States, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Aus- 

tralia and “to Indonesia’s friends throughout the world” to halt the 

conflict in the interest of the freedoms proclaimed and recognized 

by the United Nations Charter. 


The primary diplomatic aim of the Republic was to have the 

whole subject placed on the Security Council’s agenda. While the 

T.R.I, prepared for a long guerrilla war, the Republican Foreign 

Office intensified its efforts on the international scene. The friend- 

ships which the Republic had cemented abroad after Linggadjati 

were to be of great importance to the Indonesian cause. Machiavelli 

had certainly not played on one side alone! 


In Cairo, Hadji Salim held hurried conferences with the Arab 

League states. Plans were discussed for having one of the League 

members introduce the Indonesian question to the Security Council. 

Contact was established by the Hadji with the Secretary General of 

the League, Abdul Rahman Azzam Pasha in New York, and al- 

though the League did not bring the subject to Lake Success, the 

Republic was to have a strong friend on its side from this source. 6 

Syria’s delegate on the Council, Faris El Khouri, was at the time 

chairman of the Council and thus in a strategic position to expedite 

handling of the matter when it was introduced. 


In Canberra, Dr. R. Oesman, an official of the Republican Minis- 

try of Foreign Affairs, made a direct appeal to the Australian Prime 

Minister J. B. Chifley on July 24, to bring the hostilities in Indo- 

nesia to the attention of the Security Council. Relations between 

Australia and the Republic had been very close in Batavia. In the 

early part of June, Dr. Oesman had gone to Canberra from Java 

to discuss certain aspects of these relations with the Australian Minis- 


* While supporting the Indonesian case through Syria’s delegate when the question 

came to Lake Success, the Arab League did not seem anxious to introduce the subject 

itself. The probable reason was that Egypt’s Prime Minister, Nokrasny Pasha, was pre- 

paring to introduce another colonial problem that of the presence of British troops in 

Egypt and the Sudan to the Council at precisely the same time. 






try erf External Affairs. Dr. Qesman’s appeal brought concrete results 

foe the Republic within a week. 


Finally, on July 22, Soetan Sjahrir left Djokjakarta by plane as a 

son of emissary-at-large, to plead the Indonesian case before the 

world and eventually before the Security Council. His first major 

stop was New Delhi, where he consulted with his friend, Jawaharlal 

Nehru. As a result of these consultations, Nehru issued a sort of 

Indian “Monroe Doctrine” decrying the use of any troops by a 

foreign power on Asiatic soil, and declaring India’s opposition to 

colonialism in any form in Asia. 7 Moreover, he specifically con- 

demned the use of force by the Netherlands, threatened a ban on all 

Dutch air traffic through India’s important Calcutta air terminus, 

and called upon the projected Moslem state of Pakistan to issue a 

similar ban with respect to the Western air center at Karachi. After 

requesting both the United States and British Governments to take 

action, Nehru announced on July 28 that India herself would bring 

the subject of hostilities in Indonesia before the Security Council 



Sjahrir’s conferences with Nehru, and the results which they 

achieved, were significant not only for Indonesia but for the rest of 

the world as well. Nehru’s statements were a bold and forceful indi- 

cation of a growing fraternal self-consciousness among the former 

colonial states of Asia; a self-consciousness which may, conceivably, 

some day lead to an Asiatic power bloc stretching from Egypt in the 

West through Pakistan and India and Southeast Asia to Indonesia 

in the East, and the Philippines in the Northeast. The New Delhi 

Inter-Asian Relations Conference in the spring of 1947 was one 

formal indication of such a possibility, Nehru’s public statements at 

the end of July were another. 


Sjahrir’s statements upon his arrival in India indicated that his 

moderate views on compromise with the Dutch had altered. He 

spoke, instead, of Indonesia “fighting to the last man” in the strag- 

gle against Dutch attempts to restore colonialism. Aside from the 

political and psychological reasons for these statements, there is little 

doubt that his personal views had stiffened. Throughout the twenty 

months’ negotiations which he had led, Sjahrir clung to the belief 

that he could compromise with the Dutch without compromising 

the basic tenets of the Indonesian revolution, and that he could coix- 


* Inter &Ha, Nehra stated cm July 24: “No European country, whatever it may be, has 

any right to set its army in Asia against the people of Asia, The spirit of the new Asia 

will not, tolerate such things.” 






cede details without making any concessions to the restoration of 



From his standpoint, Dutch aggressive action had temporarily at 

least made it impossible to compromise any further without com- 

promising the principles of the nationalist movement itself. Though 

a moderate, Sjahrir had decided that moderation was futile in an 

atmosphere of force. His strong public testimony before the Security 

Council clearly indicated this change in attitude. 




The Republic’s diplomatic activities produced the immediate re- 

sult at which they had aimed. On July 30, the Governments of Aus- 

tralia and India addressed formal letters to the Security Council. 

They called attention to the Indonesian situation and requested 

immediate action by the Council to deal with the hostilities which 

had already been in progress for ten days. The two requests differed 

on a technical matter. 


In the Australian note, signed by Colonel William R. *Hodgson, 

the Australian delegate to the Council, the Council’s attention was 

drawn to “the hostilities … at present in progress between the 

armed forces of the Netherlands and the Republic of Indonesia,” It 

went on to state that Australia considered these hostilities to con- 

stitute “a breach of the peace” under Article 39 of the United Na- 

tions Charter, and it urged the Council to take “immediate action 

to restore international peace and security.” Colonel Hodgson’s 

letter suggested that, “without prejudice to the rights, claims, or 

positions of the parties concerned/’ the Council should call upon 

these parties “to cease hostilities forthwith and to begin arbitration 

in accordance with Article XVII of the Linggadjati Agreement/* 8 

This was the first time that any case had been referred to the Coun- 

cil under Article 39 of the Charter, as constituting a breach of the 



The Indian note, signed by Nehru, approached the subject from 

the often-invoked provision of Article 34 of the Charter, covering 

“situations . . . endangering the maintenance of international peace 

and security,” and authorizing the Council to take action in such 

cases. India called upon the Council to put an end to the situation 

in question, but did not recommend any concrete steps to be applied 

by the Council under the circumstances. 


