Indonesia 1945-1950 in TIME
(Selected from TIME Archives)
TIME, Oct.15, 1945: PARTNERSHIP, NO
Southeast Asia's contagion of nationalism plagued the Dutch last week. The rich tin mines and oil pools of The Netherlands East Indies had been prize loot for the Japanese. Dropping all such stolen property last month, the Japs took time to throw a sharp tack in the path of the former owners. On Java they granted independence to a "Republic of Indonesia." Its head: Dutch-educated Sukarno, 44, a longtime, long-winded nationalist orator.
When Britain, helping out the Dutch, sent Lieut. General Sir Philip Christison to Batavia rioting broke out on Java. The islands had Queen Wilhelmina's promise of eventual, postwar "partnership" in a Netherlands Commonwealth. But nationalists cried that the time was ripe for something more.
General Christison, sending Dutch colonial administrators on ahead, strongly suggested that they talk things over with Sukarno and other nationalists. But from The Hague to Australia, Dutch tempers flared. Sukarno, the Netherlanders roared, was a puppet and an opportunist. The Dutch Government would talk nothing over with him; more likely it would try him as a war criminal.
Last week the impatient nationalists responded with more riots. In Batavia roving bands shot it out with British marines. Reports from Surabaya said Indonesians took over an internment camp, holding European women as hostages. When British planes tried to land at the airport, crowds swarmed over the runways. At Bandung exuberant natives occupied key points, beat the British to the job of disarming the Japs.
Sukarno blandly deplored the outbreaks. But they went right on after General Christison warned him to stop them. The Dutch landed 1,000 troops, hoped shortly to get 35,000 into the islands.
TIME, Oct.29, 1945: THE PROPHECY
In the book of Jayabhaya, the Hindu king who ruled a Javanese empire eight centuries ago, it was written that a white man would come one day to Indonesia. He would stay to rule the islands many years. Then, for the three-year "life of a hen," a yellow man would reign. And after those three years, the people would govern themselves.
Last week the deposed white man was back in The Netherlands East Indies, but in paltry force. The yellow man's rule was broken, but he had not gone. Both of them had lost face. From the mute mass of the people rose fierce men who sought bloody fulfillment of Jayabhaya's prophecy. For the moment of deadlocked struggle, nobody ruled Indonesia.
The stakes were high. Besides the simple question of sovereignty—and the complex question of one people's right or duty to possess another—the riches of the Indies were involved. They lay in a galaxy of 3,000 lush islands, sitting astride the equator and peopled by a polyphyletic mass of 72 million souls.
The Dutch got to Indonesia in 1595. Their empire-building East India Company soon started an acquisitive process that whittled away at the native princes' domains for a century and a half. From then on, except for a brief British occupation (1811-16), the Indies were Netherlands property until World War II.
The practical Hollanders exploited the archipelago as one vast plantation, funneling its pepper, coffee, rubber, tin, oil and cinchona bark into world trade instead of their own, less voracious home market. They neither westernized nor Christianized the old (mainly Muslim) cultures. They did not get around to abolishing slavery until just before the U.S. did, gave the Indonesians no voice in government until this century.
But as colonial powers went, the Dutch were enlightened. Having sired Eurasians, they accepted them into social and political life at both ends of their 9,900-mile Amsterdam-Batavia axis. During the last 125 years, Java's native population has ballooned from four million to 44 million. The island is the globe's most densely populated land mass.
Nationalism reared its meek head in Java a generation ago. A chick of the first Dutch efforts at native education, its first cheeps in 1908 were a safe & sane Boedi Oetomo (High Endeavor) society, founded by some aristocratic Javanese medical students. A bevy of more determined groups followed it. Within a decade such nationalists as the smooth-faced, smooth-talking Sukarno, a Bandung Technical University engineering graduate, and Mohammed Hatta, who went to Amsterdam University, were getting bold ideas. They had heard of things like Communism, self-determination, revolution. In the '20s their exuberance landed both briefly in jail. Sukarno, who uses no other name, was a founder of the lusty P.N.I. (for Partai Nasional Indonesia), which the Dutch in 1929 slapped down. Even so—except for his later career—he might have become Indonesia's George Washington.
TIME, Nov.12, 1945: THE COURSE OF EMPIRE
Fighting flared anew in The Netherlands East Indies last week. The nationalist movement seemed to be getting out of its leaders' control. At Surabaya 1,600 British troops, attacked by large Javanese forces, well armed with Jap equipment, including tanks, had some 100 casualties. President Sukarno flew from Batavia to give a cease-fire order. The next day native hotheads killed Surabaya's British Commander, Brigadier Aubertin W. S. Mallaby.
British reconnaissance showed that up to 100,000 Indonesian troops, whose Jap materiel included 62 planes, were massing in central Java. The British themselves began landing a second division, rushed up more warships and planes. Most of the British troops were Indian soldiers who had little liking for the job.
Sukarno appealed in vain to his followers to stop fighting. Bespectacled, experienced Hubertus van Mook, the acting Governor, had his ears pinned back by his Government for deigning to confer with Sukarno. The Dutch do not want to lose the richest part of their empire, do not forget that Sukarno was chief Jap puppet in Java, and still hate to admit that Indonesia may have matured politically during the Jap occupation. They told Van Mook that he might deal with other native leaders, but never with Sukarno.
Events have already brought smooth-talking Sukarno a luxurious house in Batavia's European section. There he gladly poses for homey pictures with his beautiful second wife and ten-month-old son. He brushes aside queries about his anti-Allied broadcasts and his wartime trip to Japan by claiming that he merely cooperated to get concessions for his people. If the interviewer keeps on questioning him about collaboration, there is usually an intermission while handsome Indonesian girls serve cakes and hot ginger water.
If eloquent Sukarno is the Kerensky of the Indonesian revolution, his vice president, Mohammed Hatta, 43, may be the Lenin. Sharp, shrewd, European-educated Hatta formed his first nationalist group at 15, like Sukarno was exiled by the Dutch.
The two apparently do not wholly trust each other, are usually interviewed together so that each can check on what the other says. Hatta drafted the movement's constitution, which is full of escape clauses (the President has dictatorial powers "at critical times”; freedom of speech and assembly are not guaranteed, but "shall be provided").
