THE 

 

INDONESIAN 

STORY 

 

 

 

The Birth, Growth and 

Structure of the 

Indonesian Republic 

 

CHARLES WOLF, Jr. 

 

 

 

Issued under the auspices of the 

American Institute of Pacific Relations 

 

THE JOHN DAY COMPANY, NEW YORK 1948 

 

 

 

All rights reserved 

 

Copyright* 1948, by the International Secretariat 

Institute of Pacific Relations 

 

1 East 54th Street 

Nezv York 22, 2V. Y. 

 

 

 

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

AMERICAN BOOKSTRATFORD PRESS, INC., NEW YORK, N. Y 

 

 

 

To 

 

T. W. 

 

 

 

PREFACE 

 

 

 

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, 

 

vii 

 

 

 

PREFACE 

 

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 

 

 

 

PREFACE IX 

 

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, 

 

 

 

X PREFACE 

 

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 

achieved. 

 

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. 

 

CHARLES WOLF, JR. 

Harvardevens, Mass. 

April 19, 1948 

 

 

 

CONTENTS 

 

 

 

AUTHOR’S PREFACE 

 

PART I 

 

THE BEGINNINGS OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA 

 

CHAPTER PAGE 

 

I. Birth of the Republic 3 

 

II. The British Occupation 15 

 

III. Proposals, Counterproposals and the Linggadjati Agreement 29 

 

PART II 

 

THE REPUBLIC IN OPERATION 

 

IV. Political Organization of the Republic 49 

V. Economic Problems and Policies 68 

 

VI. Republican Leadership 88 

 

PART III 

 

DEVELOPMENTS AFTER LINGGADJATI AND THE OUT- 

LOOK FOR THE FUTURE 

 

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 

 

APPENDIX 

 

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 

 

 

 

PART I 

 

THE BEGINNINGS 

 

OF THE REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 

 

 

 

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 

independence.” 

 

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 

character. 

 

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 

 

 

 

 

4 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 5 

 

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 

 

 

 

6 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

ment. 

 

THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION 

 

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. 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 7 

 

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 

 

 

 

8 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 9 

 

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. 

 

THE ISSUE OF COLLABORATION 

 

Under the confused conditions which prevailed throughout South- 

east Asia at the time of the unexpected Japanese surrender announce- 

 

 

 

10 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 11 

 

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. 

 

 

 

12 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

BIRTH OF THE REPUBLIC 13 

 

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- 

 

 

 

14 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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). 

 

 

 

CHAPTER TWO 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION 

 

 

 

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 

opinions. 

 

During most of the Pacific war, Sumatra and its dependencies 

were included in the Southeast Asia Command under Admiral 

 

15 

 

 

 

l6 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. . . .” 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION *7 

 

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. 

 

 

 

l8 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

bewilderment. 

 

THE BRITISH DILEMMA 

 

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 BRITISH OCCUPATION 1Q 

 

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. 

 

 

 

2O THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION 21 

 

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 

bloodshed. 

 

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 

 

 

 

2S> THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION 23 

 

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, 

1945.* 

 

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 

events. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

24 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

A.M.A.C.A.B. 

 

THE BRITISH WITHDRAWAL 

 

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- 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION 25 

 

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- 

 

 

 

26 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

possible. 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE BRITISH OCCUPATION 2? 

 

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 

 

 

 

?8 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER THREE 

 

 

 

PROPOSALS, COUNTERPROPOSALS 

AND THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 

 

 

 

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 

 

29 

 

 

 

go THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

OFFICIAL DUTCH POLICY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 31 

 

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 

 

 

 

g2 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

ter. 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 33 

 

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 

negotiation. 

 

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. 

 

THE BEGINNING OF NEGOTIATIONS 

 

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 

 

 

 

34. THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 35 

 

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- 

tions. 

With this resumption of negotiations and presentation of formal 

 

 

 

gg THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

itself. 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 37 

 

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. 

 

 

 

38 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

argued: 

 

“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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 39 

 

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 

 

 

 

40 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 41 

 

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 

minorities. 

 

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 

 

 

 

42 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

aware.” 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 43 

 

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. 

 

COMPROMISE AT LINGGADJATI 

 

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. 

 

 

 

44 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

 

 

 

THE LINGGADJATI AGREEMENT 45 

 

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 

Netherlands. 

 

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 

areas. 

 

 

 

46 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

PART II 

 

THE REPUBLIC IN OPERATION 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FOUR 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION 

OF THE REPUBLIC 

 

 

 

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- 

tained. 

 

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 

 

 

 

pjO THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 51 

 

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 

exercises. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

52 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 53 

 

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, 

 

 

 

54 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 55 

 

put into effect, as suggested but not specifically provided for in the 

Constitution. 

 

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 CENTRAL NATIONAL INDONESIAN COMMITTEE 

 

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 

Dutch. 

 

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 

 

 

 

56 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 57 

 

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. 

 

 

 

58 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 59 

 

THE REPUBLIC’S ARMED FORCES 

 

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- 

mands. 

 

This was the situation which confronted Sjarifoeddin when he 

 

 

 

6o THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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). 

 

 

 

6i 

 

 

 

 

Cfl 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ffi 

 

f* 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

62 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 63 

 

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 

body. 

 

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- 

 

 

 

64 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 65 

 

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. 

 

 

 

66 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

 

 

 

POLITICAL ORGANIZATION OF THE REPUBLIC 67 

 

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. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER FIVE 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 

 

 

 

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 

importance. 

 

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 

policies. 

 

LABOR 

 

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 

S.O.B.S.I. 

 

Under S.O.B.S.L each organization covers workers of all types 

 

68 

 

 

 

ECONC^flC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 69 

 

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 

 

Total 

 

 

 

Branches 

 

 

Members 

 

 

44 

 

 

5,000 

 

 

10 

 

 

2,286 

 

 

18 

 

 

3,900 

 

 

32 

 

 

16,000 

 

 

80 

 

 

4,500 

 

 

19 

 

 

750 

 

 

24 

 

 

800 

 

 

 

 

600 

 

 

 

 

4,741 

 

 

 

 

5,200 

 

 

30 

 

 

2,198 

 

 

76 

 

 

10,069 

 

 

 

 

10,000 

 

 

 

 

30,000 

 

 

29 

 

 

9,000 

 

 

42 

 

 

7,000 

 

 

13 

 

 

5,700 

 

 

42 

 

 

12,000 

 

 

 

 

2,200 

 

 

 

 

572 

 

 

 

 

18,000 

 

 

80 

 

 

25,000 

 

 

– 

 

 

2,753 

 

 

ne, 

 

 

 

 

. . 

 

 

1,000,000 

 

 

 

 

8,450 

 

 

40 

 

 

8,000 

 

 

. . 

