Sovereignty of The United States of Indonesia 1945-1949

Year 11 World History Personal Research Project
Tashkent Ulugbek International School
Mila K.P.I., 3 May 2006

I. Introduction

To begin with, I would like to introduce the aim and purpose of this project. This activity of carrying out a detailed research on the United States of Indonesia will help me develop skills in research, analysis, personal discipline, and writing and help to prepare me for the type of work I’m likely to face in university.

By the end of 1944, the Japanese had been under pressure. Atomic bombs were dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on 6 and 9 August 1945 and the Japanese government accepted the inevitable and on August 14 Japan announced its surrender, which was not quite unconditional because the Allies had agreed to allow the country to keep its emperor.
The Japanese surrender was not formally announced and was still hidden by the Japanese in Indonesia (a military action to seize the raw materials by 1941). However, most of Indonesian leaders, especially the young leaders had already heard from foreign radio programs.
Soon the Youths (Pemuda) met Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta (Older Leaders/The Elders) in Pegangsaan Timur 56 Street, Jakarta.
There were different opinion between the Youths and Sukarno-Hatta.

 Youths’ opinion:
 The Youths, presented by Sutan Syahrir, asked Sukarno and Hatta to declare the independence of Indonesia right at that moment without the Japanese in it.
 Refused the preparation to be done by PPKI (Partai Persiapan Kemerdekaan Indonesia/ Indonesian Independence’s Preparation Party) committee which was formed by the Japanese and the Allies would think the independence was given by the Japanese.
 Elder leaders’ opinion:
 The declaration of the independence must be first discussed with the PPKI because it was its purpose to prepare the independence of Indonesia.
 The independence coming from the Japanese government or Indonesia itself did not matter because Japan already lost the war.
 Declaring independence needed an organized revolution because the most important mission was to face the Dutch’s comeback.

The Youths, failed to persuade the Elders, took Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta away to the city of Rengasdengklok, Karawang, West Java. This action is called the Rengasdengklok Affair and has an important meaning in the history of Indonesian people’s struggle for independence because it quickened the accomplishment of the Proclamation of the Independence of Indonesia.
The nationalist leaders Sukarno and Muhammad Hatta declared Indonesia’s independence on Friday, August 17, 1945 at 10.00 at Sukarno’s house, Pegangsaan Timur 56 Street, Jakarta (now Proklamasi Street). However, The Dutch refused to recognize the declaration.
Briefly, after the World War II, Indonesia proclaimed its independence from the Netherlands. Its claim to represent the whole Indonesian archipelago was challenged by the Dutch (which had had Indonesia as its colony).

As mentioned above, Indonesia had to face the Dutch and also the Japanese even after its independence. What happened in 1945-1949? What was the United States of Indonesia?
In the next sections, I will represent my research on how the United States of Indonesia was formed, a historical era in the history of my country‘s 18 years of struggling after its independence.

II. Indonesia after the Independence

Indonesia’s future was not very clear. The Netherlands, who wanted to take up the archipelago again, criticized Sukarno-Hatta of collaborating with Japan. However, the Dutch were to busy in war with the Nazi and could not take care of its colony in Southeast Asia. Admiral Earl Lois Mountbatten, supreme Allied leader in Southeast Asia, took control of Indonesia. Commonwealth Nations did not come to Indonesia because it was not involved in the World War II until late September. Japanese militias in the archipelago were told to maintain situations in order. They were actually unsure about what to do in the early periods of the Republican revolt. Occasionally they worked with the Allies and tried to control the Republicans. On the other hand, few Japanese leaders under pressure turned over the Republicans. In the postwar anti-Dutch struggle, Japanese armed forces became prominent.

The Allies did not really have a steady plan for the future of Indonesia, although they had a hope that Indonesians and Dutch could negotiate diplomatically on peace. Their aim to get troops to Indonesia was to release Europeans in detention camps, and to disarm and send the Japanese back.
However, most Indonesians reckon that the Allies just wanted to help the Dutch take over the whole archipelago again. That is why the Republicans quickly united their political powers after the proclamation of independence and first Allied landings. Because of the lack of time, the PPKI changed itself to KNIP (Central Indonesian National Committee), consisting of 135 members. KNIP divided the country into 8 provinces and selected governor for each of them.

