THE present interval in which the Japanese are in control of the Netherlands Indies will be fleeting in the perspectives of history. It provides a fitting opportunity, however, to review the process of gradual change through which the Archipelago has been passing under Dutch leadership. Such a review will be more interesting, probably, if it is not confined to a mere inventory of political, social, economic and cultural phenomena, but if it sets forth in addition some tentative conclusions as to the future. The following pages attempt to fulfill that task. They are not written in a biased spirit, but with rigorous objectivity. No other approach is permissible, given the fact that what are at stake are the happiness and well-being of seventy million people.

There is another and more specific reason why a discussion of this theme is timely now. The whole world -- political and social and economic -- is in the melting pot. Great changes portend in every field of human organization. The war has come upon all of us, not in the form of a local conflict of limited scope, but as a world-wide upheaval, the titanic revolutionary undercurrents of which have rent asunder the established order not only in Russia, Italy and Germany, but in other countries as well, and will profoundly alter the national and international pattern of life for years to come. A new world is being born. We hope to influence that process. And so we ask, "What are we fighting for?"

It is indeed a crucial question. The nature of the crisis and of the vast changes which impend are understood but vaguely. In the United Nations there naturally is a clearer perception of what we do not want than of positive new aims. This inclines us to tend to cling to well-tried formulae and traditional institutions, rather than to attempt to make a bold diagnosis of the ills besetting our world and to undertake positive planning to correct them. There is much talk of democracy, of independence, of national self-determination and of trade between sovereign states, as if these were constant values for all times and for all circumstances. We desperately wish to do something constructive. But we still are blind to what the world really needs, and we still do not quite know what we really want for ourselves. The result is that we are inclined to proclaim that the traditional institutions which we have enjoyed shall henceforth be bestowed upon communities where they did not exist, or where they were supposed not to exist, in the past -- in countries where there are autocratic régimes and also in colonial empires. There is a tendency to say, for example, as one looks at the Far East: "Once Indo-China, the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, the Netherlands Indies have been freed of Japanese domination, let them be independent. We are not fighting to restore colonial empires, our own or any others."

A noble sentiment, a generous impulse, undoubtedly underlies a statement of that sort. The teeming millions in the vast regions named are, we intend, to have the happiest possible lot. As soon as the war is at an end, they are to share the blessings of free institutions. This is noble and generous indeed -- with one limitation. That is in cases where the real motive is not so much to give happiness to untold millions as to incite them to take sides with us now against the Japanese, before we have thought out clearly and precisely the consequences which later would result to them from the independence which it is proposed to grant. Where the welfare of human beings is concerned, purity of motive is an absolute requirement.

A second requirement is stern attention to practicability. Before we make up our minds, as responsible men and women, to grant these peoples new institutions, it is imperative that we first determine whether, in the light of reason and following careful scrutiny, our impulse, however pure, appears to be really calculated to contribute to the best interests of those now under the harsh yoke of Japanese usurpers. The transition from an emotional to a realistic consideration of the problem may be difficult for certain temperaments, but it is nonetheless indispensable.

We talk of independence, of democracy. What exactly do we mean? There are a great number of races and national groups in the territories under discussion. Is every one of them to be made independent? If not, are the ties which exist between groups of them strong enough to ensure that such groups will live together as a single unit? Are they to have not only the rights resulting from democratic institutions, but also the responsibilities that are their necessary counterpart, and without which no democracy can hope to survive?

Let us remember also that our own conception of democracy is undergoing a searching test, a severe crisis. The nineteenth century ideal to which we tenaciously cling, that of government by the people, for the people, has in practice become a form of government in which the rights and liberties of the citizen are in grave danger of being pulverized between enormous millstones -- party machines, organized capital, organized labor. In this form of government, too, the man in the street now regards himself as a more or less skilled worker rather than as a co-director of policy (or -- especially if he pays no taxes -- as a beneficiary of state institutions in the first place, and as a co-director only in the second place).[i] We are convinced that democracy is to be retained as a precious heritage, but we have not yet adapted our conception of it to twentieth century conditions. We may well pause to inquire whether it is fair to impose what may be obsolescent forms of democracy on other nations when, although conscious of their possible obsolescence, we ourselves do not yet know precisely how to transform them in order to make them applicable to present-day conditions.