 

 

1,000 

 

 

67 

 

 

3,500 

 

 

 

1,199,219 

 

 

 

i Figures are from the Republican Ministry of Social Affairs, Djokjakarta, as of 

March 28, 1947. 

 

 

 

^O THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

points: 

 

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 

capitalism. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 71 

 

with it will come a vast expansion in the size and influence of the 

S.O.B.S.L 

 

BANKING AND CURRENCY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

72 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

commerce. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 73 

 

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 

 

PUBLIC WORKS 

 

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 

connection. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

74 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

MIGRATION OF FARMERS AND LABORERS FROM JAVA TO SUMATRA 

 

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- 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 75 

 

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. 

 

GOVERNMENT INDUSTRIAL ADMINISTRATIVE BOARDS 

 

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 

 

 

 

76 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

mittee. 

 

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. 

 

RICE SHIPMENTS TO INDIA 

 

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. 

 

 

 

ECONONfIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 77 

 

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. 

 

LONG-RUN ECONOMIC POLICIES 

 

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 

 

 

 

78 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

SOCIALIZATION AND PRIVATE ENTERPRISE 

 

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. 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 79 

 

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 

generally. 

 

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 

 

MONOPOLY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

8o THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

FOREIGN INVESTMENT 

 

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. 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 8l 

 

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 

stated: 

 

“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. 

 

 

 

82 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

OTHER ECONOMIC PLANS 

 

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 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 83 

 

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. 

 

THE TEN- YEAR PLAN 

 

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 

agriculture”; 

 

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 

credit; 

 

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. 

 

 

 

84 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

COMMUNISM 

 

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 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 85 

 

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. 

 

 

 

86 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

mentioned. 

 

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- 

 

 

 

ECONOMIC PROBLEMS AND POLICIES 87 

 

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. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SIX 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 

 

 

 

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. 

 

88 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 8g 

 

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. 

 

PRESIDENT SOEKARNO 

 

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- 

 

 

 

QO THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

promising nationalism and Indonesian independence. Under his 

leadership it became one of the strongest Indonesian nationalist 

organizations. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP gi 

 

SOETAN SjAHRIR 

 

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 

month. 

 

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- 

 

 

 

gf THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 93 

 

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. 

 

 

 

04 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 95 

 

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. 

 

MOHAMMED HATTA 

 

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 

 

 

 

56 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

public* 

 

AMIR SjARIFOEDDIN 

 

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. 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 97 

 

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 

 

 

 

g8 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

groups in the Government and was able to lead these groups in 

common opposition to the Dutch military action of July 21. 

 

ADNAN KAPAN GANI 

 

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 

Minister. 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP $Q 

 

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. 

 

HADJI AGOES SALIM 

 

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 

 

 

 

IOO THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

Dutch. 

 

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 

 

 

 

REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP 1O1 

 

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. 

 

 

 

102 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

portionately. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

PART III 

 

DEVELOPMENTS AFTER LINGGADJATI 

AND THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 

 

 

 

CHAPTER SEVEN 

 

 

 

FAILURE TO IMPLEMENT LINGGADJATI 

AND THE FINAL BREAKDOWN 

 

 

 

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, 

 

105 

 

 

 

106 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

REPUBLICAN CLAIMS: DUTCH “DIVIDE AND RULE” POLICY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 107 

 

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 

 

 

 

108 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN IOQ 

 

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- 

gadjati. 

 

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- 

 

 

 

HO THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 111 

 

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 

seizure. 

 

 

 

llg THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

THE DUTCH CHARGES: REPUBLICAN “FOREIGN RELATIONS” 

AND TRUCE VIOLATIONS 

 

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- 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN llg 

 

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. 

 

 

 

U THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

“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- 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 1 15 

 

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 

regard. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

llg THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

Indonesia. 

 

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- 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN llj 

 

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- 

ports. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

llg THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

LAST PROPOSALS AND COUNTERPROPOSALS 

 

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. 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 11Q 

 

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 

envisioned. 

 

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 INDONESIAN STORY 

 

** . . 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 

Indonesia.” 

 

** 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, 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 121 

 

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- 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STQR\ 

 

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. 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 12J 

 

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 

concessions. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 125 

 

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 

week. 

 

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- 

jati. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

began. 

 

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 

 

 

 

FINAL BREAKDOWN 

 

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. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER EIGHT 

 

 

 

MILITARY ACTION AND THE ROLE 

OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 

 

 

 

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 ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 129 

 

“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 INDONESIAN STORY 

 

VAN MOOK TURNS THE WHEEL 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 1J1 

 

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- 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

ever sincerely undertaken, violates the spirit of the agreement and 

leads to an opportunistic violation of the letter as well. 

 

MILITARY OBJECTIVES 

 

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 

Palembang. 

 

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 ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 133 

 

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, 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

immediately. 

 

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.” 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL IJ7 

 

cede details without making any concessions to the restoration of 

colonialism. 

 

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. 

 

APPEALS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL 

 

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 

peace. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

138 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 141 

 

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 

Netherlands. 

 

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. 

 

THE COUNCIL ACTS 

 

Effective action by the Council was hampered by this triple inter- 

nal division among the delegates, as well as by French use of the 

 

 

 

14* THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE ROLE OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL 143 

 

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 

 

 

 

144 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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/’ 

 

 

 

CHAPTER NINE 

 

 

 

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS AND THE 

OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 

 

 

 

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- 

 

145 

 

 

 

146 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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, 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 147 

 

“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, 

 

 

 

! |g THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE F U T t f R 149 

 

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 

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE POIJTICAL PRINCIPLES 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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- 

ment. 

 

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. 

 

PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 15! 

 

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 

Republic. 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 155 

 

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- 

possible. 

 

A FORWARD-LOOKING DUTCH VIEW 

 

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. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

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 

archipelago. 

 

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 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 157 

 

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- 

ment: 

 

“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. 

 

 

 

158 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

cal authority and prestige in Indonesia by force will end in failure. 

This does not imply the unworkability of the projected Netherlands- 

Indonesian Union under the Crown. The Union may still be an 

enduring and vital institution, but its only chance of success lies in 

the equality and free participation of its constituents. It implies, 

rather, that the Dutch must adapt themselves to a new frame of 

reference in Indonesia. For more than three hundred years the In- 

donesians have been obliged to adapt themselves to the changing 

forces and policies of Dutch colonialism. They will no longer play 

that role. The Dutch must now make their first really difficult adjust- 

ment, by adaptation to the currents of Indonesian nationalism, if 

they are to retain their economic position in Indonesia. For, as one 

Dutch official recently said unofficially, in a matter of two decades 

no Western power can expect to retain a direct political hegemony 

in the Far East. 

