Dutch-Indonesian Round Table Conference

The Round Table Conference was held in the Hague from August 23 - November 2 1949 between representatives of the Netherlands, the Republic of Indonesia and the BFO (Federal Consultative Assembly) representing various states the Dutch had created in the Indonesian archipelago. Prior to this conference, three other high level meetings between Netherlands and Indonesia took place; the Linggadjati Agreement (1947), the Renville Agreement (1948), and the Roem-van Roijen Agreement (1949). The conference ended with the Netherlands agreeing to transfer sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia.


On 28 January 1949, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the recent Dutch military offensive against Republican forces in Indonesia and demanded restoration of Republican government. It also urged the resumption of negotiations to find a peaceful settlement between the two sidesIde Anak Agung, (1973) p. 60.]

Following the 6 July Roem-van Roijen Agreement, which effectively endorsed the Security Council resolution, Dr. Rum said the Republic of Indonesia, whose leaders were still in exile in Bangka, would participate in the Round Table Conference to speed up handover of sovereigntyIde Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 64-65.]

Government-in-exile returned to Yogyakarta after 6 months in exile on 6 July 1949. In order to ensure commonality of negotiating position between the Republic and the federal delegates, in the second half of July 1949 and from 31 July – 2 August – Inter-Indonesian Conferences were in Yogyakarta between all component authorities of future United States of Indonesia. The participants agreed on basic principles and framework for the constitutionIde Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 66-67.]

Following preliminary discussions sponsored by the UN Commission for Indonesia in Jakarta, it was decided the Round Table Conference would be held in the Hague.

The Negotiations

The negotiations resulted in a number of documents, namely a Charter of Transfer of Sovereignty, a Statute of Union, an economic agreement and agreements on social and military affairsIde Anak Agung, (1973) p. 70.]

They also reached agreement on the withdrawal of Dutch troops "within the shortest possible time". And for the United States of Indonesia to grant "most favored nation status" to the Netherlands. In addition, there would be no discrimination against Dutch nationals or companies and the Republic agreed to take over trade agreements negotiated by the Dutch East IndiesKahin (1952), p. 437] . However the two major areas of disagreement were over the debts of the Dutch colonial administration and the status of Western New Guinea.

Negotiations over the internal and external debts of the Dutch East Indies colonial administration were protracted, with each side presenting their own calculations and arguing over whether the United States of Indonesia should be responsible for debts incurred by the Dutch after their surrender to the Japanese in 1942. In particular the Indonesian delegations were indignant at having to cover what it saw as the costs of Dutch military action against it. Finally, thanks to the intervention of the US member of the UN Commission on Indonesia, the Indonesian side came to realize that agreeing to pay part of the Dutch debt would be the price they would have to pay for the transfer of sovereignty. On October 24, the Indonesian delegations agreed that Indonesian would take over approximately 4.3 billion Guilders of Dutch East Indies government debt.Kahin (1952), pp. 439-441, 443.] The issue of the inclusion or not of Western New Guinea almost resulted in the talks becoming deadlocked. The Indonesian delegations took the view that Indonesia should comprise the entire territory of Dutch East Indies. The Dutch refused, to compromise claiming Western New Guinea had no ethnic ties with the rest of the archipelagoIde Anak Agung, (1973) p. 67.] Despite Dutch public opinion supporting transfer of Western New Guinea to Indonesia, the Dutch cabinet was worried it would not be able to ratify the Round Table Agreement in parliament if it conceded this point.Kahin (1952), p. 444, 443.] Finally, in the early hours of 1 November 1949 a compromise was reached: the status of Western New Guinea would be determined through negotiations between the United States of Indonesia and Dutch within a year of the transfer of sovereigntyIde Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 69-70.] .

The Conference was officially closed in the Dutch parliament building on 2 November 1949. Sovereignty was transferred to the United States of Indonesia on 27 November 1949Ide Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 70-71.] .

# The Kingdom of the Netherlands unconditionally and irrevocably transfers complete sovereignty over Indonesia to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia, and thus recognizes the Republic of the United States of Indonesia as an independent and sovereign Nation.
# The Republic of the United States of Indonesia accepts this sovereignty based on the provisions of its Constitution; the Kingdom of the Netherlands has been notified of this proposed constitution.

—Charter of transfer of sovereignty.Hasil-Hasil Konperensi Medja Bundar (1949?) p. 15.]


* "Hasil-Hasil Konperensi Medja Bundar sebagaimana diterima pada Persidangan Umum yang kedua Terlangsung Tangal 2 Nopember 1949 di Ridderzaal di Kota 'S-Gravenhage (Results of the Round Table Conference as Accepted at the Plenary Session on 2 November 1949 at the Knight's Hall [Parliament Building] in the Hague)" (1949?), Printed/published? by Kolff, Djakarta
* Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung (1973) "Twenty Years Indonesian Foreign Policy: 1945-1965" Mouton & Co ISBN 979-8139-06-2

* Kahin, George McTurnan (1952) "Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia" Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-9108-8

* Ricklefs, M.C. (1993) "A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1300, 2nd Edition". London: MacMillan, pp.224-225. ISBN 0-333-57689-6.


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