The movement's third significant figure and elder statesman is Hadji Agus Salim, 61, one of its founders. He worked in the Dutch colonial service for many years, led an undercover drive for independence until 1938, is now consulted by the younger leaders on all major problems. Warn Salim: "We have had 350 years of promises from the Dutch: We want no more of them. If you want to start Armageddon again, send the Dutch back to Indonesia." Asked if he would prefer British colonial administration to Dutch rule, he retorted: "Would you rather be bitten by a cat than a dog?"
TIME, Jan.7, 1946: TEA, CAKES & EMPIRE
In the country house of Britain's Prime Minister the generation of empire menders was at work. The worried ghosts of the empire builders—among them. Raffles of Singapore and Coen of Batavia—looked on. The great Far Eastern domain they had helped create was badly cracked, in danger of breakdown.
Clement Attlee played the firm but friendly host to Holland's Premier Willem Schermerhorn. Guests included British Minister of State Philip Noel-Baker, who had publicly demanded that Indonesians and Dutch get together; Netherlands Minister for Overseas Territories J. H. A. Logemann, who had publicly barred a return of "the extinct past" to the East Indies; Old Etonian Sir Nevile Bland, who as Ambassador to The Hague has the delicate job of relaying British views on how the Dutch should run their empire; Java-born Dr. Hubertus J. Van Mook, the Acting Governor General, fresh from the rebellious East Indies. No Indonesians were present. The empire-menders came quickly to the point.
While Mrs. Attlee filled the teacups, her husband let his guests know that his Labor Government did not intend indefinitely to prop up unenlightened Dutch imperialism in the East Indies. Too much was at stake. Half-a-billion Asiatics, from Bombay to Bali, were watching the European masters return to their old Southeast Asia house. The house had changed. The masters had to change, too. If the Dutch blinked the fact, the matter would be brought before the UNO Assembly.
The guests had an answer, largely drafted by Dr. Van Mook. The imperial-minded Acting Governor General had told equally imperial-minded homeland ministers some unpalatable truths. Indonesian nationalism had come to stay. It was not transitory, as they wished to believe. It permeated 72 million people, and it could not be put down by a few divisions of troops. It had to be recognized.
Dr. Van Mook recalled Queen Wilhelmina's pledge of 1942: a new policy for the Empire, a Commonwealth composed of the homeland, Indonesia, Surinam and Curasao. Now was the time to set it up. He agreed with Premier Schermerhorn that full Indonesian self-government was out of the question for 15 to 20 years. But something limited must be granted; it must be worked out with "moderate" Indonesian leaders. He proposed the calling of an Indonesian Assembly under a Cabinet to be headed by himself.
As he listened to Van Mook, Clement Attlee visibly brightened. By dinner, the atmosphere was almost gay. The host had expected his company to stay three days. But things were going so well that, over coffee, he proposed a late night session to tidy up loose ends. By 3 a.m. the business was done. A vague communiquè cloaked a definite though general plan.
The British agreed not to withdraw their troops from Indonesia but to clear an area sizable enough to impress the nationalists and give the Dutch a base from which to negotiate. The Dutch agreed to initiate talks with the moderate nationalists, to pay a higher political price for order in their Empire. Dr. Van Mook prepared to return immediately to the trouble zone.
TIME, Apr.22, 1946: A LOT OF WHISKEY
Britain's diplomatic cleanup man had another vanquished crisis under his belt. Beaming baronially as he deplaned in Amsterdam last week after an 8,900-mile flight from Batavia, hump-nosed, ruddy Lord Inverchapel (Sir Archibald Clark Kerr in his pre-peerage days) gave a thumbnail report on his Indonesian peacemaking excursion. The Indonesians, he said, "really want the Dutch to stay." Indonesian Premier Sjahrir is "wise, cool and reasonable." Modestly he summed up his own efforts—to create an atmosphere in which the Indonesians and The Netherlands Indies Acting Governor General van Mook could get together. "It cost me a lot of whiskey but I succeeded."
His sweetness & light dispensed, the Baron hurried off with the moody Van Mook and three Indonesian representatives to isolated St. Hubertus Lodge in Holland's De Hooge Veluwe National Park. In the secluded hunting estate, the conferees wrestled with the last loose ends of an agreement which had been fashioned in preliminary Java meetings. The stubborn Dutch and fanatic Indonesians had found a middle ground. Indonesia would become an autonomous "full and equal" partner with The Netherlands, Surinam and Curaçao, under the Dutch crown.
One remaining snag was the presence of British troops in Indonesia. To liquidate this problem, Clark Kerr shepherded The Netherlands' rotund Premier, Willem Schermerhorn, across the Channel for a chat with Clement Attlee. From the talks came quick results and a crisp communique: "An agreement was reached as regards the measures still necessary to liquidate the war with Japan and the gradual withdrawal of British troops and their replacement by Dutch forces."
His job nearly done, Baron Inverchapel of Loch Eck could look forward to relaxing in his ancestral home in Argyll, Scotland with his paints, his books and his inevitable Scotch & water, before taking up his next assignment as Ambassador to the U.S.
TIME, Oct.28, 1946: REPUBLIC ACOMIN’
Dr. Hubertus J. Van Mook, Acting Governor General of The Netherlands Indies, exchanged toasts in Batavia last week with the Prime Minister of the Indonesian Republic, though Dutch officers still walked out of British parties whenever Republican Army leaders appeared. The civilian amenities held more significance than the military discourtesy.
Van Mook's banquet for Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir celebrated the signing of a truce designed to limit, and eventually to halt hostilities in the Indonesian Republic (Java and Sumatra). It also symbolized Dutch recognition that Empire days were ended by fiery President Sukarno's revolution. Handsome, fezzed Sukarno remained aloof from both negotiations and banquets; he would be free to repudiate Sjahrir should the Premier concede too much.
When negotiations collapsed in Java last June, old-line Dutch imperialists went down with them. Van Mook called leaders of outlying Indonesian islands to a conference at Malino in the Celebes, proposed and got approved a semi-autonomous "United States of Indonesia." At the same time, the Dutch Parliament established a special commission to deal with the Indonesian Republic, named Holland's brilliant ex-Premier Willem Schermerhorn as its chairman. Schermerhorn will now negotiate with the Indonesians on 1) the degree of autonomy to be granted the Republic; 2) the territory to be included in the Republic's area.