When the subject was placed on the Council’s agenda on July 31, 


s See Appeodix, p. 178. 






the Australian note carried precedence since its contention was that a 

breach of the peace had been committed, whereas the Indian note 

referred to a situation which endangered the maintenance of peace. 


As soon as it was learned that the Council had received the Aus- 

tralian and Indian notes, the Netherlands Ambassador to Washing- 

ton, Eelco R van Kleffens, issued a public statement denying the 

Council’s jurisdiction in the Indonesian dispute. Dr. van Kleffens, a 

shrewd and capable veteran of the Netherlands Foreign Office, con- 

tended that the case was an internal problem of the Netherlands and 

hence was not the concern of the Council. He referred to Article 2 

of the Charter forbidding interference by the United Nations in the 

domestic affairs of any country, and he maintained that the “limited 

police action” which the Netherlands had undertaken within its 

own territory did not affect the peace or security of any other coun- 

tries. The Council in effect decided, however, that the hostilities in 

progress did constitute a breach of the peace. Hence, enforcement 

measures by the Council to end such hostilities took precedence over 

the internal domestic aspects of the issue, under Chapter VII of the 

Charter. The decision meant that a conflict of the political and mili- 

tary magnitude of that in Indonesia required action by the enforce- 

ment body of the United Nations. 


On August I, with the three colonial powers on the Council- 

Great Britain, France, and Belgium abstaining, the Council took 

action. In a dual resolution, it called upon the Netherlands and the 

Republic: “A) to cease hostilities forthwith, and B) to settle their 

disputes by arbitration or by other peaceful means, and to keep the 

Council informed about the progress of the settlement/’ The resolu- 

tion was significant. Not only had the Council taken a concrete and 

affirmative action, but the resolution had witnessed the unusual 

spectacle of the United States and Russia voting together on an im- 

portant matter at Lake Success. 


Just prior to the Security Council’s approval of the amended Aus- 

tralian resolution, the United States announced that it had offered 

its “good offices” 8 to both the Netherlands and the Republic to 

bring about a settlement of their dispute. In anticipation of Part (B) 

of the final resolution, the United States hope had been to extend its 

aid in bringing about a settlement outside the Council, so that the 


& The term “good offices” implies simply that a third party stands ready to be of 

service in bringing two disputants together for discussions. It does not necessarily imply 

niediatioii, since the latter term connotes active participation in the discussions by the 

third party. Good offices may lead to mediation by the third party but need not neces- 

sarily have that result. 






Indonesian question would not degenerate into a political football 

game between the two major power groupings in the Council. 


The Dutch welcomed the United States offer, but the Republic 

used it as a means of renewing its requests for Security Council 

action and arbitration. From the Republic’s point of view, the policy 

and sympathies of the United States with respect to Indonesia were 

unclear. Knowing that the United States must regard Indonesia not 

as a separate issue, but in relation to the evolving world situation 

and to the opposing alignment of American and Russian power in 

Europe, the Republic preferred to rely on a solution directed by the 

United Nations. The American offer was, therefore, accepted with 

qualifications. Later, it was rejected by Sjahrir at Lake Success, when 

die United States called for a clearcut yes or no reply. The United 

States thereupon announced that its offer of good offices had lapsed, 


Three days after the Council had called upon both panics to halt 

hostilities forthwith, Dr. van Mook and Prime Minister Sjarifoeddin 

both announced the acceptance by their respective governments of 

the Council’s order. Cease-fire orders were issued on both sides, to be- 

come effective midnight August 4. By that time, the Dutch forces had 

attained most of their territorial objectives in Java. No attack 

had materialized against Djokjakarta, but Republican Central Java 

had been cut off from West and East Java, and from the sea. In 

addition, the Dutch had established a bridgehead on the island of 

Madura to the Northeast of Java. 


Strong resistance had been offered by the T.R.I, at only a few 

points. While inflicting several counter-attacks on the rapidly-mov- 

ing Dutch forces, the T.R.L had kept to its plan of harassing rather 

than concentratedopposition, and of saving its strength for the 

future. The Dutch objective of meeting and destroying the Repub- 

lican forces was no nearer fulfillment when the cease-fire was given 

than it had been two weeks before. However, the initial territorial 

objectives had been almost wholly attained. The Dutch had come to 

within forty miles of Djokjakarta, but the possibility of an attack 

on the Republican capital had been at least temporarily abandoned. 

However, the Republican Government was sufficiently fearful of 

such an attack that it made plans for moving the capital to Sumatra. 

At the mountain stronghold of Bukit Tinggi in the Menangkabau 

area of Western Sumatra, Vice-President Hatta was commissioned by 

the Indonesian Cabinet and the K.N J.P. to set up a new capital in 

the event of an attack on Djokja. Hatta himself was delegated to 

assume formal leadership of both the civil government and the 






armed forces in case President Soekarno and Prime Minister Sjari- 

foeddin should be unable to leave Djokja. 


About the only immediate result of the United Nations action 

was the abandonment of an attack on the Republican capital. Other- 

wise, within two days of the cease-fire order, hostilities were resumed 

by both sides, with each side bitterly accusing the other o starting 

an attack and condoning its own retaliatory action as self-defense. 

Protests soon began to stream into Lake Success from both the Re- 

public and the Dutch, accusing one another of violating the cease- 

fire order. Acting decisively, and under pressure from both Australia 

and Russia, Mr. El Khouri again placed the Indonesian question on 

the Council’s agenda for discussion on August 6. It had become 

apparent that the situation in Indonesia was again deteriorating 

despite the much-heralded Council “victory” of August 1. The Re- 

public, moreover, was addressing repeated requests to the Council 

to set up a Commission to investigate and implement the execution 

of the cease-fire order and to arbitrate the basic disputes at issue. 


On August 12, over the protest of Dr. van Kleffens, the Security 

Council voted to seat Soetan Sjahrir and to hear him as the Repub- 

lic’s representative at the Council’s discussions. Sjahrir had arrived 

in New York from Cairo with Hadji Salim. The Council’s decision 

to grant him a full hearing was a diplomatic triumph for the Re- 

public. On the vote, the three colonial powers opposed granting 

representation to the Republic at the table, according to the argu- 

ment advanced by Dr. van Kleffens that the Republic was not a 

sovereign state and hence was not entitled to a seat. The Netherlands 

sustained another diplomatic setback when the Council turned down 

van Kleffens’ request for representation to be extended to delega- 

tions from West Borneo and East Indonesia, although he received 

American support on this motion. Sultan Hamid and President 

Soekawati were at the time en route to Lake Success by a Dutch 

plane, and the Netherlands had hoped that their testimony backing 

up the Dutch action might be heard to offset that of Sjahrir. 


