INDONESIA: Birth of a Nation

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The United States of Indonesia, conceived as an equal partner with The Netherlands under the House of Orange, was born in Batavia last week. Dutch and Indonesian representatives initialed a draft agreement providing for a three-way division of The Netherlands East Indies: first, the Indonesian Republic, comprising the islands of Java, Sumatra and Madura; second, Borneo; third, "The Great East," made up of Bali, the Celebes, the Moluccas, Dutch New Guinea and the Lesser Sunda Islands. These three autonomous areas would be linked as equal partners in the United States of Indonesia, and within two years the U.S.I. would be rated a sovereign power under Queen Wilhelmina.

This was not the stringless independence Java's rebel President, Dr. Soekarno, had sought, but it was close enough to be palatable to most Indonesians. However, extremists attacked Dutch soldiers at Buitenzorg, and the mother country had a few extremists of its own.

This week at The Hague Dr. Johannes A. Ringers, Minister of Public Works and Reconstruction, quit the Cabinet in protest over the agreement, and some leaders of the Catholic party's right wing also objected. Premier Louis J. M. Beel (Catholic party) stood pat, said: "The kingdom will neither be broken nor murdered. It will be remodeled and named according to the requirements of our time."