With the British slated to pull out their 20,000 "peace police" troops Nov. 30, and with 90,000 Dutch troops in the islands and more coming, the Indonesians were ready to negotiate. Sukarno had won much already —now he might yield on complete, immediate independence in exchange for inclusion of disputed Sumatra in the Republic. No matter how the details were worked out, both Holland and Indonesia (and Britain, because she wants a peaceful India and Asia) would gain from settlement. Said pragmatic Dutchmen: "We are politically losing Java and Sumatra, but there is always a chance for Dutch private enterprise in Indonesia."
TIME, Nov.25, 1946: BIRTH OF A NATION
The United States of Indonesia, conceived as an equal partner with The Netherlands under the House of Orange, was born in Batavia last week. Dutch and Indonesian representatives initialed a draft agreement providing for a three-way division of The Netherlands East Indies: first, the Indonesian Republic, comprising the islands of Java, Sumatra and Madura; second, Borneo; third, "The Great East," made up of Bali, the Celebes, the Moluccas, Dutch New Guinea and the Lesser Sunda Islands. These three autonomous areas would be linked as equal partners in the United States of Indonesia, and within two years the U.S.I. would be rated a sovereign power under Queen Wilhelmina.
This was not the stringless independence Java's rebel President, Ir. Sukarno, had sought, but it was close enough to be palatable to most Indonesians. However, extremists attacked Dutch soldiers at Buitenzorg, and the mother country had a few extremists of its own.
This week at The Hague Dr. Johannes A. Ringers, Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction, quit the Cabinet in protest over the agreement, and some leaders of the Catholic party's right wing also objected. Premier Louis J. M. Beel (Catholic party) stood pat, said: "The kingdom will neither be broken nor murdered. It will be remodeled and named according to the requirements of our time."
TIME, Dec.23, 1946: IR.
What time is it in Indonesia? Last week the public clocks which the punctual Dutch had placed along Batavia's sweltering, mosquito-infested streets did not say; nobody had wound them. Nobody collected electric bills, because the electrical engineers are Dutch and the company accountants Indonesian; they could not decide who should get the receipts. Batavia had two mayors, one Dutch, one Indonesian; two flags, one Queen Wilhelmina's and one Ir. Sukarno's; two currencies, neither of which could buy much, and two possible destinies: it might become the chief city of the first great Muslim colony to free itself from European rule, or it might come to symbolize the first wave of Asiatic nationalism to break into chaos.
By last week it was clearly too late in Indonesia for restoration of full Dutch imperial rule, too early for stable native government. Was it too late for cooperation between Dutch and Indonesians in a framework of expanding independence? From Batavia, TIME Correspondent Robert Sherrod cabled a gloomy forecast :
"Throughout most of Asia, the white man is truly hated and the sky is black with chickens coming home to roost—probably blacker in Indonesia than anywhere except Indo-China. The natives' passions run away with their leaders' intellects. I am inclined to doubt whether whites and colored will work together in this generation."
In Amsterdam, 9,900 miles away, Dutchmen could not bring themselves to accept so pessimistic a view, which would spell catastrophe for their country. Said Pieter de Jong, a middle-of-the-road Dutch businessman: "We've already lost our trade with Germany. If we lose Indonesia too, The Netherlands will become one of the poorest countries on the Continent. If Indonesia really wants complete freedom, we are not going to stop her and we cannot stop her. But we Netherlanders sincerely hope the Indonesians have some common sense left. If we move out, the Indonesians will be a prey to Communism or to ruthless big business."
Last week at The Hague, Johannes A. Jonkman, Minister of Overseas Territories, struggled with the job of putting Citizen de Jong's fears into political terms. Jonkman, who lost all his hair in a Jap prison camp in the Indies, worked so hard to draft his speech to The Netherlands States-General that friends feared his health would break down. After he made the speech, interpreting the proposed pact between the Dutch Government and Sukarno's rebel Indonesian government, Holland's politicians and people were still as unhappy and undecided about the issue as Pieter de Jong.
The pact recognizes Sumatra, Java and little Madura as the Republic of Indonesia, whose degree of independence will be great, but is deliberately left vague. Borneo and the Great East will be left under Dutch control. Both the Dutch and the Indonesian nationalists agree to work toward a federation which would bring the whole Netherlands East Indies into a future United States of Indonesia, a sort of Dominion under the Dutch Crown. Further negotiations to clarify the pact are expected. Meanwhile, the Indonesians think that events are moving too slowly toward independence, and the Dutch think they are going too rapidly.
TIME, Apr.7, 1947: BEGINNING OF LIGHTNESS
Mercurial President Sukarno was too preoccupied to comment. He was busy discussing his favorite hobby—painting—with a visiting artist. But elsewhere in Java last week Indonesians were delirious with joy. After 19 long months of bloody warfare, at least a measure of peace and independence had come to Indonesia.
For the first time in five years Batavia echoed to the burst of festive fireworks rather than lethal gunfire. Food parcels were distributed to the poor as the people prepared for a great selamatan (feast). Forgetting for once their mutual distrust, the city's rival Dutch and Indonesian mayors joined forces on the Palace balcony to scatter 1,000 kilograms of copper coins over the jubilant throngs below.
The occasion was the signing of a long-delayed agreement (TIME, Dec. 23) between The Netherlands and its rich, rebellious East Indies colony. Drafted last November at Linggadjati, the pact (sometimes known as the Cheribon Agreement, for a nearby town) was held up by extremists on both sides who wanted to continue the struggle. After four months of discussion, two still unsatisfied members of the Dutch delegation (both professors) last week refused to sign, and left for home without even waiting to say goodbye. "What influence politics can have even on the manners of the very learned!" clucked the Data via Nieuwsgier.
The signing was a notable triumph for the moderation of Dutch Acting Governor General Hubertus van Mook and Indonesia's common-sensical Premier Sjahrir. "On Indonesia," said Sjahrir to his people, "we are lighting a small torch, the torch of humanity. Let us take care of it. Let us hope it will mark the beginning of lightness all over the world." Five days later he left for the Inter-Asian Conference at Delhi. At the Hague, two hours after the pact was signed, a newly convened Parliament promptly ratified it by a vote of 56-to-26.
"Now," said a stolid Amsterdam Importer with a grunt of satisfaction, "we can again start working and begin mending broken dishes."
TIME, July 28, 1947: RECOLONIZATION?
At midnight the Dutch struck. Troops seized the radio, the cable office, and Republican government buildings in Batavia, seat of the Dutch administration in Java. Next day, Dutch planes struck at the Republic's weak air force (about 40 old Japanese planes), which they caught on the ground. With artillery preparation, the Dutch army began an attack on the big north central Java city of Semarang.
