Indonesian National Revolution - Transfer of Sovereignty

Transfer of Sovereignty

Millions upon millions flooded the sidewalks, the roads. They were crying, cheering, screaming "...Long live Bung Karno..." They clung to the sides of the car, the hood, the running boards. They grabbed at me to kiss my fingers. Soldiers beat a path for me to the topmost step of the big white palace. There I raised both hands high. A stillness swept over the millions. "Alhamdulillah – Thank God," I cried. "We are free"

—Sukarno's recollections of independence achieved.

The resilience of Indonesian Republican resistance and active international diplomacy set world opinion against the Dutch efforts to re-establish their colony. The second 'police action' was a diplomatic disaster for the Dutch cause. The newly appointed United States Secretary of State Dean Acheson pushed the Netherlands government into negotiations earlier recommended by the United Nations but until then defied by the Netherlands. The Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from 23 August 1949 to 2 November 1949 between the Republic, the Netherlands, and the Dutch-created federal states. The Netherlands agreed to recognise Indonesian sovereignty over a new federal state known as the 'United States of Indonesia' (RUSI). It would include all the territory of the former Dutch East Indies with the exception of Netherlands New Guinea; sovereignty over which it was agreed would be retained by the Netherlands until further negotiations with Indonesia. The other difficult issue to which Indonesia gave concessions was Netherlands East Indies debt. Indonesia agreed to responsibility for this sum of £4.3 billion, much of which was directly attributable to Dutch attempts to crush the revolution. Sovereignty was formally transferred on 31 December 1949, and the new state was immediately recognised by the United States of America.

Republican-controlled Java and Sumatra together formed a single state in the sixteen-state RUSI federation, but accounted for almost half its population. The other fifteen 'federal' states had been created by the Netherlands since 1945. These states were dissolved into the Republic over the first half of 1950. An abortive anti-Republic coup in Bandung and Jakarta by Westerling's Legion of Ratu Adil (APRA) on 23 January 1950 resulted in the dissolution of the populous Pasundan state in West Java, thus quickening the dissolution of the federal structure. Colonial soldiers, who were largely Ambonese, clashed with Republican troops in Makassar during the Makassar Uprising in April 1950. The predominantly Christian Ambonese were from one of the few regions with pro-Dutch sentiments and they were suspicious of the Javanese Muslim-dominated Republic, whom they unfavourably regarded as leftists. On 25 April 1950, an independent Republic of South Maluku (RMS) was proclaimed in Ambon but this was suppressed by Republican troops during a campaign from July to November. With the state of East Sumatra now being the only federal state remaining, it too folded and fell in line with the unitary Republic. On 17 August 1950, the fifth anniversary of his declaration of Indonesian independence, Sukarno proclaimed the Republic of Indonesia as a unitary state.

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