Conditions in rural areas were enormously difficult. There was an impression that people usually saw the situation as a revolution and overthrew or threatened local leaders who cooperated with the Dutch and the Japanese. The Youths played an important role there. As the circumstances became uncertain, it was hard to decide whether people were revolutionaries or criminals. Local Republicans greatly resisted surviving Dutch assault, Separatist predisposition and leftist rebellion.
Indonesians did not want the Dutch restoring their authority, and a few wanted the old colony back.

III. The United States of Indonesia (RIS)

On 28 October 1945, an aggression blew up in the capital of East Java, Surabaya. The Youths and other armed groups fought with British troops. Indonesians killed Commander A.W.S. Mallaby and hundreds of troops, which was a tragedy for the British military. However, they also received a strong counter attack, which priced thousands of lives. The Allies were forced to accept the republic nation. 1o November (Battle of Surabaya) is now celebrated as ‘Hari Pahlawan’ or the National Patriotism Day.

The Dutch realized that it needed to negotiate with Indonesia to form a kind of commonwealth with Holland because of its weakened authority in the ex-colony after the Second World War. The Linggajati Agreement, held near Cirebon, West Java, was directed by Lord Killearn. Sutan Sjahrir lead Indonesian delegation, and Dutch contingent was lead by Prof. Schermerhorn . The results were announced on 15 November 1946 but were actually approved by both sides on 25 March 1947. The main terms were:
 The Dutch recognizes de factoly Republic of Indonesia’s territory (Java, Madura and Sumatra). The Netherlands must leave de facto territory before 1 January 1949.
 The Republic and the Dutch will make the archipelago have a loose federal arrangement called the Republik Indonesia Serikat (the United States of Indonesia/RIS) with the Republic of Indonesia as one of its states.
 RIS and the Netherlands will form the Indonesian-Netherlands Union with the Dutch Queen as its leader.

None of the countries really liked the terms in Linggajati Agreement. Many people outside the Republic of Indonesia protested with military aggressions because it only meant that they were to be ruled by the Dutch again. Meanwhile, the Netherlands were too busy breaking down the archipelago into puppet states.

The Indonesian-Netherlands relation worsened after the Linggajati Agreement. On 21 July 1947 the Dutch claimed violations which is called ‘Military Aggression I’ against the republic in Sumatra and Java, and imprisoned left-wing people in Yogyakarta (Central Java). The aggression drew international protests. Australia and India urged the UN Security Council to talk over the problems in Indonesia. The Malaya Red Cross and India also sent medicines from Singapore to Yogyakarta, but the dakota-plane was shot by the Dutch before landing.

UN Security Council established a Good Offices Committee/ GOC (Australia for Indonesia, Belgium for the Netherlands, and USA for Australia and Belgium) to support further negotiations. This resulted in the Renville Agreement, named after the US Navy ship in Jakarta on which the debates were held.

 The Indonesian delegation consisted of:
 PM Amir Sjarifuddin
 Mr. Ali Sastroamijoyo
 Dr. Tjoa Sik Ien
 Mr. Moh. Roem
 Haji Agus Salim
 Mr. Nasrun
 Ir. Juanda

 The Dutch delegation was:
 Abdulkadir Wijoyoatmojo
 Jhr. Van Vredenburgh
 Dr Soumokil
 Prince Kartanagara
 Zulkarnain

Discussions were started on 8 December 1947 and approved by both sides on 17 January 1948. It recognized temporary Dutch control on areas taken by the aggression but provided referendums in occupied areas on their political future. The Renville Agreement only gave disadvantages to Indonesia, which under pressure by the GOC must agree with the terms. The Dutch, moreover, were not the only threat. In Western Java in 1948, an Islamic mystic named Kartosuwirjo, with much support from imams, established a break free regime called the Indonesian Islamic State (Negara Islam Indonesia), better known as Darul Islam, a political movement made to establish a Muslim country. Kartosuwirjo and his followers motivated local conflicts in West Java until he was captured and executed in 1962.