On August 14, Sjahrir made a moving plea to the Council for a 

settlement in Indonesia. Speaking in English, he bitterly scored 

Dutch pre-war colonial rule, and Dutch attempts to restore colonial- 

ism by the use of force since July 21. He accused the Dutch of violat- 

ing the original truce agreement of October 14, 1946, and of re- 

peated violations of both the spirit and letter of the Linggadjati 

Agreement. Sjahrir also called upon the Council to order Dutch 

troops to return to the positions which they had occupied before the 






outbreak of hostilities. Finally, he asked the Council to establish two 

commissions, one to enforce the cease-fire order of August 1 and the 

other to arbitrate the basic dispute between the Republic and the 



As the discussions at Lake Success continued, it became increas- 

ingly clear that the political football game which the United States 

had feared was materializing. On one side of the Council were the 

three major colonial powers, Great Britain, France, and Belgium, 

which sided with Dr. van Kleffens in contesting the right of the 

Council to deal with the question. In casting their votes, the colo- 

nial powers were anticipating possible future Council action in dis- 

putes in which they themselves were, or might become, involved. 

Britain had Malaya and the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan to think about. 

France still had a stalemate guerrilla war on her hands in Indo- 

China; and Belgium could take no chances on the Congo. 


On the other side of the fence were Australia, Russia, Poland, and 

Syria, which endorsed Sjahrir’s idea for two Security Council com- 

missions to solve the current problems in Indonesia. Finally, in be- 

tween these two groups were the United States, China, and the other 

two Council members, Colombia and Brazil. The United States was 

divided between ideological sympathy for the Indonesian case on 

the one hand, and political ties with Holland in connection with the 

Western-European political bloc and world power politics on the 

other. China was mainly interested in protecting the lives and inter- 

ests of more than a million Chinese in Indonesia, some of whom 

were in Dutch-held areas and some of whom were in Republican 

areas. Reports from Batavia had already indicated that irresponsible 

Indonesian armed bands had killed Chinese subjects because of their 

alleged pro-Dutch inclinations. As everywhere in Southeast Asia, the 

Chinese in Indonesia are more interested in business than in politics. 

To prevent unpleasant repercussions for the Chinese in the islands, 

China sought a middle-of-the-road solution which would antagonize 

neither the Dutch nor the Republic. 


Brazil and Colombia alone among the nations represented had 

no immediate political, ideological, or economic interests involved 

in the dispute, and hence their positions evolved on a more non- 

partisan ad hoc basis than did those of the other powers. 




Effective action by the Council was hampered by this triple inter- 

nal division among the delegates, as well as by French use of the 






veto on a Russian proposal to establish an eleven-nation Council 

committee in Indonesia to supervise enforcement of the cease-fire 

order. Such progress as was made occurred, generally, when the 

middle-of-the-road groupand particularly the United States was 

able to give qualified support to the pro-Indonesian bloc, of which 

Russia and Australia were the two most outspoken leaders. The 

Security Council closed its preliminary discussions of the Indonesian 

question by two moves which indicated the likelihood of further 

action by the Council in the future. 


In the first place, taking cognizance of the repeated violations re- 

ported by both sides, the Council on August 26 renewed Part (A) of 

its original cease-fire resolution. It formally reminded both parties 

of its order to halt hostilities forthwith, and it called upon the 

Governments represented in the Council, which had career consular 

officers in Batavia, 10 to have their consuls submit a joint report on 

the observance of the cease-fire order to the Council. 


Secondly, in order to implement Part (B) of the August I resolu- 

tion, the Council offered its good offices to assist in a final settlement 

of the issues at stake between the Republic and the Netherlands, if 

both sides requested it to do so. The Council’s resolution of August 

25 on this matter proposed that the assistance take the form of a 

Committee of Good Offices to consist of three members of the 

Council, one nation to be selected by the Republic and one to be 

selected by the Netherlands, with the third to be designated by the 

two so selected. It was intended that this Committee might then 

offer its assistance to the disputants with the prestige and support 

of the Council behind it. 


The initial actions of the Council left neither side fully satisfied. 

On the one hand, the main Dutch contention that the subject was 

completely outside the Council’s jurisdiction had been disallowed. 

Contrary to the hopes of the Netherlands, it seemed clear after the 

preliminary action of the Council and its offer of good offices that if 

a peaceful settlement were to be reached the Council would be 

directly involved. 


On the other hand, the two main Republican requests had not 

been complied with. Sjahrir had specifically requested that Dutch 

troops be ordered to return to their pre-July 21 positions. He had 

also asked for two Council Commissions to arbitrate the disputes at 


M The Governnients in the Council with career consuls in Batavia were: the United 

States, Great Britain, Australia, France and Belgium. 






issue and to enforce the cease-fire order. Neither of these requests 

had been fully granted. 


There is, however, hardly any doubt that the preliminary results 

achieved at Lake Success constituted a diplomatic success for the Re- 

public. The Security Council’s action had indefinitely postponed a 

possible attack on Djokja. It had brought the whole Indonesian 

question into the spotlight of publicity. Over van Kleffens’ objec- 

tions, the case had been prominently placed on the Council’s agenda. 

The Republic had been granted official representation, and Sjahrir 

had utilized the opportunity to good advantage in espousing the 

Republic’s cause. Representation for East Indonesia and West 

Borneo at the discussions had been refused, although the Nether- 

lands had requested that a hearing be granted for delegations from 

the two areas. Sjahrir’s allegation that the two groups would simply 

testify as Dutch puppets had found sufficient support among the 

Council members to bar them. On the other hand, two foes of 

colonialism and avowed friends of the Republic India and the 

Philippines had been seated at the discussions as specially-interested 

parties, despite Dr. van Kleffens’ protests. India, moreover, had taken 

a particularly active part in the discussions in supporting the Re- 

publican case. 