 

Britain has had to make this adjustment in India. Her political 

magnanimity may have been dictated more by economic and mili- 

tary impotence than by her own wish. Nevertheless, the fact remains 

that the British are regarded as friends and sponsors of the new 

Dominions of Pakistan and India, and not as their opponents. 

British economic interests in the two Dominions are hardly likely to 

suffer as a result. 

 

NEW BONDS OF INTEREST 

 

The events in Indonesia since the end of the war have significance 

for other nations and groups as well as the Dutch. The whole archi- 

pelago and particularly the Republican areas of Java and Sumatra 

will have great need of financial and technical assistance from 

abroad. Formidable tasks of economic reconstruction lie ahead. The 

Netherlands may be able to furnish substantial technical assistance, 

but only two nations are in a position to supply immediate financial 

aid: Australia and the United States. 

 

Australia is becoming increasingly aware of her own special posi- 

tion and responsibilities in Southeast Asia, and her current interest 

in Indonesia is correspondingly great. Her relations with the Repub- 

lic have been close and friendly, and her role in the Security Council 

discussions has cemented this friendship. 

 

Before the war, Australia accounted for only about 4 per cent of 

the total trade of the Indies. This proportion is likely to expand ap- 

preciably, and an initial loan from Australia to the federated U.S.I. 

may be an important factor in its expansion. Moreover, a sound 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE 1 

 

economic basis exists for the development of a lively trade between 

Australia and Indonesia. In the first place, geographical factors are 

favorable. In addition, Indonesia will need the machinery and agri- 

cultural implements which her industrial neighbor down-under can 

supply, while Australia will need the raw materials and petroleum 

products which she can import from the archipelago. 

 

Before the war, Australian investment in the Indies was negligible 

compared with that of the Netherlands, Great Britain, and the 

United States. It seems certain that this investment will increase 

greatly, and Australian oil interests are likely to be in the vanguard 

of this increase. As for the so-called “white” Australian immigration 

policy, it is still too early to say whether this will be an obstacle in 

the way of Australia’s expanding her influence and interests in 

Southeast Asia and Indonesia, or whether the policy is likely to be 

modified. 

 

Notwithstanding the likelihood of a nominal loan from Australia, 

only the United States is in a position to supply anything approach- 

ing a substantial part of the amount which may be necessary for 

economic rehabilitation in Indonesia. America’s note to the Repub- 

lic of June 27, 1947, indicated that the possibility of an American 

loannot only to the U.S.L but to its constituent parts as well is not 

remote. On January 20, 1948, in praising the Dutch and Indonesian 

delegations and the Committee of Good Offices for concluding the 

Renville agreement, the State Department added: “The United 

States Government will continue to follow with deepest interest the 

progress of reconstruction in the Netherlands East Indies, and is ex- 

ploring ways and means of extending economic and financial assist- 

ance to this reconstruction.” 

 

While the position of the United States during the Security Coun- 

cil discussions on Indonesia was somewhat equivocal from the Re- 

public’s point/of view, America’s prestige in Indonesia is high. Presi- 

dent Soekarno is an ardent admirer of America and a student of 

American history. Economic aid coupled with an active information 

and cultural relations program can greatly enhance America’s posi- 

tion in the Republic and in the rest of Indonesia. The fact that 

American capital seems to be particularly interested in expanding 

its investments in Indonesia would, furthermore, indicate that such 

economic and information activity might be warranted for eco- 

nomic, as well as political, reasons. 

 

Besides new investment by large, established American firms, 12 ad- 

 

14 See Appendix, Interests of American firms in Indonesia, p. 183. 

 

 

 

l6o THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

ditional interest has been shown in prospective operations in Indo- 

nesia by new American companies which have never been active in 

the archipelago before. Not only young export-import firms but 

shipping concerns and air transport lines some of them run by 

ex-G.I.V- have shown interest in future prospects in Indonesia. Cer- 

tain of them have even negotiated tentative contracts with the Re- 

publican Government, and there is little doubt that more American 

capital will be attracted to Indonesia once conditions of stability 

have been firmly established. It is to be expected that such new in- 

vestment will be welcomed by the Republic, in accordance with its 

economic policies and programs. 18 Nevertheless, American firms will 

have to balance carefully the prospects of favorable returns against 

the risks, uncertainties, and problems of dollar exchange transfer, 

before embarking mi large investments in Indonesia. 

 

The prospects for Great Britain do not seem quite as bright. Be- 

fore the war, Britain ranked behind Holland and ahead of the 

United States in volume of capital investment in Indonesia. Britain 

is still vitally concerned with Indonesia as a market for her exports 

and as a source of raw materials for her industries. A large number 

of experienced and competent British businessmen and traders, who 

have long been active in the islands, have returned since the re-occu- 

pation. Some of them came as economic officials with the returning 

Netherlands Indies Government. Some have made contacts with new 

Indonesian firms, and some have formulated far-sighted plans for 

future operations. Furthermore, British commercial activity in In- 

donesia will have the assistance of perhaps the largest and most 

efficient diplomatic mission in the islands. Despite these factors, it is 

doubtful whether Britain will be able to keep up with the pace at 

which American and Australian investment and trade are likely to 

expand to say nothing of the Asiatic countries, which will occupy 

an increasingly important position in Indonesia’s economic relations 

in the future. 

 

In this connection the probable position of the Chinese, Arab, and 

Indian minorities in the new schema which is emerging in Indo- 

nesia deserves at least passing attention. These minority groups, 

totaling about 1,500,000 people, have traditionally constituted the 

“middlemen,” moneylenders, shopkeepers, tradesmen and middle- 

class in the social and economic pattern of Indonesia. It is likely 

that they will continue to occupy this position in the future. 

 

During the hostilities, the Chinese minority was in a particularly 

 

iC.pp. 80 ff. 

 

 

 

THE OUTLOOK FOR THE FUTURE l6l 

 

unfortunate position. Suspected by the Indonesians of pro-Dutch 

sympathies, and by the Dutch of pro-Indonesian inclinations, they 

received harsh treatment on both sides, especially from Irresponsible 

Indonesian groups. There have, in fact, been several reported mas- 

sacres of Chinese in Java by armed irregular T.R.I, units who re- 

garded the relatively prosperous position of the Cfaiaese as an indi- 

cation of their pro-Dutch leanings. There is, however, no evidence 

of a strong anti-Chinese feeling among the Indonesians. In fact, there 

are Chinese who occupy important positions in the Republican Gov- 

ernment itself, such as Tan Ling Djie, the Secretary of the strong 

Socialist Party and a leading K.N.LP. figure, and Ong Eng Djie, 

former Vice-Minister of Finance and Vice-Director of the Republic’s 

Banking and Trading Corporation. 