"In view of the almost constant Republican violations [of the Dutch-Indonesian truce]," said the Dutch Acting Governor General Hubertus van Mook, "The Netherlands Government cannot further be bound by the truce and agreement, and retake their freedom of action."
This meant that Indonesia would once again be plunged into a war of white men against brown men. The Dutch now had an asset they lacked when the first campaign ended: a well-equipped army of 100,000. On their side the Indonesians had 200,000 soldiers, poorly equipped. Time, and a world opinion that frowns on colonial wars, was also on the Indonesian side. In a radio broadcast, Indonesian President Sukarno asked for United Nations intervention.
When Republican extremists forced moderate Premier Sjahrir to resign last month because of his willingness to cooperate with the Dutch, a break seemed certain. But his successor was another moderate, Amir Sjarifuddin, who has long worked with the Dutch. When he thought he was dying in a Japanese prison camp during the war, Sjarifuddin left a message for his old friend Van Mook, asking him to take care of his wife & children. After the Dutch attack this week, Sjarifuddin was less sure of his friends. "I accuse the Dutch," he said over the radio, "of trying to recolonialize us."
TIME, Aug.4, 1947: “POLICE MEASURES”
Their acts, said the Dutch last week, were only "police measures of a strictly limited character." They looked more like war. The Dutch claimed that they could rebuild the Indies only after they had subdued obstructive Republican leaders. The Dutch had a detailed plan of attack for vermiform Java: cut off the head and tail (richest rice-growing regions), then hit the heart of the Republican government at Jogjakarta in south central Java. In a week the Dutch plan had all but succeeded.
Dutch Marines, trained by the U.S. Marines, staged amphibious landings in the east and quickly took Java's richest agricultural area. Throughout Java the Dutch seized plantations, sugar mills, port installations, roads. Indonesian scorched-earth tactics had caused some damage, chiefly to the Chinese merchant class whose houses the Republicans burned. "The population's attitude," claimed the Dutch, ". . . could hardly be bettered. . . . From a military standpoint there is hardly any resistance worth the name." Fleeing Republican soldiers shed their shoes—the faster to run and the better to disguise themselves as peasants.
But from Jogjakarta the Republican government was still shouting defiance. The Dutch drive on the capital was stalled in the mountains north of the Republican capital. The Dutch might seize key centers of Java, but the Republicans hoped to wear them down in a long guerrilla war. Youthful (24) Major General Sutomo was organizing suicide squads called Berani Mati (Those Who Dare to Die). To belong, said Sutomo, an Indonesian must kill at least ten Dutch soldiers. He also had some advice for women fighters: sprinkle pepper in Dutch soldiers' eyes, then stone them to death.
The Dutch had gambled everything on quick military success. (Their well-trained, well-equipped army had no supplies for a long campaign.) But the political problem could not be so quickly solved. After a week of fighting, Acting Governor General Hubertus van Mook promised a "regular government." The Dutch talked of splitting the Indonesian Republic into seven autonomous (and more manageable) areas. Van Mook asked "prominent Indonesian personalities" to join him in rebuilding the country.
Meanwhile, moderate ex-Premier Sutan Sjahrir, favorite Dutch candidate to head a new Indonesian government, flew to India to mobilize world opinion against the Dutch. He found one sympathetic listener in Jawaharlal Nehru. Said Nehru last week: India will bar Dutch traffic from Indian ports and airfields. But, he added, India will not send arms to the Indonesians ; "we do not intend to be at war with the Dutch Government." Nehru promised to bring the Indonesian problem before the United Nations immediately.
TIME, June 29, 1948: CONFIDENTIALLY ….
To set against its long list of futile endeavors, the United Nations could point to a few modest successes. One was the truce agreement between the Dutch and the Indonesian Republic. Last week that small star in U.N.'s crown was fading fast.
The hitch did not result from lack of initiative on U.N.'s part. Indeed, the Dutch claimed that U.N.'s Good Offices Committee in Indonesia (made up of an American, an Australian and a Belgian) was pushing too hard and too fast. Under the truce agreement reached last January, the Dutch and the Republicans were supposed to work out plans for a federal United States of Indonesia, to take over sovereign powers in 1949.
But the negotiations got nowhere. One obstacle: the Dutch demanded immediate disbanding of the Republican army; the republic insisted that it must keep a defense army until the Dutch have agreed to a plan for local self-rule. The Dutch accused the Javanese Republican leaders of designs on all of Indonesia; Republican leaders accused the Dutch of trying to restore colonial rule.
To break the stalemate, the U.S. and Australian members of the Good Offices Committee whispered a plan of their own, providing for federation by 1949. Republican Premier Mohamed Hatta liked it. But Dutch Acting Governor General Hubertus van Mook refused to consider the plan, told U.S. Committee Member Coert du Bois that he had no business submitting it in the first place. Then the U.S.-Australian plan leaked to the press. The Dutch announced that "in view of the publication of the strictly confidential document*. . . The Netherlands delegation has requested instructions from The Netherlands government." They "discontinued" negotiations "for the time being."
Republican leaders suspected that the Dutch were stalling to avoid any kind of settlement. In their "police action" last summer, Dutch troops seized the biggest towns and richest lands of Java, deprived the republic of rule over two-thirds of Java, parts of Sumatra and all of Madura. Meanwhile the Dutch have maintained a naval blockade of the Republican area. Republican leaders suspected a Dutch scheme to whittle down the republic's size and staying power until they could impose their rule throughout Indonesia, through Dutch-controlled governments. One measure of their good faith would be the speed, or slowness, with which the touchy Dutch reopened negotiations.
*A U.S. correspondent in Java had cabled TIME, offering a future story on truce negotiations, outlining the terms of the still confidential U.S.-Australian proposal. TIME did not print the information. By complaining about its "publication" in TIME, the Dutch not only put every other correspondent in Indonesia on the track of the story—they admitted that somebody was snooping into correspondents' outgoing cablegrams, a violation of confidential communications which many a government practices, but which no polite government likes to admit.
TIME, Oct.4, 1948: RESURRECTION
In 1925 an obscure Javanese schoolteacher, angry with his Dutch masters, joined a Marxist study group, became a Communist, got into a rebellion, and was clapped in jail. Almost at once he escaped and made his way to Moscow, where he stayed quietly for 23 years. Last August, Muso Suparto (now calling himself simply Muso) turned up in Java again. Thirty-eight days later he emerged at the head of a successful Communist rebellion.