In addition to the help from India and the Philippines, the Re- 

public had won public expression of friendship and support from 

Australia and Syria (as she had expected), and from Russia and 

Poland (as she had not expected). The Soviet Union’s position was 

probably more the result of her political ambitions in Asia and possi- 

bly of her desire to embarrass the American- Western European bloc, 

than it was of ideological affinity with the Indonesian Republican 

cause. Nevertheless, Russia’s Andrei Gromyko supported the Re- 

public strongly. The middle-of-the-road position of the United States 

had been something less than what the Republic had hoped for, but 

again this was clearly dictated by world politics rather than ideo- 

logical factors. China’s role had been neither more nor less than 

what the Republic had expected. 


Finally, and most important, the preliminary course of events at 

Lake Success seemed likely to end any Dutch hope of reaching 

a unilateral decision on the broader issues by force of arms. The 

initial measures of the Council had paved the way for further con- 

structive measures in the future, and had diminished the chance of 

further large-scale military action in Indonesia. 


Aside from the quick and efficient advances of the Dutch troops in 






Java, and the fact that the World Bank had granted the Netherlands 

a loan on August 7, n there was little satisfaction which the Nether- 

lands could draw from the course of events between July 21 and the 

Security Council’s preliminary resolutions on Indonesia. 




August 7, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development an- 

nounced in Washington thai it had granted a loan of $195,000,000 to the Netherlands 

to be devoted “exdusivdy to the reconstruction of productive facilities in Holland.” 

The loan had long been under consideration by the Bank, and in consideration of the 

situation in Indonesia a stipulation was attached to the loan that “none of the pro- 

ceeds . . . will be applied to the Netherlands East Indies, or for military purposes/’ 













Within one week, the Security Council’s offer of good offices 

was accepted formally by the Netherlands and the Republic. In the 

early part of September, the Republic chose Australia and the 

Netherlands chose Belgium as their designees on the three-nation 

Committee of Good Offices, and on September 18 the United States 

agreed to be the third member. Shortly thereafter three distin- 

guished delegates were selected to serve on the Committee: Dr. Frank 

P. Graham, President of the University of North Carolina; Paul 

van Zeeland, former Prime Minister of Belgium; and Mr. Justice 

Richard G. Kirby, a prominent Australian jurist. 


The appointment of the Security Council Committee signified the 

beginning of a new phase in the protracted dispute. Two years of 

tedious discussions between the Dutch and Indonesians had led not 

to an amicable settlement, but to the military flare-up of July 21. 

By the fall of 1947, it seemed dear that if a peaceful solution were 

to be reached, it would not be by a quick and direct meeting of 

minds. Not only were the two sides too for apart on specific issues; 

but suspicion and prejudice on both sides were so rife as to turn 

negotiation into wrangling and informal pledges into diplomatic 

opportunism. Whether the dispute was to be resolved by men con- 

ferring around a table, or by force, seemed now largely to depend 

on the work of the Committee of Good Offices, 


After holding organizational meetings at Lake Success and in 

Sydney, Australia, the Committee arrived in Batavia at the end of 

October to begin its work. With power only to facilitate a resump- 

tion of discussions between the two sides but not to arbitrate the 

Committee held the conviction that notwithstanding intervening de- 

velopments, the Linggadjati Agreement could provide the only basis 

for further negotiations. Despite the Security ComsaTs two cease-fire 

orders, peace had not come to Indonesia and the atmosphere re- 








mained tense. The Committee’s task was a difficult and complicated 

one. At the time of writing, it still is, 


One complication lay in the fact that after the outbreak of hos- 

tilities, both sides stated that they considered themselves to have 

regained freedom of action and to be no longer bound by the stipula- 

tions of the Unggadjati Agreement. There is little doubt that oppor- 

tunism became an element in official policy on both sides. On August 

29, 0r, van Mook’s government issued a proclamation establishing 

the boundaries of Dutch-occupied territory, the so-called “van Mook 

line,” Included on the Dutch side of the line were West Java, East 

Java and Madura, as well as the rich rubber and tea estates of East 

Sumatra, the extensive coal and oil fields around Palembang in South 

Sumatra, and an expanded bridgehead around Padang in West Su- 

matra. Republican authority was “outlawed” in these areas, and the 

Dutch proceeded to consolidate their gains. By the time the Com- 

mittee began its work in Batavia, the Dutch position (de facto) was 

considerably stronger than it had been in July 1947. 


Temporarily on the defensive in Indonesia, the Republic struck 

back through other channels. As an autonomous de facto territory, 

according to Linggadjati, the Republic was invited by the United 

Nations Conference on Trade and Employment to send a delegation 

to meetings of the prospective International Trade Organization in 

Havana. Speaking at one of the earlier meetings on November 28, 

the Republican representative, Dr. Gani, launched a bitter tirade 

against Dutch policies in Indonesia, both political and economic. At 

a technical economic discussion, Dr. Gam’s remarks were obviously 

out of order, and he later agreed to withdraw them. From the Dutch 

point of view, the damage had already been done. Such opportunism 

neither simplified nor expedited the early work of the Committee 

of Good Offices. 


In a report submitted by the career consuls in Batavia to the Se- 

curity Council in mid-October, it was clearly indicated that hostili- 

ties had not ceased or even diminished. In April 1947, a white man 

could go with safety almost anywhere in Java and South Sumatra. 

At the time the Committee arrived in Batavia, a white man could 

hardly venture out of the Dutch-held enclaves without risking dan- 

ger. In response to the consuls’ report of ^ October 14, the Security 

Council adopted a new resolution on November 1. It had become 

clear that unilateral acceptance by each side of the Council’s earlier 

resolutions had had little practical effect. Moreover, the Dutch ad- 

mitted openly that on their side of the tortuous van Mook line, 






“mopping up” operations were proceeding to eliminate pockets of 

resistance, and to establish Dutch control in these areas particularly 

in West and East Java. 


The new resolution, adopted by a vote of seven to (Hie, with Rus- 

sia, Syria, and Colombia abstaining and Poland opposing, called 

upon the parties “forthwith to consult with each other either directly 

or through the Committee of Good Offices as to the best means to 

be employed in order to give effect to the cease-fire resolution.” It 

also stated that “the use of the armed forces of either party by hostile 

action to extend its control over territory not occupied by it on 

August 4, 1947 is inconsistent with the Council’s resolution of Aug- 

ust I/* Presumably the latter provision was designed to halt any 

further mopping-up operations. 


