HC Deb 17 December 1945 vol 417 cc1052-3W
Mr. Keeling

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a further statement about the situation in the Dutch East Indies.

Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the renewed operational activity in French Indo-China and on the progress of negotiations in or regarding Indonesia, with particular reference to the delay in the return to Holland of Dr. Van Mook; and if he will consider sending an impartial commission to investigate the situation in these territories.

Mr. McNeil

There is no renewal of operational activity in French Indo-China, although occasional clashes between French or British forces and armed Annamites continue to take place. I can add little to the statement of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State on 11th December concerning developments in Java. Dr. van Mook decided to postpone his departure from Batavia in the hope of holding further meetings with Dr. Sjahrir, but Dr. van Mook is now on his way home to consult with his Government. His Majesty's Government remain ready to assist in any possible way the promotion of a settlement between the Dutch and Indonesians. Meanwhile, the reinforcements which, as announced in the Press, have been sent to Java have no political significance, their primary purpose being to ensure the security of the British forces who have been widely dispersed in fulfilling their task of looking after internees. It will be appreciated, however, that any improvement in conditions in the Batavia area should facilitate the progress of discussions between the Dutch and the Indonesians.

While it remains the policy of His Majesty's Government to encourage direct discussion between the Dutch and the Indonesians, they do not consider that the despatch of a commission of investigation at this time would contribute towards settlement by the method of direct discussion.