 

Actually, the Chinese are primarily interested in law, order, and 

business, and are willing and anxious to have these provided by 

either or both parties. When stability returns to Indonesia, the 

Chinese will be able to return safely to their traditional occupations. 

The Arab and Indian minorities also may expect to be safe in their 

economic pursuits, particularly in view of the Republic’s friendship 

with India and the Arab States. 

 

While the pre-war middle-class minority group of Continental 

Asiatics will continue to exist in the future, they will find a growing 

competition from the evolving Indonesian middle class. With ex- 

perience and education, the developing Indonesian middle class is 

not only likely to make inroads into the special position formerly 

enjoyed by the Chinese, Arab, and Indian groups, but it will prob- 

ably absorb the Eurasian middle class. 

 

In accordance with the outlines of both Republican economic and 

foreign policy, it is to be expected that Indonesia will increasingly 

direct its political and commercial attentions toward the Pacific area, 

Asia, and the Middle East, rather than toward Europe, as has been 

the case since the seventeenth century, India, Pakistan, the Philip- 

pines and the Middle Eastern countries are not now in a position to 

help Indonesia in solving the economic problems which it must face, 

but in the long run, Indonesia’s economic and political relations 

with these countries will expand appreciably. 

 

There is abundant evidence confirming this tendency toward a 

political consolidation of the Asiatic countries, and particularly of 

the Asiatic countries with a colonial background. These countries 

have either recently won their freedom or are still struggling to win 

it. They are conscious of a common ideological and psychological 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

bond. Pandit Nehru’s strong statements on behalf of the Republic 

are only one indication of the growing vitality of this bond. The 

economic and social backwardness of these countries may retard 

their consolidation, but the tendency in this direction is one of the 

outstanding features of the current Middle and Far Eastern political 

scene. Still another factor retarding the growth of such consolidation 

is the strife between the populations of India and Pakistan, which 

temporarily impedes the spread of the consolidating tendency west- 

ward to embrace the Moslem Arab League. Predominantly Moslem 

Indonesia may play a strategic role in resolving this difficulty, be- 

cause of the Republic’s close relations with both Hindu India and 

the Moslem states of the Middle East. 

 

The fulfillment and crystallization of this tendency will certainly 

require considerable time. It is still far too early to deliberate on the 

scope of this consolidation: whether it will be a loose or well-knit 

entity; whether it will be political or economic in its aims or both; 

whether it will be directed towards or against the West; and whether 

it will act as a stabilizing or a disturbing factor in international 

affairs. It is also too early to guess what the position of China will be 

in this consolidation, and whether she will be a part of it or a specta- 

tor to it. The resolution of China’s own internal strife will be a 

decisive factor in this regard. 

 

Notwithstanding these variables and uncertainties, it is no longer 

visionary to speak of the awakening and incipient consolidation of 

an area stretching from the Philippines in the Northeast and Indo- 

nesia in the East, to Egypt in the West. Recent events especially 

those in Indonesia and India, but also in the Philippines, Indo- 

China, Burma, and Egypt have demonstrated the vitality of these 

tendencies. The West can work with them in a spirit of acceptance 

and constructive help, or it can try to undermine them. The former 

course may earn rich economic and social rewards. The latter can 

only cause resentment and bitterness. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 

 

 

 

PREAMBLE AND CONSTITUTION 

OF THE REPUBLIC 

 

 

 

PREAMBLE 1 

 

Since independence is the right of every nation, any form of subjugation 

in this world, being contrary to humanity and justice, must be abolished. 

 

Our struggle for Indonesian independence has reached a stage of glory 

in which the Indonesian people are led to the gate of the Indonesian 

state, which is independent, united, sovereign, just and prosperous. 

 

With the blessing of God Almighty, and moved by the highest ideals 

to lead a free national life, the Indonesian people hereby declare their 

independence. 

 

Further, to establish a Government for the Indonesian state; to protect 

the whole Indonesian people and territories; to promote the public wel- 

fare; to raise the standard of living; and to participate in establishing a 

world order, which is founded on freedom, eternal peace ami social jus- 

tice; the national independence is set forth in a Constitution of the 

Indonesian state which is a republic resting upon the people’s sover- 

eignty, founded on the belief in God Almighty, righteous and moral 

humanity, the unity of Indonesia, and a democracy led by the wise 

guidance of the representatives’ Congress ensuring social justice for the 

whole Indonesian people. 

 

CONSTITUTION OF THE INDONESIAN REPUBLIC* 

 

CHAPTER I 

FORM AND SOVEREIGNTY OF THE STATE 

 

Article 1 

 

Sect. 1. The Indonesian State is a unitary State having the form of a 

Republic. 

 

1 For this and the following documents, I am indebted to the Netherlands Informa- 

tion Bureau in N, Y. and the Republican Ministry of Inforaiadoa in N. Y. and Java. 

 

2 The technical structure of the Republican Gov’t. has been based on the Tran- 

sitory Provisions (see page 171) rather than on the provisions of the irst chapters of the 

Constitution. Particularly, the position of Prime- Minister has grown up outside the 

constitutional provisions, in response to political exigencies discussed in the text. 

 

165 

 

 

 

l66 THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

Sect, 2. The Sovereignty shall be vested in the people and shall be 

fully exercised by the People’s Congress. 

 

 

 

CHAPTER II 

THE PEOPLE’S CONGRESS 

 

Article 2 

 

Sect, 1. The People’s Congress consists of members of the Council of 

Representatives and delegates of regional territories or groups, chosen 

in accordance with provision prescribed by law. 

 

Sect. 2. The People’s Congress assembles in the capital at least once 

every five years. 8 

 

Sect. 3. All decisions of the People’s Congress are taken by a majority 

of votes. 

 

Article 3 

 

The People’s Congress enacts the Constitution and decides the out- 

lines of national policy. 

 

CHAPTER III 

THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT 

 

Article 4 

 

Sect. 1. The President is vested with the Power of the Government 

in accordance with this Constitution. 

 

Sea. 2. In executing his duties the President shall be assisted by a 

Vice-President. 

 

Article 5 

 

Sect. 1. The President is vested with the legislative power in con- 

currence with the People’s Congress. 

Sect. 2. The President enacts the necessary ordinances to execute laws. 

 

Article 6 

 

Sect. 1. The President must be an Indonesian by birth. 

Sect. 2. The President and the Vice-President are elected by the Con- 

gress of People by a majority of votes, 

 

Article 7 

 

The President and the Vice-President hold office during a term of five 

years, and they may be re-elected. 

 

Article 8 

In case of death, removal or inability to exercise the duties of his 

 

SThe current Parliament, the Central National Indonesian Committee, has assem- 

bled in Djokjakarta at least twice each year since the Republic was formed. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX i&j 

 

office during his term, the President is replaced by the Vice-Presidem 

until the end of his term. 