In early November, the Committee of Good Offices called upon 

the two parties to appoint special committees to meet with its mili- 

tary and other representatives in order to begin preliminary work 

toward implementing the Council’s resolution. Headed by Mr. H. 

van Vredenburgh of the Dutch Foreign Office, and Dr. J. Leimena, 

the Republic’s Minister of Health and leader of the Indonesian 

Christian Party, the two special committees held their first meeting 

on November 14. 


While the special committees continued to meet and to make some 

progress toward a truce agreement, the discussions were widened in 

scope. Official delegations were appointed on both sids to investi- 

gate the broader economic and political issues involved in the dis- 

pute. On December 8, under the auspices of the Committee, the 

broader negotiations were begun on the forward deck of the United 

States Navy transport Renville, anchored off Tandjong Priok. 1 Sjari- 

foeddin headed the Republican delegation, and Raden Abdoelkadir 

Widjojoatmodjo was selected as chairman of the Dutch delegation. 

Formerly a colonel in the Dutch army and head of the Netherlands 

Indies Civil Administration in 1945, 2 Abdoelkadir had been a non- 

participating special adviser to Dr. van Mook during the earlier dis- 

cussions leading to Linggadjati. He was elevated to the newly created 

post of Deputy Lieutenant Governor General in anticipation of his 

role in the forthcoming negotiations. 


Six weeks later the first phase of the Committee’s work was con- 


1 Both sides originally refused to hold the top-level discussions in territory held by 

the other. To solve the dilemma, Dr, Graham requested his government to provide a 

vessel as the scene lor the negotiations. 


2 Before the war, Abdoel&adir served as a wcdasw or village representative of the 

Dutch Civil Administration, and as the Netherlands vice-consul in Jiddah, Arabia, 






eluded. On January 17, 1948, both delegations signed the Renville 

truce agreement as well as an agenda of twelve principles to form the 

agreed basis for working out a final political settlement. Seemingly 

redundant from the point of view of the Security Council cease-fire 

orders in August, the new truce agreement was nevertheless the first 

decisive step toward the effective implementation of the earlier or- 

ders. It provided that both sides stand fast and cease fire within forty- 

eight hours along the status quo line fixed by the Dutch proclamation 

of August 29. Demilitarized zones were to be set up on either side 

of the line, and the military staff of the Good Offices Committee was 

to assist in the orderly withdrawal of those Indonesian forces still ac- 

tive on the Dutch side of the line. Provision for demilitarized zones 

was particularly essential. Probably the major cause of military inci- 

dents after the earlier cease-fire orders was the so-called “mobile de- 

fense” which both sides maintained. Mobile defense allowed patrols 

to be*active not only within the lines, but over a considerable area 

outside as well, for precautionary purposes. Under such circum- 

stances, clashes were inevitable. 


The twelve political principles adopted with the Renville Agree- 

ment reflected the Committee’s conscious effort to bring both parties 

back to the Linggadjati Agreement. However, the twelve principles 

were for the most part too vague to be meaningful. Both sides agreed 

to the continued assistance of the Committee of Good Offices in work- 

ing out a political settlement, “based on the principles underlying 

the Linggadjati Agreement/’ 3 Provisions were made for a reduction 

of armed forces, “uncoerced and free discussion of vital issues for a 

period of not less than six months nor more than one year” after the 

signing of the political agreement, and for “free elections” to deter- 

mine the status of the people in the Dutch-occupied areas of Java, 

Sumatra and Madura. Both parties reiterated their adherence to the 

formation o a sovereign and democratic United States of Indonesia, 

to “cooperation between the people of the Netherlands and Indo- 

nesia,” and to the prospective Netherlands-Indonesian Union under 

the Dutch crown. Yet on key issues, the political principles were 

hardly more precise than Linggadjati. 


In an effort to give more explicit meaning to the broad principles, 

the Committee of Good Offices submitted six additional principles 

which were also accepted on January 17 by both parties. The con- 

tinuation of Dutch sovereignty in Indonesia until the formation of 

the U.SX was confirmed* and the status of the Republic as “a state 

B See Appendix, p. 184, for the Renville documents. 






within the United States of Indonesia”* was made explicit. Further- 

more, the Committee suggested that the anticipated elections take 

the- form of plebiscites under the Committee’s observation to deter- 

mine whether the thirty to forty million people in the Dutch-held 

areas of Java, Sumatra and Madura wished to form part of the Re- 

public or to constitute separate states within the U.S.L It was also 

suggested that in any interim federal government established prior 

to the formation of the U.S.L, M fair representation*’ should be ex- 

tended to all states. 4 




The conclusion seems inescapable that the terms embodied in the 

principles of January 17, 1948, were a reflection of the strengthened 

power position of the Netherlands vis-d-ws the Republic. Territory 

which at Linggadjati had been recognized as clearly under the Ae 

facto authority of the Republic was now in Dutch hands. The most 

fertile rice areas of East and West Java, together with the estate and 

oil regions of East and South Sumatra potential sources of vitally 

needed dollar exchange were at least temporarily under Dutch con- 

trol, as a result of the military action of July 1947. With good pros- 

pects of deriving foreign exchange from exports of stockpiles in Su- 

matra and Java, much of the former economic pressure on the Dutch 

was lessened. Haste in reaching a definite political agreement was 

no longer compelling. The Dutch were now in a position to grant, 

rather than having to solicit, concessions. Whether or not the oppor- 

tunity will be utilized in a spirit of constructive magnanimity is the 

decisive test lying ahead of the Netherlands. How the test is met is 

likely to determine the future of the Dutch in Indonesia. 


In Djokjakarta, Soekarno called for strict observance of the truce, 

but the reaction of the Central National Indonesian Committee was 

one of chagrin and disappointment. The rightist Benteng Republik 

was vociferous in its opposition to the agreement, and it threatened 

to withdraw support from the Sjarifoeddin government. Both the 

Masjoemi and Nationalist Parties felt that the Republican negotia- 

tors had made unnecessary concessions to the Dutch. As had occurred 

seven months earlier, a cabinet crisis developed. On January 23, 


4 Prior to the truce agreement, die Dutch had already made some progress in the 

formation of separate states in the areas on their side of the van Mook line, and in 

the setting up of an interim federal government. On January 13, 1948, an interim fed- 

eral council was installed by Dr. van Hook. Headed by Abdoelkadir, ttie council con- 

sisted of eight members, including appointees from East and West Java, and Easiern 

Sumatra. Three additional seats were offered the Republic, which declined. 






