INDONESIA: A Lot of Whiskey

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Britain's diplomatic cleanup man had another vanquished crisis under his belt. Beaming baronially as he deplaned in Amsterdam last week after an 8,900-mile flight from Batavia, hump-nosed, ruddy Lord Inverchapel (Sir Archibald Clark Kerr in his pre-peerage days) gave a thumbnail report on his Indonesian peacemaking excursion. The Indonesians, he said, "really want the Dutch to stay." Indonesian Premier Sjahrir is "wise, cool and reasonable." Modestly he summed up his own efforts—to create an atmosphere in which the Indonesians and The Netherlands Indies Acting Governor General van Mook could get together. "It cost me a lot of whiskey but I succeeded."

His sweetness & light dispensed, the Baron hurried off with the moody Van Mook and three Indonesian representatives to isolated St. Hubertus Lodge in Holland's De Hooge Veluwe National Park. In the secluded hunting estate, the conferees wrestled with the last loose ends of an agreement which had been fashioned in preliminary Java meetings. The stubborn Dutch and fanatic Indonesians had found a middle ground. Indonesia would become an autonomous "full and equal" partner with The Netherlands, Surinam and Curaçao, under the Dutch crown.

One remaining snag was the presence of British troops in Indonesia. To liquidate this problem, Clark Kerr shepherded The Netherlands' rotund Premier, Willem Schermerhorn, across the Channel for a chat with Clement Attlee. From the talks came quick results and a crisp communique: "An agreement was reached as regards the measures still necessary to liquidate the war with Japan and the gradual withdrawal of British troops and their replacement by Dutch forces."

His job nearly done, Baron Inverchapel of Loch Eck could look forward to relaxing in his ancestral home in Argyll, Scotland with his paints, his books and his inevitable Scotch & water, before taking up his next assignment as Ambassador to the U.S.