 

Article 9 

 

Before assuming the duties of his office, the President and Vice-Presi- 

dent take an oath according to their religion, or promise solemnly before 

the People’s Congress or the Council of Representatives, as follows: 

 

Oath (promise) of the President (Vice-Presidem): “I swear (promise) 

that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill the duties of President of 

the Republic of Indonesia (Vice-President of the Republic of Indonesia) 

to maintain the Constitution and to execute conscientiously all its laws 

and regulations, and to devote myself to serve my country and my 

people/’ 

 

Article 10 

 

The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army, the Navy 

and the Airforce. 

 

Article 11 

 

The President, in concurrence with the Council of Representatives, 

declares war, makes peace, and concludes treaties with other countries. 

 

Article 12 

 

The President proclaims martial law. The conditions and the con- 

sequences of the martial law shall be provided by law. 

 

Article 13 

 

Sect. 1. The President appoints ambassadors and consuls. 

Sect. 2. The President receives ambassadors and representatives of 

other countries. 

 

Article 14 

 

The President has the power to grant pardon, amnesty, extradition 

and reprieve. 

 

Article 15 

 

The President has the power to grant titles, marks of merit and other 

marks of honor. 

 

CHAPTER IV 

COUNCIL OF STATE 

 

Article 16 

 

Sect. I. The composition of the Council of State is provided by law. 

 

Sect. 2. This Council of State is obliged to answer questions sub- 

mitted by the President and has the right to make proposals to the 

government. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

CHAPTER V 

MINISTRIES OF STATE 

 

Article 17 

 

Sect. 1. The President is assisted by Ministers of State. 

Sect. 2. The Ministers are appointed and discharged by the President, 

Sect. 3- The Ministers manage the Ministries. 

 

CHAPTER VI 

LOCAL ADMINISTRATION 

 

Article 18 

 

The division of the Indonesian territory into large and small spheres, 

and the forms of their administration are prescribed by law, considering 

and respecting the principle of conference in the governmental system, 

and the traditional rights of particular territories. 

 

CHAPTER VII 

COUNCIL OF REPRESENTATIVES 

 

Article 19 

 

Sect. 1. The organization of the Council of Representatives is pre- 

scribed by law. 

Sect. 2. The Council of Representatives assembles at least once a year. 

 

Article 20 

 

Sect. 1. Every law is enacted in concurrence with the Council of 

Representatives. 

 

Sect, 2. Whenever a bill is not passed by the Council of Represent- 

atives, that bill shall not be submitted for the second time during the 

same session of the Council of Representatives. 

 

Article 21 

 

Sect 1. Members of the Council of Representatives have the right to 

submit a bill. 

 

Sect. 2. Every bill, though passed by the Council of Representatives, 

but not accepted by the President, shall not be submitted for the second 

time during the same session of the Council of Representatives. 

 

Article 22 

 

Sect. 1. At critical times, the President has the right to enact govern- 

mental provisions replacing the law. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX igg 

 

Sect. 2. Those governmental provisions require the agreement of t!*e 

Council of Representatives during the next session. 

 

Sect 3. If no agreement is obtained, those provisions mutt be re- 

voked. 

 

CHAPTER VIII 

FINANCES 

 

Article 23 

 

Sect. I. The draft of the budget of receipts and expenditures is pro- 

vided by law every year. If the Council of Representatives does not ap- 

prove the draft of the budget proposed by the Government, then the 

draft of the preceding year is executed. 

 

Sect. 2. Every form of tax on behalf of the Government is prescribed 

by law. 

 

Sect. 3. The sort and the value of money is provided by law. 

 

Sect. 4. Other matters concerning public finances are provided by law. 

 

Sect. 5. A general Audit Office is instituted, the provisions of which 

are stipulated by law to control the accountability of the public finances. 

The findings of the office must be presented to the Council of Repre- 

sentatives. 

 

CHAPTER IX 

THE JUDICIARY POWER 

 

Article 24 

 

Sect. 1. The Judiciary Power is executed by the Supreme Court and 

other courts as may be established by law. 

 

Sect. 2. The organization and competence of those courts shall be 

provided by law. 

 

Article 25 

 

The conditions for becoming judge and being discharged hem. this 

office are provided by law. 

 

CHAPTER X 

CITIZENSHIP 

 

Article 26 

 

Sect, 1. Citizens are Indonesians by birth, and persons of other na- 

tionality who are regarded as such by law. 

Sect. 2. Matters concerning citizenship are provided for by law. 

 

Article 27 

Sect. 1. All citizens have the same position in the law and the govern- 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

ment, and are without exception obliged to respect the law and the 

government. 

 

Sect. 2. Every citizen is entitled to work and to a reasonable standard 

of living. 

 

Article 28 

 

The right of free assemblage, the right to express one’s opinion orally 

or in writing, etc. shall be provided by law. 

 

CHAPTER XI 

RELIGION 

 

Article 29 

 

Sect. 1. The State is based upon the faith in the All-Embracing GodL 

Sect. 2. The State guarantees the freedom of the people to profess 

their own religion and to fulfill their religious duties. 

 

CHAPTER XII 

DEFENSE 

 

Article 30 

 

Sect. 1. Every citizen is entitled and obliged to participate in the de- 

fense of the State. 

Sect. 2. Matters concerning national defense are provided by law. 

 

CHAPTER XIII 

EDUCATION 

 

Article 31 

 

Sect. 1. Every citizen is entitled to education. 

 

Sect. 2- The Government establishes a system of national education 

provided by law. 

 

Article 32 

The Government promotes the national culture of Indonesia. 

 

CHAPTER XIV 

SOCIAL WELFARE 

 

Article 33 

 

Sect. 1. The economy is organized cooperatively based on principles 

of the Family State. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX j^j 

 

Sect. 2. Branches of production which are important for the State and 

which dominate the life of most people, are regulated by the State. 

 

Sect. 3. Land and water and natural riches therein are regulated by 

the State and shall be used for the greatest possible prosperity of the 

people. 

 

Article 34 

The State takes cares of the poor ami the uncared-for children. 

 

CHAPTCR XV 

FLAG AND LANGUAGE 

 

Article 35 

The flag of the Republic of Indonesia is the Red and White Flag. 

 

Article 36 

The official language is the Indonesian language. 

 

CHAPTER XVI 

MODIFICATIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION 

 

Article 37 

 

Sect. 1. To modify the Constitution, there must be present at least 

two-thirds of the total members of the People’s Congress. 

 

Sect. 2. Decision shall be made in concurrence with at least two-thirds 

of the total members who are present. 

 

TRANSITORY PROVISIONS 

 

Sect. I. The Committee for the Preparation of the Independence of 

Indonesia regulates and prepares the transition of the government to the 

Indonesian government. 