Sjarifoeddin was forced to resign. Vice-President Hatta was asked to 

form a new cabinet by Soekarno, and as the price of support for the 

Renville agreement and for future negotiations under its provisions, 

the Benteng coalition demanded decisive representation in the new 

cabinet Dr. Hatta agreed, and on January 25 the K.N.I.P. endorsed 

both the truce and the accompanying political principles. Prime 

Minister Hatta completed the formation of his cabinet on January 

SI, 5 and immediately announced that his government would carry 

out the commitments and continue to follow the explicit policies of 

the Sjarifoeddin government. As Sjarifoeddin adopted precisely the 

policy line laid down by Sjahrir in June, so Hatta declared his gov- 

ernment to be behind the policies of Sjarifoeddin. 


In the new cabinet, Hatta succeeded Sjarifoeddin as Defense Min- 

ister as well as Prime Minister. Although eight of Sjarifoeddin’s min- 

isters retained their seats, the new cabinet was clearly dominated by 

the Bcnteng group which held seven portfolios. Five portfolios went 

to non-party leaders, while the Christian and Catholic Parties had 

one each. Three seats were offered to the Sajap Kiri, but rather than 

accept representation inferior to that of the Benteng Republik, Sjari- 

foeddin and Sjahrir the leftist leaders declined the offer. 6 Despite 

its refusal, the Sajap Kiri voted full support for the new govern- 



While the Republic’s policies after the cabinet change reverted 

substantially to what they had been before, the hint of disunity which 

the change incurred was not salutary for the Republic’s prestige 

abroad. The problem of reconciling the evolution of democratic in- 

stitutions with the need for unity in times of crisis is a difficult task 

for any government. It is one of the most crucial internal problems 

facing the Republic. 




At the time of writing, only unstable peace has come to Indonesia. 

The life of the Committee of Good Offices has been extended by the 


5 Major portfolios in the Cabinet were as follows: Foreign Affairs, Hadji Salim; Home 

Affairs, Dr. Soekiman, leader of the Masjoemi; Justice, Soesanto Tirtoprodjo, P-NJ.; 

Finance, A. A. Maramis, P.N.I.; Health, Dr. J. M. Leimena, Christian Party; Education 

and Culture, Ali Sastroamidjojo, P.N.I. Dr. Gani was dropped from the cabinet and 

Sjafroeddin Prawiranegara of the Masjoemi Party succeeded him .as Minister of Eco- 

nomic Affairs. 


e Shortly thereafter, Sjahrir split with the Socialist Party and Sjarifoeddin, to form 

a new party, Sjahrir’s party, the Partai Sosialis Indonesia, which remains within the 

Sajap Kiri and hence supports the Hatta cabinet, is apparently based on the principle 

of Asiatic solidarity in world politics. 






Security Council to help in the forthcoming political negotiations. 7 

And yet, over 300,000 men still remain armed in Indonesia ready for 

action. Anything can happen, and attempts at prediction are excep- 

tionally hazardous. Both the military and political situations are fluid 

in the extreme, and the truce agreement has yet to be implemented 

fully. Perhaps only one prediction is certain: there will be no quick 

or simple solution to the Indonesian dispute. Keeping this qualifi- 

cation in mind, we may say, nevertheless, that certain developments 

appear likely. 


The Renville political principles suggest that the Unggadjati 

Agreement will constitute the starting point for the final political 

negotiations. The task of reconciling the two basically different in- 

terpretations of that Agreement will thus remain for the Committee 

of Good Offices to solve. Apparently, “cooperation” will at first be 

construed along the lines of the original interpretation of the Neth- 

erlands. Moreover, “federalism” is likely to be considered as empha- 

sizing the rights and position of East Indonesia, Borneo and such 

other states as may emerge, rather than simply the primacy of the 



However, after the formation of the United States of Indonesia 

(that is, in 1949), the Republic’s original interpretation of Lingga- 

djati may be gradually and increasingly realized. In the long run, it 

seems probable that the Republic will become the dominant voice 

in the Indonesian federation, and that the proposed Netherlands- 

Indonesian Union will be able to succeed only if it has the Repub- 

lic’s cooperation. 


The question as to whether the Indonesians are capable of govern- 

ing themselves is academic. The fact is that, regardless of shortcom- 

ings and deficiencies, they have already been governing themselves 

for more than two years. The Republican Government may have 

been callow. Its administration is far from being mature, and its 

sovereignty has not yet been fully established. But it has exercised 

the de facto authority of government over Java, Sumatra, and Ma- 

dura; and this fact has already been recognized by the Netherlands. 


There seems to be little doubt that the political structure which is 

developing in Indonesia will be built in practice around the Re- 

public. Of course, the validity erf this statement will depend directly 

on the results of the plebiscites to be held in the Dutch-controlled 


* On February 13, 1948, Dr. Graham resigned from the Committee of Good OSces 

in order to resume his duties as president of the University of North Carolina. Coert 

Du Bois, a veteran retired foreign service officer, was nominated to succeed him. 






areas within the van Mook line. In turn, the plebiscites will depend 

on the extent to which free and uncoerced elections actually occur. 

Assuming the plebiscites are unfettered, many observers believe that 

at least East Java and all of Sumatra will vote to join the Republic. 

Pro-Republican sentiment in these areas has been particularly strong 

during the last two years. In fact, during the summer of 1947, when 

he went to Bukit Tinggi as president-designate in the event Soekarno 

were taken prisoner, Dr. Hatta himself a Sumatran suggested to 

the United Nations that a plebiscite be instituted to determine the 

political aspirations of the people. To this writer, the big question 

marks in the plebiscites appear to be West Java and Madura. 8 Yet 

when the plebiscites are completed, it seems likely that the Republic 

will still emerge as the core of the future United States of Indonesia. 

Since the beginning of the nationalist movement in 1908, almost all 

major Indonesian political leaders have come from Java or Sumatra. 

