WAR AND DECOLONIZATION IN INDONESIA, 1940-1950

PART III: The Archive of C.O. van der Plas, 1941-1973
PART IV: The Archive of J.H. van Roijen, 1946-1962

On microfiche

The series

The end of the Second World War in Asia in August 1945 was followed on the 17th of that month by the proclamation of the Republic of Indonesia by Sukarno and Hatta. The Dutch government was unwilling to grant independence, however, and attempted to reassert its authority in the colony it had held for some 350 years. A complicated period of negotiations and civil war ensued, marked by two "police actions" by the Dutch and increasing intervention by the international community, finally resulting in the transfer of sovereignty to the Republic in December 1949.

In cooperation with the National Archives of the Netherlands, MMF is launching a continuing series to make archives from this period available on microfiche so that researchers will be able to broaden and deepen their studies by drawing on the relevant collections in their entirety.

Part III: The Archive of C.O. van der Plas, 1941-1973

Charles Olke van der Plas (1891-1977) had a long career as a civil servant in the Netherlands East Indies, serving as among others governor of East Java and member of the Council of the Indies. With the Japanese invasion of the Dutch colony in 1942 he was seconded to Australia to become chairman of the Netherlands East Indies Commission for Australia and New Zealand, where he took an active part in promoting the war effort and the liberation of the colony from the occupiers. The Commission represented the Minister of the Colonies (at the time Dr. H.J. van Mook, who subsequently became the last Lieutenant Governor-General of the Netherlands East Indies, see Part I of this series) and it was as his right-hand man that Van der Plas landed on Java again in October 1945 to become Chief Civil Affairs Officer. He served in several other capacities until the transfer of sovereignty to the Republic of Indonesia in December 1949. He spoke several Indonesian languages fluently and was generally regarded as an expert on Islam in the country and a danger for the Indonesian independence movement because of the influence he was able to exert on the population.

The Archive

The bulk of his papers cover the periods of the war (1942 - August 1945) and the process of decolonization (September 1945 -1949). For the former, the collection includes many documents of an intelligence nature concerning the situation in the occupied colony and allied military actions, such as secret telegrams, reports and correspondence with Van Mook and General MacArthur. For the period of decolonization, there are many situation reports for various parts of Indonesia, documents concerning politics and relations with the Indonesian republic, financial-economic matters, and the role and position of Islam in the country.

Part IV: The Archive of J.H. van Roijen, 1946-1962

Born in Constantinople in the Ottoman Empire as the son of a Dutch career diplomat and American mother, Jan Herman van Roijen (1905-1991) was to follow in his father's footsteps. After his studies at the University of Utrecht, he held positions at the Dutch Embassy in Washington, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague and the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo (1930-1939). Recalled to the Hague in 1939, he became head of the Diplomatic Department at the Ministry. With the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, he became involved in political opposition to the occupation, including secret contacts with the German resistance. Arrested and imprisoned on several occasions in the following years he made his way clandestinely to London in 1944. With the liberation, he joined the cabinet, becoming minister of Foreign affairs in 1946 and then ambassador to Canada. When the Indonesian question was discussed in the Security Council of the United Nations after the second Dutch military action in 1948, Van Roijen defended his country's position before that body. In 1949 he headed the Dutch delegation charged with preparing the Round Table Conference on Indonesia and was able to win the confidence of the Indonesian side, leading to the Van Roijen-Rum declaration of 7 May 1949, which opened the way to that conference and the transfer of sovereignty to the Republic in December of that year. In 1962 he found himself again involved with Indonesia as head of the delegation to negotiate a solution to the New Guinea crisis after the Republic had annexed this last Dutch colonial outpost in the archipelago.

The archive

In 1977 Van Roijen gave his personal papers to the National Archives of the Netherlands. They were reunited with others from his period as head of the Dutch delegation under auspices of the United Nations Commission for Indonesia sent to the Netherlands in 1951-1952. Most concern the question of Indonesian independence and the transfer of sovereignty to the Republic. They include telegrams, correspondence, reports and position papers. A smaller section covers the New Guinea affair.

 

Also available

Part I: Archive of H.J. van Mook, 1942-1948
Price: € 2,335
Part II: Archive of P.J. Koets, 1946-1949
Price: € 2,010