The Political Status of West Papua (Part 2)
For Indonesia, this was a difficult compromise for what this envisaged was that the Netherlands military presence and administrative control would remain in Indonesian territory for the stipulated period of one more year. It also presented Indonesia with great difficulties to have part of its territory under occupation and have such position ratified by its Parliament. Therefore, it can be said that Indonesia’s acceptance of this compromise was a reflection of its sincere determination to resolve through peaceful means in accordance with the aims of the United Nations and its own national policies, a situation that had the potential to disturb international peace and security. What made this position even more unacceptable was that the newly independent Republic of Indonesia had to contend with a dispute over its territory, when it was not a question of its making. (*)
Indonesia’s right of sovereignty rests on two grounds: first, it had succeeded to Dutch sovereignty over the whole of the Netherlands East Indies, including West Papua; second, there were historical ties between the rest of Indonesia and West Papua.
As demonstrated in the previous chapter, it is a historical fact that West Papua was always an integral part of the territory of the former Netherlands East Indies, and therefore, of the Republic of Indonesia. In this context, it is fitting to recall that never at any time prior to the Round Table Conference was there any doubt about the status of West Papua in the negotiations and agreements between the Dutch and the Indonesians. On 25 March 1947 the two parties signed the Linggadjati Agreement and Article 3 of the said Agreement specifically stated:
“the United States of Indonesia shall comprise the entire territory of the Netherlands East Indies”
(*) On November 1949, at the closing session of the Round Table Conference, the Chairman of the United Nations Commission for Indonesia spoke of this significant event as “the end of the conflict, the solution of a problem”.
continue to part 3