 

Sect. II. All existing official institutions and laws shall be in force 

until new ones are instituted in accordance with the Constitution. 

 

Sect. III. For the first time the President and Vice-President will be 

elected by the Preparatory Committee for the Independence of Indo- 

nesia. 

 

Sect. IV. Before the People’s Congress, the Council of Representatives 

and the Council of State are elected in accordance with the Constitution, 

their competences will be exercised by the President assisted by a Na- 

tional Committee. 

 

August 17, 1945. 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

 

 

POLITICAL MANIFESTO OF THE 

INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT 1 

 

Announcement of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia 

 

Below we publish the announcement of the Government of the Republic 

which has been formulated by the Working Committee of the Indonesian 

National Convention. This declaration contains the policy of the Gov- 

ernment. 

 

The Vice-President 

Mohammed Hatta. 

Djakarta, 1 November 1945. 

 

Political Manifesto of the Government of Indonesia 

 

After more than two months of stating, in various manners, that we wish 

to be an independent nation, it is necessary in this stage of our struggle 

for freedom, now that the world is coming to scrutinize our point of view, 

to prove that we are advancing \yith a serene countenance and an open 

mind, on the grounds of righteousness and humanitarianism and on the 

basis of a sound intelligence. 

 

When the Netherlands Government in Indonesia, without apparent 

struggle, surrendered to the Japanese in Bandoeng on March 9, 1942, our 

unarmed population fell prey to the hard and cruel Japanese Militarism. 

For three and a half years our people were oppressed under a harshness 

which they had never before experienced throughout the last several dec- 

ades of Netherlands Colonial rule. Our people were treated as worthless 

material to be wasted in the process of warfare. From the lowly stations 

of people who were forced to compulsory labor and slavery, and whose 

crops were stolen, to the intellectuals who were forced to propagate lies 

and deceive the people, the grip of Japanese Militarism was felt. The 

tribulations felt by our people, physically as well as spiritually, during 

these three and a half years, can be termed boundless. Our entire popula- 

tion was forced to report and become subject to the military orders of the 

Japanese. It is this stamp of Japanese Militarism which the Japanese 

overlord has left on the minds of our people and especially our youth. 

For this Dutch Colonialism is responsible, in that it left our 70,000,000 

people to the mercies of Japanese Militarism without any means of pro- 

tecting themselves since they had never been entrusted with firearms and 

the education necessary to use them in the turning point of history on 

March 9, 1942. 

 

i Written by Sjahrir. Translated from the original by the author. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX 

 

In spite of these overwhelming difficulties, our people appraised the true 

value of Netherlands Colonialism. Ne\er before were the shortcoming! so 

apparent as when the nation was left in the situation already alluded to. 

Clearly manifested was the weakness and hollowness of the structure of 

Netherlands Colonialism and from that moment a new realisation was 

born in our people, a national feeling that was sharper than ever before. 

This feeling of national awareness was also sharpened by the Japanese 

propaganda for pan-Asianism. 

 

The oppression of the Japanese could not pirvent the growth of 

the Indonesian national movement. During the three and a half years 

of Japanese occupation, the whole state-organization am! branches which 

had been under the leadership of the Dutch, were handled by the Indo- 

nesians under the direction of the incompetent Japanese, . . Our nation 

acquired a greater confidence and our national awareness became sharper 

toward the Japanese as well as toward other nations. The millions of 

people lost during the occupation . . . must be attributed to the inade- 

quate preparation which we were given by the Dutch, Because of these 

facts the Dutch have not the moral right to accuse us of having cooper- 

ated with the Japanese. . . . 

 

Our national feeling also made itself felt toward the Japanese in 

illegal ways, as well as openly, through sabotage and other ways, as can 

be proved from the fact that thousands of our movement’s adherents 

were sentenced, tortured, killed and persecuted. The revolts of Tasik- 

malaja, Indramajoe, Blitar, on Sumatra, West-Borneo and many other 

places bear testimony to these facts, 

 

Others of our nationalists tried to show their nationalism through legal 

ways, and had of course to cooperate with the Japanese, to march and to 

shout with them in their ranks, 

 

How strong nationalism actually was, is proven by those who were 

working with the Japanese, as they continued to support their demo- 

cratic ideas, even though they were forced to march in the Japanese 

totalitarian ranks. This fact can be proved by our constitution which is 

based on a democratic foundation and which was composed during the 

Japanese occupation. 

 

With the proclamation “of independence of Indonesia on August 17, 

1945, the National Movement reached its peak and dedicated itself to 

the resolution to make concrete our nation’s sovereignty. 

 

Our entire nation became entangled in this mighty national move- 

ment, which was like a tidal wave sweeping everything in its wake. 

 

During this time the Japanese surrendered to the Allies. For the world 

and in particular tor the countries which took part in the erecting of the 

Organization of the United Nations in San Francisco, the problem arose 

of how the Netherlands sovereignty (recognized by the U.N.) should be 

 

 

 

THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

applied to the Indonesian people, who had already proclaimed their 

sovereignty. 

 

. . . The strength of our national feeling, however, cannot and will not 

be broken by the might of a modern army. 

 

As long as the world does not know what to do in regard to the 

Netherlands* talk of enforced sovereignty over the Indonesians … so 

long the world will not benefit from this rich country. 

 

In the first place the neighboring countries, such as Australia, the 

Philippines and the United States of America, will feel the loss; and 

especially the United States of America on which the whole of Asia 

builds its hopes and from which Indonesia also expects her greatest help 

in the future, to help the country to develop further and to bring the 

standard of living of the people to a higher level. 

 

. . . We on our side do not harbor the idea of force against any other 

people. We merely want the freedom to govern ourselves and to bring 

this government to perfection. 

 

We realize that this new position of our country places a heavy re- 

sponsibility on our shoulders toward the world. We do not harbor any 

hate toward other groups: neither the Dutch, nor the Indo-European, 

the Ambonese or the Menadonese who in reality belong to our people. 

Even more, we understand and are aware that for the present benefit of 

our people and country, we cannot do without the help of foreign coun- 

tries in the building up of our country. We need technical skill, intellec- 

tual aid and foreign capital. In this regard we will not be blind to the 

fact that the Dutch will of course be more qualified to give us this help 

as they know the country, the people, and the adat? This means then 

that the realization of our independence need not mean a great loss to 

the Dutch materially or spiritually, but of course it goes without saying 

that the Dutch political position will be greatly altered. 

 

We are convinced that our country, with all its riches and plenty, when 

exploited with the object of improving the living standard of our people 

and of the world in general, will still allow sufficient scope for all coun- 

triesin particular for the U.S.A., Australia and the Philippines to take 

part in the rehabilitation of our people and our economy. 