Muso and his men struck at Madiun, the republic's third largest city, in the heart of Java, straddling a major east-west rail link not far from Jogjakarta, the republic's capital. Supported by a mutinous brigade of the Republican army, they seized the key points in the city, set up a "People's Republic" and called for the immediate overthrow of President Sukarno's Republican government. "These arms," screamed the Communist radio from Madiun, "will not be silent until the whole of Indonesia is free!" President of the "People's Republic" turned out to be none other than the resurrected Muso.
He was trying to carry out the Calcutta plan by stepping into a power vacuum created by the deadlock between the Dutch and the Indonesian Republic. Muso made his intent fairly clear. In a speech in Madiun ten days before seizing the city, he declared: "For three years our government has licked the boots of the Americans, with the result that the Americans are still supporting the Dutch … Up to this moment this policy continues. We have got to fight it."
In Jogjakarta the Republican government denounced Muso and his men as "traitors," ordered the army to put down the rebellion. From Washington, Dutch Foreign Minister Dirk Stikker, who had been telling U.S. officials about the Communist threat in Indonesia, made a cagey offer of Dutch help: "We are ready to meet and support Premier Hatta if he is ready to make arrangements with the Dutch." To Indonesia's Premier Hatta it looked like a very big "if"; he said he would not tolerate any Dutch "meddling."
TIME, Dec.27, 1948: REGRETFULLY OBLIGED
Last week, for the third time since World War II ended, there was war in Indonesia between The Netherlands troops and native nationalists. The Dutch started it. As they had before, they called it "police action"—a necessary step which, they said, they had been "regretfully obliged" to take against terrorists.
Jogjakarta, the Republic of Indonesia's capital in south central Java, quickly fell. Dutch paratroopers and airborne forces seized Maguwo airfield, outside the capital, and invaded the city. The action was so fast that the Dutch were able to arrest the republic's top leaders, including President Sukarno, Premier Mohammed Hatta, ex-Premier Sutan Sjahrir, and Foreign Minister Hadji Agus Salim.
In Java and Sumatra, Dutch land forces broke through old truce lines at several points, raced almost unopposed across republican territory. Dutch marines landed in east and central Java. At week's end, the Dutch were marching into the republican oil center at Tjepu.
In Paris, the U.N.'s Security Council, which had first put its hand to the Indonesia struggle in the summer of 1947, met in emergency session. The Dutch told the Council bluntly that intervention by it would accomplish nothing, that the Java action was a purely domestic affair over which U.N. had no jurisdiction.
U.S. and British spokesmen, though careful to avoid anything that sounded like condemnation of the Dutch, were quite clearly dismayed. They felt that unilateral military action by the Dutch was a slap in the face not only to the United Nations, but to hundreds of millions of Asiatics who expected the West to abjure all remnants of old-style colonial rule. Premier Jawaharlal Nehru of India promptly reacted as had been expected; he denounced the Dutch attack as imperialism.
The Dutch had promised an Indonesian federation, with sovereignty and equal partnership in a Dutch commonwealth, but they could not agree with the tough little republic on the necessary interim arrangements or on the final blueprint. Last month, in a final effort to break the knot, a mission from The Hague under Foreign Minister Derek Stikker journeyed to Batavia. The Dutch claimed that the republic was waging a disruptive campaign of kidnaping, murder and arson. The republicans claimed that The Netherlands was trying to set up "puppet states" in some areas of Java and Sumatra which the Dutch had seized from the republic in previous fighting. On top of everything else, there was disagreement over interim control of the republican army.
TIME, Jan.3, 1949: “SO MOVES THE WORLD”
About the year 1560, the people living near Jogjakarta in Java found a strange creature on the beach. It looked like a man, except that it was white. They chained it to a big square stone outside of town where all could watch and laugh at its antics. They called it "the white sea monkey."
The "white monkey" chipped away at the stone, glowered at the people, and finally died, still chained. Years later, other white sea monkeys came to Jogjakarta and read what the first one had carved on the rock. In Latin he had written : "Laugh at your own stupidity, but do not laugh at the misfortunes of a poor man." In French, Italian and Dutch he had repeated (soon after Copernicus and before Galileo) a sentence so as to form a circle: "So moves the world."
The newly arrived white sea monkeys conquered Java, and before they were done, three-fourths of the globe. Then the world moved on in its circle. The long ground swell of anti-Westernism rose to a tidal wave after Pearl Harbor. It ebbed with Japan's defeat, but nowhere in Asia did the white man regain his prewar position.
Last week a Western nation won a quick, clean-cut victory in Asia. The Dutch had grasped the nettle. At Jogjakarta, where the square rock still stands, they had seized the top Indonesian Nationalist leaders (TIME, Dec. 27). In ten days after their attack, they had captured every major city of Republican Java.
With China falling, Burma in chaos and Indo-China locked in civil war, the West might have been expected to rejoice at the Dutch victory. Instead, W. R. Hodgson, representing Australia at the United Nations, cried: "[This] is worse than what Hitler did to The Netherlands." This immoderate expression went further than the official stands of the Western powers. Nevertheless, adverse criticism of the Dutch move was widespread.
London thought the Dutch were, not "playing cricket." The U.S. State Department was irritated and U.S. economic aid to The Netherlands was cut off. The U.N. Security Council adopted a U.S.-sponsored cease-fire order intended to dislodge the Dutch. Not even the Dutch themselves celebrated their victory. Queen Juliana deplored the violence. Said she: "It is a tragedy of human society that makes force the necessary reaction to force . . . We are all in God's hands."
Many of the Security Council members returned grudgingly to Paris from their Christmas holidays to take up the Indonesian case. The shivering Council met on the cold stage of the Palais de Chaillot; all week long the U.S.'s Philip Jessup sat huddled in his overcoat and muffler. The atmosphere was strained. The Dutch knew that their fellow U.N. members were about to jump on them with both feet. Said one Dutch delegation member: "That was a calculated risk we had to take." The Dutch also knew that the risk was not too great; had not the British themselves sent several units of the Guards Brigade to Malaya to suppress a Communist rebellion? Were not the French and their Foreign Legion fighting a war in Indo-China?
TIME, Jan.10, 1049: MERDEKA!
For three years, merdeka (freedom) was the battle cry, the greeting and the promise of the young Indonesian republic. Strangers saluted each other with the word, children chanted it in the street. Many of the republic's hotels were renamed "Merdeka." But when the Dutch seized Jogjakarta, they took black paint and blotted out the word on the fagade of the hotel in the capital's heart. They have put no other name in its place.