Education, literacy, and economic progress have been greater and 

more widespread in these areas than in any of the remaining parts 

of the archipelago. It is thus probable that the guiding force behind 

the future of Indonesia will come from the Republican Government 

of Java and Sumatra, 


Further military action by the Dutch might temporarily seem to 

alter this fact, but it is the author’s considered opinion that even if 

Djokjakarta were taken which seems doubtful the prospect of the 

Republic for survival would still be strong. For one thing, the cali- 

ber of Republican leadership is high. An overwhelming proportion 

of Indonesian youth and intellectuals^the people around whom 

Indonesia’s future will be built are associated with the Republican 

Government. The Republic, as we have seen, has behind it strong 

foreign friends, as well as the prestige of the nationalist ideal and of 

more than two years of governing. We have already discussed the 

real, if inchoate, political and administrative structure which the 

Republic comprises its expanding labor, banking, and trade organ- 

izations, and the economic plans and progress which it has attained. 

These things are not easy to efface. 


The events of 1946 and 1947 signalize the birth of a nation in 

Indonesia. The birth may have been premature, although in the 


On February 28, 1948, after this was written, the Security Council adopted a reso- 

lution proposed by China, calling upon the Committee of Good Offices to watch politi- 

cal developments in West Java and Madura and to make frequent reports on this 

subject to the Council. The resolution came in response to Republican charges that 

the Dutch were proceeding in a unilateral move to set up “puppet” states in these 

areas prejudicial to the outcome of the prospective plebiscites. 






case of political births, “prematurity” and “maturity** are concepts 

too subjective to be accurately determined. In any case, the fact is 

that the embryo is there. It cannot very well be returned to the 

womb for incubation to await a more gradual birth, any more than 

the clock of history can be turned back to the days preceding the 

Japanese invasion. 


The future of the Dutch in Indonesia will in the long-run depend 

on their recognition of this salient fact, and on their ability to re- 

spond and adapt themselves to it. The Dutch must show the same 

resiliency and ability to go-with-the-punch as the British have 

demonstrated under equally difficult and unwished-for circumstances 

in India and Burma, There is still a chance that this may occur in 

Indonesia, but time is running out. The Dutch will, first of all, 

have to learn to accept and get along with the Republican and other 

nationalist Indonesian elements which are neither Dutch-inspired 

nor of pro-Dutch inclinations (the Oranjegezindheid which was so 

esteemed by pre-war colonial rule). “Getting along” will require 

broad political, social, psychological and economic changes which 

will not be easy for a people with as deep a colonial tradition as that 

of the Dutch. Perhaps Queen Wilhelmina pointed the way in her 

recent remarkable statement: 


“Colonialism is dead. , . . We do not disown our past . . , but a nation 

must be strong enough to make a new beginning. . . . We shall be strong 

enough.” 9 


Political change has already been charted at Linggadjati and on 

the U.S.S. Renville. However, the political formula of the Agreement, 

and the main institution which it envisions for retaining a strong 

and vital link between the Netherlands and Indonesia (i.e., the 

Netherlands-Indonesian Union under the Dutch Crown) cannot be- 

come a sound and growing thing as long as coercion is resorted to. 

The United States of Indonesia and the Republic can no more be 

kept within the Netherlandsrlndonesian Union against their will, 

than India and Pakistan can be kept within the British Common- 

wealth against their desires. If a real cooperative feeling and trust have 

not evolved to bind the Union together within perhaps one decade, 

the Republic and perhaps other parts of the United States of Indo- 

nesia may be in a position to break away of their own will. 


The development of such a cooperative feeling will require a pro- 

found psychological and social adjustment by the Dutch. This ad- 


From the Queen’s address of February 3, 1948. See Appendix, p. 189. 






justment is not something new, and in fact it began years ago. Now, 

however, it must go farther and at accelerated pace. Colonialism, as 

a form of Government of minorities over majorities, is dying. Unless 

the abnormal social and psychological relations on which it was 

founded are rooted out, its death will not be peaceful. 


The time-worn pattern of colonial relations has been characterized 

by feelings of inferiority and servility on the part of the subject 

peoples, and by feelings of superiority and arrogance on the part of 

the rulers. This was true not only of Indonesia, but of all colonial 

societies in Southeast Asia. In practice, this abstract pattern has been 

undergoing basic change for many years. In Indonesia two factors 

have combined to speed this process of change to a point where it 

can hardly be recognized as the same process. The first was the Dutch 

capitulation before the invading Japanese forces in March 1942; and 

the second has been the record of the Republic since its formation. 

For as a result of these factors, the Indonesians have come to realize 

that they are made of the same flesh, blood, and capacities as their 

former rulers. Nor has this realization been restricted to the intellec- 

tuals who long ago recognized the fact. The Indonesian masses, as 

well, have begun to arrive at the same realization. For obvious 

psychological reasons, the Dutch have not arrived at it as rapidly or 

as willingly as the Indonesians. Within a shoit time, this gap will 

have to be bridged. That is a challenge which will require all the 

resourcefulness and strength of character for which the Dutch have 

long been renowned. 


However, the possible alternative to this course of events cannot 

yet be ignored or ruled out. There are still strong groups which 

favor a resumption of military action and a forceful breaking-up of 

the Republican Government. The worst that can be said about the 

possibility of such a stepaside from the moral considerations in- 

volvedis that it is not likely to accomplish anything. It will bring 

neither peace nor order nor economic rehabilitation to Indonesia 

any more than it has brought such conditions to Indo-China. In such 

an eventuality, the Dutch may find themselves embroiled in a long, 

indecisive and costly campaign against Republican guerrillas. The 

“rounding up” of 200,000 T.R.I, guerrillas, disguised as coolies and 

rice-paddy laborers, would not be an easy or quick task. The Dutch 

would be required to maintain a large army in Indonesia for years. 

As the Indo-Ghina example has shown, cities and ports may be won 

in such a campaign, but not the hearts of either the country or the 

people. Attempts to set up puppet states would be difficult if not 






impossible. Reliable Indonesian personnel for such puppet slates 

would be scarce, or would turn out to be of the Koestomo-Kartale- 

gawa Pasoendan variety. Estate and factory labor would be just as 

hard to find or conscript because of the strong and even militant 

influence of the S.Q.B.S.L labor organization. Estate owners, at- 

tempting to return to their estates and plantations in the interior, 

would be in constant danger, and extensive economic recovery would 

be halted indefinitely. 