 

This can, however, only become a reality when the conflict concern- 

ing our sovereignty has come to an end; that is to say, by the recogni- 

tion of our right of self-determination and in the recognition of the 

State and Government which we have already chosen. Not only we, and 

presumably the Dutch, are interested in a speedy solution, but the whole 

world which is looking eagerly to our country and people, because of 

the dire needs which exist in the world today. With the recognition of 

our independence we are prepared to take the responsibility which our 

position calls for. We are prepared to take over, and be responsible for, 

 

2 Customary folk law. 

 

 

 

APPENDIX I^ 

 

all debts of the Netherlands Indies Government which were made before 

the Japanese capitulation. 

 

All property of foreigners, with the exception of those which are neces- 

sary for exploitation by the State itself, will be handed to the legal 

owners, while property taken over by the State will be compensated for 

by the most reasonable methods. 

 

Also we will strive to live in harmony with our neighbors and the 

whole world in general, and to become a member o the United Nations, 

 

Soon a general election will be held to show that democratic ideals and 

principles are indeed basic to our social and political life. The possibil- 

ity exists that as a result of the election, the government will be replaced 

and our Constitution modified in agreement with the will of the ma- 

jority of our people. 8 

 

For the citizens and all residents in general, extensive welfare plans will 

be put into action that will in all probability need large foreign credits 

and large quantities of industrial products from the U.S.A., Australia, 

and other countries which will be trading with us. To each foreign resi- 

dent, including the Dutch, safety for his business will be guaranteed as 

long as he adheres to the laws of the country. 

 

As soon as we have the chance to use our full strength in the rehabili- 

tation of our country and people, we will with the greatest speed- 

guarantee and make concrete the rights of our people in accordance with 

the ideas of the United Nations; that is to say, we will establish a nation 

which does not alone strive for freedom of expression, freedom of convic- 

tion and religion, freedom from arbitrary force and fear, and freedom 

from want, but also for the public health and intellectual betterment 

through hygienic tutoring and modern education for the entire people 

and for all classes of foreign residents. . . . 

 

We shall undoubtedly be in a position to contribute to universal cul- 

ture when we are given full opportunity as a nation whose position is on 

a level with that of the other peoples of the world. 

 

 

 

TEXT OF THE LINGGADJATI 

(CHERIBON) AGREEMENT 

 

Signed on March 25, 1947, Between the Netherlands Commission- 

General and the Delegation of the Republic of Indonesia 

 

Preamble. The Netherlands Government, represented by the Commis- 

sion-General for the Netherlands Indies, and the Government of the 

Republic of Indonesia, represented by the Indonesian delegation, moved 

by a sincere desire to insure good relations between the peoples of The 

s No popular elections bH been held in Indonesia up to the first months of 1948. 

 

 

 

1^ THE INDONESIAN STORY 

 

Netherlands and Indonesia in new forms of voluntary cooperation which 

offer the best guarantee for sound and strong development of both coun- 

tries in the future and which make it possible to give a new foundation 

to the relationship between the two peoples; agree as follows and will 

submit this agreement at the shortest possible notice for the approval of 

the respective parliaments: 

 

Artide L The Netherlands Government recognizes the Government 

of the Republic of Indonesia as exercising  56, 68 #., 83, 

84-5,95, 102, 116, 134, 155, 157, 183 

 

Setiadjit, labor leader, 53, 54, 70, 85, 88, 

 

102, 124, 126 

 

Ship seizures, 1947, 111 

 

Shipping, 41, 77, 82, 83, 111, 156, 160, see 

 

also Naval blockade 

Siam, Sjahrir visit to, 113 

Singapore-Conference, 1946, 34; Sjahrir 

 

visit to, 113; smuggling trade with, 98, 

 

99, 111 

 

Sjafi, Mohammed, 57 

 

Sjahrir, Soetan, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, 15, 18, 23, 

29, 30, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 41, 43, 46, 

49, 52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 85, 88, 90, 91-5, 97, 

 

100, 105, 113, 115, 117, 118, 120 ff., 128, 

136-7, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 150, 179- 

80 IncLonesische Overpetnzingen (Indo- 

nesian Reflections), 92; Out of Exile, 92; 

Perdioeangan Kita (Our Struggle), 5, 

93; Political Manifesto, 5, 12-3, 80, 93, 

172 ft 

 

 

 

200 

 

Sjmfoeddin, Amir, 4, 5, 12, H, 18, 29, 54, 

39, 52, 53, 54, 56, 58, 59-60, 85, 88, 90, 

94,96-8, 124, 125, 128, 155, 159, 140, 147, 

149, 150, 185-6, 186-7 

Slotemaker, N. A. (X, x 

Smuggling, 26, 98, 99, 111 

. Social-Affairs, Ministry of, 17, 55, 68, 69, 

74-5, 102; legislation, 57, 58, 79, 85; 

welfare, 170-1 

Socialist Party, 55, 56, 57, 58, 65, 78, 85, 

 

96, 97, 150, 161 

Socialist Youth Organizations (Pesindd), 

 

56,59 

 

Socialization, 77, 78-9, 80-1 of communi- 

cations, 78, rice mills, 78, transportation, 

57, 78, 83 

 

Soebaxdjo, first Minister of Foreign Af- 

fairs, 18, 59 

Soedinnan, Lt. General, 43, 60, 66, 97, 135, 

 

154 

 

Soedjono, Major General Djojo, 60 

Soekamo, President, 4, 5, 8, 9, 15, 14, 17, 

18, 20, 21, 24, 26, 31, 33, 39, 41, 43, 51, 

52, 55, 60, 65, 64, 66, 67, 75, 85, 88, 89- 

90, 95, 94, 125, 124, 135, 140, 149, 150, 

159 

Soekawati, Tjokorde Gde Rake, 45, 106, 

 

140 

 

Soekiman, Dr., 102, 125, 150 

Soeieaman, Major General, 60 

Soemohardjo, Major General Oerip, 60 

Soeprodjo, Minister of Social Affairs, 55 

Soerabaja administration under occupa- 

tion, 6; drive south from, 132; re-occu- 

pation, 20, 21; riot, 22, 34, 109, 115, 182 

Soerakarta incident, 59; Sultanate of, 17, 

 

18; youth congress, 1947, 81 

Soeriadarma, Air Vice-Commodore, 60 

Soerjono, President of SXXB.S.I,, 70 

Soetardjo, Nationalist leader, 4 

Soetomo, Nationalist leader, 3, 22, 58, 59 

South America, economic relations with, 

 

82 

 

South Borneo, 107 

South Sumatra, separate territory planned 

 

for, 130, 146, 149 

Spices, Malaya competition in, 27 

Spoor, General S. H., 23, 132 

Standard Vacuum Oil Company, 132, 183 

Starfcenborgh Stachower, A. W. L. Tjarda 

 

van, 151 

 