The incident symbolized the main question about Indonesia's future. As one Indonesian put it last week, "the republic was ours; we made something of it. What are the Dutch going to put in its place?"
Jogjakarta, which had looked like a dead city after the Dutch entered, was slowly coming back to life last week. Ragged peasant women once more brought their vegetables to sell on the sidewalks. Coolies lined up at the railway workshop, waiting for jobs.
But at night, firing could still be heard near towns. Saboteurs set fire to many a plantation; in Surakarta, republican Java's second city, they had blown up most public buildings. A clandestine "free Indonesian" radio station broadcast news of guerrilla successes to the republican army scattered in the hills. "The confusion of the defending Dutch troops," said one broadcast, "was increased through tomtom beating by the population."
Most vociferous anti-Dutch leader was Major General Sutomo, known as Bung (Comrade) Tomo to Indonesian radio listeners. A limpid-eyed, long-haired journalist, Bung Tomo turned guerrilla leader in 1945. He then vowed not to shave until the Dutch left Indonesia, but a year ago his beard got too much for him and he shaved.
The Dutch have gained the "close cooperation" of Paku Buwono XII, the Susuhunan of Surakarta. The Susuhunan is a shy little Dutch-educated, sport-loving princeling who meekly permitted himself to be called "Comrade" during the republic. The Dutch would have to find stronger nails on which to peg their rule.
Last week, in front of Jogjakarta's nameless hotel, the people no longer shouted friendly greetings; they had only glum, sullen stares for white men. Said a Dutch official: "Indonesians, like the Dutch, would rather live in a leaky sod hut of their own than in the finest foreign-built building. Will Indonesians have another building of their own? Now they are not sure. When they come to trust us to give them independence, as we promised, they will work with us."
The Indonesian case before the U.N. Security Council simmered down. A Dutch representative described the American attitude: "At first, the U.S. reacted like a New England parent surprised by a young man trifling with his daughter's honor. Now the State Department's attitude has changed. It became: 'What are we going to do about the baby?' "
After pondering the U.N. cease-fire order for five days, the Dutch last week told the council that they would cease firing in Indonesia only in their own good time. In Java, that meant midnight, Dec. 31, 1948. In Sumatra it would take two or three days longer.
Russia's Yakov Malik, who has himself repeatedly told U.N. to go jump into Lake Success, was mightily indignant at The Netherlands' defiance of the council's authority. His similes were not up to Andrei Vishinsky's high standards, but he did his best. Cried Malik: "The Dutch reply is a cynical request by an aggressor for two or three days more to kill off his victims completely . . . Do the U.S. and Britain intend, like Pontius Pilate, to wash their hands of the matter?"
There were indeed some ablutionary gestures in the council. Britain, France and Belgium opposed any further action against The Netherlands for the present; the U.S. did not want to quarrel with its Western allies. The Dutch meanwhile announced that Prime Minister Willem Drees would personally go to Indonesia to settle the islands' future. The way things looked in Indonesia last week, that was not impossible; but it would take some doing. India's Prime Minister Pandit Nehru last week called for a conference of 14 Asiatic and Middle Eastern nations to discuss ways & means of helping Indonesia's republicans. Burma's ex-Premier Ba Maw announced that a Burmese expeditionary force (including 100 women) would leave shortly for Indonesia to fight the Dutch. An official spokesman, however, threw cold water on that idea. Said he: "We have our own lawlessness to stamp out.
TIME, May 16, 1949: HIGH HOPES & BITTER TEA
Last week, peace seemed finally in sight in the long-drawn war between the Dutch and the Indonesian Nationalists. In Batavia, the U.N. Commission for Indonesia announced a cease-fire agreement. Worn down by Nationalist guerrilla fighting and worried by Communist advances in Asia, the Dutch had finally given in to the stern resolution of the Security Council, condemning their "police action" last year.
Key point of the Batavia agreement was restoration, to the Nationalists, of Jogjakarta, the Republic's capital, which Dutch parachutists had seized (TIME, Dec. 27). It also provided for the release of the Republican leaders, including President Sukarno and Premier Hatta, whom the Dutch had hustled off to custody on Bangka Island. The Republicans in return promised to order their guerrillas to stop fighting. In The Netherlands, government leaders still worried whether Sukarno would be able to hold his hotheaded army leaders and leftist supporters to that promise. Both sides also agreed to attend a round-table meeting at The Hague to set up a federated United States of Indonesia.
There was one man last week who did not share in the high hopes for a lasting settlement. In his pleasant brick villa near Leiden, lean Bertho van Suchtelen liked to dream of the old days when he was governor of Sumatra East Coast—days to him of peace and order in the East Indies under the good Queen's kindly rule. When The Netherlands' Queen Mother Emma died, van Suchtelen had remained for a full hour before her wreathed picture in rigid mourning pose.
Fortnight ago he formally notified Queen Juliana that he would go on a hunger strike against the government's "wavering, incompetent and characterless" policy of appeasing the Nationalists. He went on a diet of fruit juice and unsweetened tea. His protest was in vain. This week van Suchtelen read the news of the government's agreement with the "rebels." This cup of tea was too bitter for him; discouraged, he broke his fast.
TIME, July 4, 1949: PROGRESS
In the roof-garden ballroom of Batavia's elegantly seedy Hotel des Indes, 40 white-suited delegates and aides representing the Dutch, the Indonesians and the U.N. Commission for Indonesia met one evening last week to put the finishing touches on a Dutch-Indonesian agreement. After a quiet 45 minutes in the steamy 90° heat of the ballroom, the business was over. Jogjakarta, the Java capital which the Dutch had taken forcibly from the embryonic Indonesian Republic 6½ months ago (TIME, Dec. 27), would be peacefully returned.
The agreement cleared away the last diplomatic obstacle in the way of a conference at The Hague, scheduled for Aug. 1. There Dutch and Indonesian delegates would try to set up the United States of Indonesia, a sovereign nation with a status equal to The Netherlands' own under the Dutch crown. The Indonesian Republic (Java) would have a large but not necessarily a dominant voice in the U.S.I. The Dutch hoped that more moderate elements in the other islands would balance Javanese extremists and thus form a basis for an orderly transfer of rule.