Such a chain of events would be detrimental not only to the inter- 

ests of the Dutch but to those of America, Australia, and Great Brit- 

ain. It is for this reason, too, that continued mediation by the Security 

Council Committee seems likely to occur, although a recourse to 

force and a breakdown of mediation can still not be considered im- 





Indonesia has always been one of the chief supports of the econ- 

omy and the high standard of living in the Netherlands. Before the 

war, trade with the archipelago accounted for almost 15 per cent of 

the total national income of Holland. This percentage was exclusive 

of the dividends and profits which were made and used by Dutch 

companies functioning in Indonesia, and of the pensions which Hol- 

landers who had been in business or government service in the 

Indies received annually. Even these facts do not fully indicate the 

economic importance of the islands to Holland’s pre-war economy. 


In addition, a large part of the Netherlands’ industry was geared 

to the processing of the raw materials such as tin ore and copra 

which were received from the Indies and then re-sold as final prod- 

ucts elsewhere in Europe. Holland’s economic relations with the 

archipelago and its lucrative trade with Germany were the two main 

reasons why the Dutch people enjoyed one of the highest standards 

of living of any nation in pre-war Europe. As a result of World War 

II, the German trade has been almost completely wiped out, tem- 

porarily at least. Holland’s economic position has been weakened 

still further by war damage to her productive resources which has 

still not been fully repaired, but which will be ameliorated by the 

World Bank loan of August 7, 1947. 10 


From the Dutch point of view, these factors have combined to 

make the recovery of Dutch economic interests in Indonesia vital for 

rehabilitation in Holland. In the final, practical analysis, economic 


i* See footnote, p. 144. 






interests in Indonesia are thus considerably more important to the 

Netherlands than political interests and prestige. This was ap- 

parently the view of Feike de Boer before he resigned from the Com- 

mission General in March 1947. Few other Dutch liberals have had 

the courage, as he had, to espouse the basic idea that the tri-color 

must be taken down if the banner of trade is to be raised again. The 

principle of a free and ready grant of political concessions in return 

for a guarantee of the resumption of legitimate Dutch business was 

originally a strong motivating factor behind the Dutch political 

maneuvers at LinggadjatL It has been less in evidence since then. 


The sooner this principle is recognized by the Dutch and applied 

in a spirit of helpful good will, the more likely it is that Holland 

will be able to retain and expand her substantial economic holdings 

in Indonesia. For there is no doubt that the Dutch have learned how 

to make economic activity in Indonesia productive. Dutch business- 

men know the Indonesian language and know how to run and or- 

ganize rubber, coffee, tea, sugar, fiber, and cinchona estates. Hol- 

land’s steamship companies know the waters and ports of Indonesia. 

The Dutch have the know-how for starting and operating factories 

to process and refine the raw materials produced in the archipelago. 

Moreover, the universities of the Netherlands teach thorough courses 

in the Indonesian languages and in the archipelago’s economy- 

appreciable advantages for prospective business operations in the 



This knowledge, acquired during centuries of economic opera- 

tions in the Indies, constitutes a basic advantage in prospective open 

competition with foreign business in Indonesia. It is an advantage 

which does not require special political or military protection to be 

capitalized upon. Because of their experience, the Dutch are in a 

key position to help in the reconstruction of the Indonesian econ- 

omy, and at the same time to ensure the maintenance of their own 

large economic interests throughout the archipelago. Dutch business 

can expect to make profits in the future, but these profits must have 

a new basis. They must not be based either upon an inordinately low 

wage scale, or upon Government-sponsored privilege protection. In- 

stead, they must be founded upon efficiency, productivity, and ability. 

The challenge before the Dutch is to maintain their economic posi- 

tion in Indonesia through reliance on their own superior ability, and 

nothing else. 


Some Dutch businesses notably the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Com- 

panyhave recognized and accepted this challenge. Dutch-Shell has 






negotiated and made tentative agreements with the Republican Gov- 

ernment and the S.O.B.S.I., for the resumption of their Sumatra and 

Java operations. There is little doubt that this son of ready adapta- 

bility and planning will bring dividends in the future. On the other 

hand, there have been some Hollanders who have felt that i politi- 

cal protection were ended, Dutch business might be confronted with 

discrimination which would hamper its operations. As we have seen, 

there has been widespread distrust of Dutch intentions by the In- 

donesians. Nevertheless, there has been relatively little hatred or 

violent feeling against the Dutch people as such. Almost all the 

major Indonesian leaders speak Dutch and have had a Dutch educa- 

tion. Despite their violent opposition to colonialism, many of them 

still cherish an admiration for Dutch culture and for the practical 

democracy which they personally experienced during their student 

days in Holland. The Indonesian people as a whole are mild and 

moderate almost to a fault. It is not likely that the breakdown of 

their colonial inferiority complex will bring with it any extensive or 

enduring anti-Dutch feeling. 


In March 1947, a group of Dutch correspondents who traveled 

extensively in Republican territory made the following joint state- 



“We Netherlands journalists of diverse political and religious convic- 

tions declare on the strength of our observations and experieiices . . – 

during a visit to the territory of the Republic of Indonesia . . . that: 


” *When the freedom of the Indonesians is assured, the Dutch can 

count on friendly cooperation with a people who realize their own value 

as well as their own shortcomings. We have mingled with the people 

without any escort and we have met with no hostility. . . . The Dutch 

language is heard and spoken without reluctance.* ” n 


Events since the spring of 1947 have tended to dissipate, rather 

than to foster, the mild feelings towards the Dutch which then pre- 

vailed. Nevertheless, in the author’s opinion the opportunity is still 

there, although time is growing shorter and feelings are not growing 

milder. Political concessions and magnanimity may still establish 

that atmosphere of goodwill which can be the best protection for 

Dutch economic interests. 


The East has awakened. Events from Egypt to the Philippines 

have given abundant evidence of that fact. There can be little doubt 

that in the long-run any attempt by the Dutch to retain their politl- 


11 Quoted from the official joint statement o seven accredited Dutch correspondents 

after their return from a visit to the interior of Java in March, 1947. 






cal authority and prestige in Indonesia by force will end in failure. 

This does not imply the unworkability of the projected Netherlands-