Stopford, Lt. General Sir Montague, 35 

Sugar Factory Control Board (Badan Pen- 

jeleng&ra Goela Negara), 76; industry 

unions, 69; production, 50, 79; refining 

industry, 75, 76; stock piles, 1947, 154, 

149 

Sultanates, position in Republic of, 17, 18 

 

 

 

INDEX 

 

Sumatra-alleged British designs on, 27, 

149; as emergency seat of Republican 

Government, 139, 152; campaign, 1947, 

128, 152; coal fields, 146; educational 

experiments, 57; exports, 45, 121; fight- 

ing corps, 59, Javanese settlements, 50, 

73, 74-5, 84; middle class, 66; oil fields, 

157, 183; plebiscites, 149, 152, 187; pub- 

lic works, 49, 73; reconstruction, 49; re- 

occupation, 15, 18, 20; Republican ad- 

ministration, 151, Halms to, 39, 43, 142; 

separate states and territories planned 

by Dutch, 27, 150, 146; smuggling 

trade, 26, 98, 99, 111; youth organiza- 

tions, 95 

 

Sundanese “independence movement.” 

108-9, 115; People’s Party, 108 

 

Syria presenting case before Security 

Council, 135, 141, 143, 147; recognition 

by, 113 

 

Tadjoeddin Noor, 106 

 

Taman-Siswo, system of education, 3, 57 

 

Tan Ling Djie, 76, 161 

 

Tanmalakka, Communist leader, 4, 39, 86 

 

Taruma Kingdom in Western Java, vii 

 

Tasikmalaja, revolt against Japanese at, 8 

 

Taxation, 169 

 

Tea industry unions, 69; production, 7, 

 

79; stock piles, 1947, 134 

Technical aid, need for, 62, 80, 84, 87, 

 

158, 160, 174 

 

-Ten-year plan, 78, 80, 83-4 

Tentara Pembela Tanah Aer (Auxiliary 

 

Army), 8, 9 

 

Tentara Republik Indonesia (T.R.I., Re- 

publican Army), 21, 60, 114, 116, 125, 

132 ff., 139, 155, 161, 170, see also De- 

militarization 

Terauchi, Count Seiki, 9 

Territory of Republic, 3, 17, 33, 132, 146, 

 

148, 149, 176 

Terrorism, 21, 22, 54, 59, 60, 86, 88, 114, 

 

132, 141, 161 

 

Textile Board (Badan Textil Negara), 76 

Textiles control of production, 7, 50, 75- 

6; imports from India, 26, 49, 76; indus- 

try, 73, unions in, 69 

Thamboe, Charles, x 

Thompson, Virginia, x 

Tiga A (Triple A) movement, 8 

Tin Malaya competition, 27; war demand 

 

for, 4, 7 

 

Tires imports from India, 76; manufac- 

ture of, 1834 

 

Tirtoprodjo, Soesanto, 55, 102, 150 

Tobacco-stock piles, 1947, 154 

Trade unions, 68 ff. Central Organiza- 

tion of, (see Sentral Organisasi, S.O.B. 

 

 

 

INDEX 

 

 

 

20 1 

 

 

 

SJ.); encouragement of, 82-3; Japanese 

 

ban on, 8 

Transportation foreign experts needed, 

 

84; socialization of, 57, 78, 83; United 

 

States interest in, 160 

Truce agreements 1946, 43, 84-5, alleged 

 

violations of, 114, 181; August 1947, 

 

119 ff. f 134, alleged violations of, 140, 

 

142, 181; January 1948, ix, 147-8, 149, 

 

151, 159, 184 ff. 

 

Ultimatum, May 1947, 120, 125 ff. 

 

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at 

Security Council meeting, 134, 140, 141, 

142, 143, 147; influences from, 85, 86; 

support from, 87 

 

United Nations “cease-fire” order, 134, 

138-9, 140, 141, 142, 143, 145, 146, 148; 

Charter, 15, 135, 137, 138; Conference 

on Trade and Employment (Havana, 

1947), 78, 146; Good Offices Committee, 

142, 145 ff., 150 ff., 185-6, 186-7, 188-9; 

Security Council, ix, 19, 34, 35, 36, 77, 

94, 101, 107, 127, 128 ff., 135 ff. 

 

United States of America aide mmoire y 

June 27, 1947, 123-4, 126, 159, 180-1; 

appeal by India to, 136; Constitution as 

model, 52; Declaration of Independence 

as model, 18; economic relations with, 

49, 82, 155, 158 ff., 174, 175, 183-4; 

finanrial assistance from, 159, 174, 175; 

financial mission to, 49; firms in Indo- 

nesia, 183-4; friendship sought with, 87, 

93, 174; “good offices” offer, 138-9; on 

Good Offices Committee, 145 ff.; lan- 

guage studies, 16; opposed to direct 

U. N. action, 36; preparation for re- 

occupation, 16; protest on ship seizure, 

111; at Security Council meeting, 138-9, 

140, 141, 142, 143; technical aid from, 

87; wartime exports to, 4 

 

 

 

United States of Indonesia, 25, 41, 44, 45, 

46, 62, 77, 107 ff., 116, 120-1, 130, 148-9, 

151, 176 ff., 187, 188-9-Hiterim govern- 

ment for, 118 ff., 122, 126, 149, 179, 181, 

188 

 

Vice-President, powers of, 51, 139, 166-7 

 

Vietnam proposed Constitution for, 37; 

relative strength of, 49, 133, 134, 141, 

154 

 

Village councils, 64, 74; industries, man- 

agement of, 83 

 

Volksraad, the, 32 

 

Vredenburgh, H. van, 147 

 

Vrij Nederland (Free Netherlands), 102 

 

War prisoners, 18, 24, 34, 185 

 

Welter, C. H., 115 

 

West Borneo government of, 106 ff. f 118, 

 

119; recognition of, 140, 143 

West Java attempts to separate, 108-9, 

 

115, 130, 132, 146, 152, 155; campaign, 

 

1947, 134, 139, 147, 149; plebiscite, 152 

West Sumatra, 139, 146 

Widjojoatmodjo (Raden Abdoelkadir, 147, 

 

149, 185-6, 186-7 

Wilhelmina, Queen December 1942, 

 

speech, 30; February, 1948, speech, 153, 

 

189-91 

 

Women in politics, 58 

Women’s Federation, 102 

Wondoamiseno, Minister of Home Affairs, 

 

53,54 

 

Work Corps (Hei Ho), 7, 18 

World Federation of Youth Organizations, 

 

86 

 

Youth Congress, 1947, 81, 95 

 

Youth organizations Communist, 85-6; 

 

Islamic, 57; Pemoedas, 8, 21, 34, 36; 

 

Pesindo (Socialist), 56, 59, 152 

b

Zeeland, Paul van, 145