Two days after the Hotel des Indes meeting, Dutch infantrymen began their withdrawal from Jogjakarta. As the Dutch troops passed through the city, natives gawked silently. Earlier, 30,000 civilians, including many panicky Chinese, had evacuated to the north, fearful that the Republican take-over would be the signal for bloody fighting among the Republicans. Indonesia's Communists already had announced their plans to take the Jogjakarta airfield as soon as the Dutch withdrew.
Many Republican leaders seemed calmly confident of their ability to maintain order and check Communism in Indonesia. At week's end, President Sukarno repeated that he had no intention of yielding to Communist pressure, but warned that the Communists in Indonesia would grow stronger every day that the Dutch put off granting real national independence.
Back in Batavia, however, another influential Indonesian leader, Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak in Borneo, was not so sure of his countrymen's ability to check the Communist tide in Asia. "Communism," he said, "is the greatest danger for us here." The Sultan urged U.S. aid to help the U.S.I, to its feet; he indicated that for such aid America might well be permitted to have troops and bases in Indonesia.
TIME, Sep.5, 1949: TRY, TRY AGAIN
The Hague blossomed with bronze faces and bright native costumes last week as some 200 Dutch and Indonesian delegates assembled for a round-table conference in The Netherlands' staid capital. With the U.N.'s Commission for Indonesia looking on, the delegates in The Hague's ancient Hall of Knights expected to spend two months at solving the thorny Indonesian problem which has plagued the Dutch and the Western world since war's end.
The Dutch were committed to the project of a "United States of Indonesia," with probable dominion status under the Dutch crown. Last week the Dutch still insisted that every jot & tittle of the proposed agreement must be in place before they transferred sovereignty to the Indonesians ; the impatient islanders wanted sovereignty first, and to tuck in the loose ends later. The most hopeful aspect of the conference was that both sides knew they could not get what they wanted by force.
TIME, Nov.14, 1949: BIRTH OF A NATION
A few hours before dawn, a bleary-eyed night porter at The Hague's stuffy Hotel des Indes (named for The Netherlands' once vast and profitable colonies) opened the heavy oaken door for a weary guest, who went promptly to his room, and to sleep. He was slim, patient Jan Herman van Royen, able career diplomat and chief Dutch troubleshooter at The Hague Round Table Conference, which had been called to settle the differences between Indonesia and The Netherlands (TIME, Sept. 5). Van Royen had just wound up a crucial committee meeting which seemed to assure the conference's success. The way was clear for the birth of a new nation.
Nationalists in Indonesia sputtered that they did not like the agreement which Van Royen and the Indonesian representatives had worked out. Nevertheless, after four years of bitter fighting and endless negotiations, it looked as though Indonesia would get the freedom it fiercely wanted, and yet would retain some of the economic ties with The Netherlands which are necessary for the survival of both countries.
During its ten weary weeks, The Hague conference had often seemed close to failure. The Indonesians had wanted as much independence as possible, the Dutch had wanted to retain as much sovereignty as possible. But eventually the Dutch and the Indonesian delegates grew to trust and understand each other. One weekend motor trip to Namur, in Belgium, helped to break the ice; Indonesia's Premier Mohammed Hatta and the Dutch Minister for Overseas Territories, Johan van Maarseveen, reached some important decisions chatting in their car. Explained Van Royen: "It doesn't pay to try to be too clever. The only way to gain confidence is to treat people as normal equals. The fortunate thing is that our interests run parallel. They can't do without us, nor we without them."
One of the thorniest problems of the conference was the public debt incurred by the Dutch administration in Indonesia, which the new republic would have to take over. The Dutch had originally set the figure at 6.3 billion guilders ($1.7 billion), but the U.N. Commission on Indonesia, which hovered anxiously over The Hague talks, helped persuade the Dutch to scale down their demands to 4.3 billion ($1.1 billion). Another tough nut was the future of New Guinea, a large part of which is still held by Dutch troops. Under the compromise which Van Royen had engineered, both parties agreed to defer a decision on New Guinea for a year.
TIME, Jan.9, 1950: OVER THE FENCE
In Amsterdam's Royal Palace one morning last week, 335 frock-coated Dutch and Indonesian officials gathered around a green baize table to hear Juliana, Queen of The Netherlands, end 340 years of Dutch rule in Indonesia. Juliana entered the palace hall followed by her husband, Prince Bernhard. From her crimson-upholstered armchair, she spoke clearly and melodiously: "Immeasurable," said she, "is the satisfaction of a nation that finds its liberty realized . . ." As Juliana finished, the palace carillon pealed out first the Indonesian and then the Dutch anthem, and one of her four uniformed lackeys fell flat on his face in a dead faint.
On the other side of the world, from Jakarta (Indonesian name for Batavia) TIME Correspondent Robert Doyle cabled:
Just before noon of the day after Queen Juliana's announcement, two C-475 bearing Indonesian President Sukarno and his official party swept over the city from the mountains of central Java. Sukarno, whom most Indonesians regard as the personification of independence, had been driven from Jakarta by the Dutch almost exactly four years ago. A roar of welcome ascended as the planes reached the runway. President Sukarno, wearing a white uniform and black Muslim hat, climbed into an open Packard convertible and headed into the city. Behind him, over a distance of four miles, tumultuously happy crowds boiled and swirled like the wake of an ocean liner.
Almost as soon as Sukarno arrived at the palace, a torrent of Indonesians surged through the gates onto the lawn. Others enthusiastically kicked the slats from, a wooden picket fence and poured in unchecked. In a matter of minutes, the sprawling, mile-wide Koningsplein in front of the palace was an unbroken expanse of brown faces.
"Sudara, sudara, brothers," said Sukarno. "Be quiet. Thanks to God Almighty, today after four years I have again set foot on the earth of Jakarta. Four years was not a moment, it was four times three hundred and sixty-five days."
"Merdeka," the crowd thundered, "Tetap merdeka [Freedom, Freedom forever]!"
"We are one nation," cried Sukarno, "and we pray that we may live as a single free nation . . . We want to build a strong nation, prosperous and orderly ... I appeal to you all to show our hospitality to our foreign guests, including the Dutch." As Sukarno turned, walking between the graceful Ionic columns into the executive mansion, one foreign diplomat waved in the direction of the crowds and said to a colleague: "Could the Dutch ever have held this, in the face of that?"
The crowd dispersed quickly, leaving behind only a few score natives stretched out from heat prostration and a few hundred others happily and symbolically splashing their feet in a lily pool of the palace grounds. Until independence, the lily pool had always been emphatically on the other side of the fence for Indonesians.
