A Meeting of Minds: Herman van Roijen and Mohammed Roem. How their personal relationship contributed in solving the Indonesian decolonization conflict.

Hans Meijer, Rimko Van der Maar

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    Before the start of Dutch-Indonesian negotiations in April 1949 to end the Indonesian decolonization conflict, the postion of the Dutch was very weak. Pressured by the UN and especially the USA to settle this conflict, the Dutch had no choice but to give in in to prevent UN sanctions. The Indonesian main negotiator Mohammed Roem demanded a settlement on Indonesian conditions. The Dutch diplomat Herman van Roijen however had to negotiate a peace settlement which was also acceptabel to the Dutch. The biggest obstacle to come to an agreement was the enormous mistrust on Indonesian side in Dutch sincere intentions to grant them independence. Before the negotiations really could start, the psychological dimension of the negotiations had to be taken care of first by Van Roijen. His personal diplomacy resulted in overcoming the scepsis of his opponents. He was able to win the hearts of the Indonesian leaders, in particular that of Roem. A friendship developed between both men where they put the fate of their two countries into each others hands. Together they paved the way to the Round Table Conference, the final negotiation round starting in August 1949 in The Hague, leading up to the transfer of soeverignty in December that year.


    ConferenceCIAP 2015: Cooperation – Between Moral Obligation and Political Responsibility


    • Netherlands
    • diplomacy
    • decolonization
    • Indonesia
    • negotiations

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