Date: Thu, 3 Apr 1997 15:31:53 +0100
From: Waruno Mahdi 

Withdrawal of Moluccan Former Dutch Mercenaries to the Netherlands (1)

On Wed, 2 Apr 97 17:19 WET, Chaumont Devin wrote:

> Now could someone please come up with something about the role of the CIA
> working in cooperation with the Dutch and the newly-formed Indonesian
> government in what happened to Ambon when the Dutch withdrew?  Perhaps there
> wasn't any direct role per se--after all, poor little Ambon was so small.  But
> there ARE somethings that don't quite add up.  For example, why would the
> Dutch take their Ambonese mercenaries all the way to Holland and hold them in
> camps there rather than retreating with them the scant 300 miles to Irian
> Jaya, which they hung onto for more than another decade.  Wouldn't it have
> been far cheaper, both in terms of money and, even more importantly to the
> Dutch, in terms of keeping Holland white, to have set their Ambonese up in
> camps there?  Like I said, it doesn't add up.

I don't think you could hang that on the CIA or whatever. Actually, there was nothing illogical about the Dutch decision of retreating their Ambonese forces all the way to the Netherlands. According to the agreement between Indonesia and the Netherlands at the Round Table Conference (1949), the entire territory of former Netherlands East Indies was to pass to the United States of Indonesia. It was only stipulated, that for technical reasons, West New Guinea (now Irian Jaya) would come under Indonesian jurisdiction one year later than the rest of the former colony. Therefor, there was no point in retreating the troops to an area which was earmarked to be united again with the rest of Indonesia (even if with some delay, see below).

The reason why West New Guinea was not returned as scheduled, but much later, after a prolonged conflict, was that the Netherlands took exception at the voluntary unification of the various federal states of United Indonesia (the former so-called puppet states) into the Republic of Indonesia (originally one of the federal states of the United Indonesia created by the round table conference), so that the "United States of Indonesia" ended up consisting only of one federal state, the Republic of Indonesia.

As for the role of the US, these had always been rather sympathetic with regard to Indonesian endeavours towards defending its independence in the period 1946-1949, using their (the US) influence to bring several successive peace conferences (the Round Table Conference being the last in a series) to positive results. In the ending of the West New Guinea (West Irian, now Irian Jaya) conflict too, the good offices of the US were vital in bringing the conflicting parties to the conference table and to a political rather than military solution. One may suspect ulterior motives behind the attitude of the US in these matters if one likes, but then, who has ever heard of politics without ulterior motives.

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