TIME, Feb.6, 1950: F L Y
When the United States of Indonesia was born last month, a wave of forgive & forget sentiment swept over the archipelago. Most Dutch and Indonesian leaders recognized that their future interests ran parallel. Last week a formidable fly stuck firmly in the salve of cooperation.
The troublemaker was a part-Dutch, part-Turkish adventurer, named Raymond Paul Rocco ("Turk") Westerling, a professional soldier with a checkered past. Dashing Westerling fought with Australian troops in North Africa in 1940, later with the Dutch underground in Holland. After the war he helped organize a special Dutch force which was accused of murdering thousands of Celebes islanders during mopping-up operations. Kicked out of the Dutch army in 1948, he began to recruit an army of his own, now estimated at close to 10,000 Muslim extremists and deserters from the Dutch army.
One morning last week, Westerling's men rolled out of the mountains into Bandung (pop. about 150,000). Six hundred strong, they marched up the main streets, shot a few Republican soldiers, quickly took over the city. Thousands of Dutch troops garrisoned in Bandung stood by and did nothing. The Dutch garrison commander, Major General E. Engles, told Westerling's raiders to get out. They left quickly.
At Lake Success, an Indonesian spokesman charged that the Dutch were partially responsible for Westerling's raids. The Dutch stoutly denied the charges. Meanwhile, Turk Westerling blandly predicted that a new civil war was about to break out in West Java, from which he would emerge the winner. This was unlikely, but Westerling's bands could fan the dying embers of Indonesia-Dutch resentment and suspicion. First task of the U.S.I, army would be to finish off Turk Westerling.
TIME, Apr.24, 1950: GROWING PAIN
The government of the new United States of Indonesia was finding infancy troublesome. Some of its pains were caused by the difficulties of merging Indonesian Republican soldiers who had fought against the Dutch into one army with Indonesians who had fought for the Dutch. Other pains rose from the old issue of central sovereignty v. local autonomy.
Two weeks ago both difficulties fused in the revolt of 26-year-old Captain Andi Abdul Aziz, onetime paratrooper in the Dutch Indonesia corps. Aziz and his men, all recently transferred to the new U.S.I. army, were serving reluctantly under a Republican garrison commander in the state of East Indonesia. When they learned that the government planned to add nearly 1,000 Republican troops to those already in Macassar (pop. 85,000), Aziz and his men decided that their former enemies had gone too far.
With 150 of his own men plus some 600 deserters, Aziz swiftly overwhelmed Macassar's few Republican soldiers, and in 45 minutes held control of the city. He asserted that the central government was violating East Indonesian autonomy, warned government troops not to attempt a landing in Macassar.
The government promptly called on Aziz to report in person to Jakarta (formerly Batavia), the Indonesian capital. When he refused to budge, he was labeled a rebel. Government army units began to mobilize along the north Java coast, despite the fact that they had no ships other than Dutch to transport them to Macassar.
Last week Captain Aziz finally reconsidered, flew to Jakarta in a government plane. He had apparently been promised a safe conduct by government negotiators. The Indonesian Information Ministry said that Aziz was not a prisoner. The Indonesian Defense Ministry announced, howover, that he was a prisoner and would be court-martialed immediately. In Jakarta, the government at week's end was not quite sure who held Macassar.
TIME, Sept.18, 1950: DOWN TO WORK
Since the United States of Indonesia got its independence last December, its leaders have worked harder at reducing their 16 states into a single unit than at the massive job of governing their country. After eight months of friction, sometimes resulting in bloodshed (TIME, April 24), the U.S.I, was transformed on Aug. 17 into a Republic of Indonesia with all power concentrated in Java's capital, Jakarta. Last week Indonesia finally got down to the serious business of making independence work.
First job at hand was appointment of a new government to replace the U.S.I, cabinet of tiring, diabetic Premier Mohamed Hatta. Last week, after a fortnight of backroom politics, Mohamed Natsir, 42-year-old socialist chairman of the Masjumi (Muslim) Party Political Council, announced agreement upon an 18-man coalition government with himself as Premier. The new cabinet was built around the Masjumi Party's five cabinet seats, and included eight minor party representatives. The Nationalist and Communist Parties were omitted. The once proud, powerful Nationalist Party, second in size only to the Masjumi, had lost its purpose when independence was won.
New Premier Natsir, a thoroughgoing antiCommunist, is an orthodox, devout Muslim and prewar schoolteacher who first achieved national prominence as Information Minister in the old, revolutionary republic. Like all three previous Indonesian Premiers, he is Sumatra-born.
The new government last week promised to add Western New Guinea to Indonesia's domain. In line with the agreement reached at the sovereignty transfer, Western New Guinea would remain under Dutch control until Dec. 27. Before that date both parties must meet to settle its future. Should they fail, the question of who gets this rich territory would revert to the Security Council.
Indonesia's President Sukarno warned last month that unless a peaceful solution to the New Guinea issue were found this year, a "major conflict might arise."
TIME, Dec.18, 1950: IRE OVER IRIAN
In the Indonesian's atlas the western part of New Guinea is called Irian. No one is quite sure what the word signifies. One theory is that it means nothing, another that it means "warm land." It is, indeed, a torrid jungle and mountain wilderness as big as California. Sparsely inhabited by fuzzy-wuzzy Melanesian cannibals and practically unexploited, it has been a Dutch colony the past 122 years. Last week Irian was also a hot focus of argument between its Dutch rulers and the bumptious young Republic of Indonesia.
The dispute began in the postwar struggle of the Indies. When the Dutch recognized Indonesia's independence (in November 1949), it was agreed that the status of Irian, which both countries claimed, would be settled at a conference to be held within a year.
As months passed and conference time approached, Irian became more & more involved in local Indonesian politics. President Sukarno insisted the controversial territory must belong to Indonesia. It was a popular issue; the new state's politicos drummed it up, for it helped detract attention from such internal difficulties as banditry and inflation.
Against this background last week Dutch and Indonesian representatives met in The Hague for the parley that would determine Irian's destiny. Sukarno's men, led by Foreign Minister Mohamed Rum, demanded control within six months. Led by Foreign Minister Dirk Stikker, The Netherlands' men testily replied that they could not negotiate on the basis of such a proposal. They argued, in effect, that they were more capable and responsible colonial administrators than the untried Indonesians, and that West New Guinea's primitive inhabitants needed their benevolent aid.