IV. Sovereignty

Immediately following the Madiun Affair, the Dutch launched a second “police action” that captured Yogyakarta on 19 December 1948. Sukarno-Hatta, who were there serving both as vice president and prime minister, and other leaders were arrested and exiled to Bangka Island. An emergency government was established in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra.

But The Hague’s policies provoked a strong international reaction not only among newly independent Asian countries, such as India, but also among members of the UN Security Council, like USA. In January 1949, the Security Council passed a decree demanding the restoration of the Indonesian government. The Dutch were also pressured to accept a full transfer of authority in the archipelago to Indonesians by 1 July 1950. The Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from August 23 to 2 November 1949 to determine the way by which the transfer could be done. Parties to the negotiations were the republic, the Dutch, and the federal states that the Dutch had set up.
After weeks of negotiations at The Hague, representatives of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Indonesian representatives signed a document transferring sovereignty over Indonesia “unconditionally and permanently” to the United States of Indonesia. The ceremony took place in the ancient Knights’ Hall of the Parliament Building at The Hague. J. H. van Maarseveen, Minister for Overseas Territories, signed for the Dutch, and the Republican PM Muhammad Hatta and Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak, leader of the Federalist delegation, signed for the United States of Indonesia.

The result of the conference was an agreement that the Netherlands would recognize the RIS as an “independent and sovereign state”, which all Dutch military forces would be withdrawn, and that elections would be held for a Constituent Assembly. Two particularly difficult questions slowed down the negotiations: the status of West New Guinea, which remained under Dutch control, and the size of debts owed by Indonesia to the Netherlands, an amount of 4.3 billion guilders being agreed. Sovereignty was formally transferred on 27 December 1949.

V. Area and Population

The United States of Indonesia comprised the 3,200-miles string of Pacific islands in the Indonesian archipelago, with the excluding Dutch New Guinea whose status was in dispute and whose fate was to be negotiated before the end of 1950. The land area of these islands in the United States of Indonesia was 735,000 miles square with a population of 77,000,000.
The territory of the new federal republic was organized into sixteen states:

 Republic of Indonesia : Java (population 50,000,000) and Sumatra (population 8,000,000)
 South Sumatra (capital: Palembang),
 Bantam
 Pasundan (West Java, Bandung),
 Madura,
 East Java(Surabaya,
 East Indonesia(including Bali, Sumbawa, Flores, Sumba, West Timor, Maluku and Celebes)
 Autonomous area of East Borneo,
 Autonomous area of Southeast Borneo,
 Autonomous area of Banjar(Banjarmasin),
 Great Dayak(in central South Borneo),
 Autonomous area of West Borneo(Pontianak),
 Belitung,
 Bangka,
 Riau,
 East Sumatra (Medan).

The consolidation process had been accelerated in January 1950 by an abortive coup d’etat in West Java led by Raymond Paul Pierre “The Turk” Westerling, a Dutch commander in the Royal Netherlands Indies Army (KNIL), who used terrorist, guerrilla-style accession methods against local populations during the National Revolution. Jakarta extended its control over the West Java state of Pasundan in February.

Other states, under strong pressure from Jakarta, relinquished their federal status during the following months. But in April 1950, the Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed at Ambon. With its large Christian population and long history of collaboration with Dutch rule (Ambonese soldiers had formed a vital part of the colonial military), the region was one of the few with substantial pro-Dutch sentiment. The Republic of South Maluku was suppressed by November 1950, and the following year some 12,000 Ambonese soldiers accompanied by their families went to the Netherlands, where they established a Republic of South Maluku government-in-exile.

VI. Conclusion

To conclude, the RIS was only a tiny part of the very long term of struggling for the “true” independence. I hope that what I have researched on my project will be well regarded. It has been quiet an exercise to find out things that I could not understand before.

VIII. Bibliography
o Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia
o Nigel Kelly, Rosemary Rees, The Modern World, Heinemann 1996
o Drs. Suparman dkk, IPS Sejarah 3A kls 3, Tiga Serangkai 2003


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