It would far exceed the limits of this article if a serious attempt were made to go into the problem raised here for all the territories now in Japanese hands -- Indo-China, the Philippines, Malaya, Burma, the Netherlands Indies. A choice must be made; and the territory chosen by the present writer naturally is the Netherlands Indies. Not that what holds good for that Archipelago is necessarily equally valid with regard to the other territories just named. An express caveat is entered on that score. In the matter of political institutions and forms, generalization is dangerous, for national characteristics, varying degrees of development, geographical factors, natural resources and diverse other elements have all to be reckoned with. For the same reason, it is impossible simply to project American or European institutions into a country where conditions are completely at variance with those prevailing in either America or Europe.

The following pages, then, in addition to being a review of the political and social development of the Netherlands Indies, also constitute a preliminary inquiry into the question whether, or to what extent, the immediate postwar grant of independence and democratic institutions as we know them would be conducive to the well-being of the peoples of that territory.


What is particularly striking -- startling almost -- about the Netherlands Indies is their intense variety -- variety of human life, variety of environment, variety of races, languages, laws, civilizations, variety of political and economic institutions. The area they cover, also, is very great. Superimposed on the map of the United States, a map of them stretches some 250 miles into the Pacific on the west and some 250 miles into the Atlantic on the east, and reaches from Minneapolis in the north down to Memphis in the south.

There are five large islands: Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Celebes, and New Guinea (the western half of the latter being Dutch, the eastern British and Australian). The smallest, Java, is about the same size as the state of New York, but has four times its population. Borneo is larger than the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan put together. In addition, there are some fifteen minor but still important islands, and literally thousands of small ones. Seas, each of them several times the combined expanse of the Great Lakes, separate the islands.

The land area of the whole Archipelago is approximately one-fifth of that of the United States; but the population is over one-half. Java staggers under the burden of two-thirds of the total population, crowded onto one-fifteenth of the total area. It is one of the most densely populated lands in the world (the United States, 442 to the square mile; Java, 900 to the square mile).

Some of the islands are arid and barren, others have fertile soil and abundant rainfall; some are covered with virgin jungle, others are intensively cultivated and produce a great variety of crops which are highly important for world markets; others again have little agriculture, but valuable mineral resources. Several possess excellent ports and are by their geographical position natural links in the great sea-highways of the East. The Archipelago both joins and separates the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, Asia and Australia.

Although most -- not all -- of the peoples of the Archipelago belong to the Malay-Polynesian group of races, and hence come as much of a common stock as, for example, the Anglo-Saxons, the Scandinavians and the Germans, they differ in language, political institutions, social structure, modes of life, at least as widely as do Americans, Britons, Norwegians, Swedes and Hollanders.

Some sixty languages are spoken in the Netherlands Indies. In spite of certain common characteristics in some cases, these tongues differ to such an extent that they impede intercourse. Malay, the so-called lingua franca of the Archipelago, is understood in most of the islands only by the citizens of the big towns and not by the overwhelming rural population. There also exist nineteen distinct systems of native civil law.

Both the stage of civilization and the species of civilization reached in the several islands are widely disparate. The differences in character, temperament and attitude towards life noticeable between the Achinese of Sumatra, the Sudanese of Java, the Balinese, the Sasaks of Lombok, the Menadonese of Celebes, the Dayaks of Borneo, the Papuas of New Guinea, are far greater than any existing between a Nova Scotian and a Texan.

It is significant that there is not even a common indigenous denomination of the Archipelago. "The Indies" is an arbitrary western appellation, introduced by the traders of the sixteenth century. "Insulinde" is a romantic invention by a Dutch author of the nineteenth century. "Indonesia" is a rather convenient Greek hybrid, adopted by political leaders as an approach to, and a label for, a new and comprehensive patriotism.

The majority of the Indonesians, as we are now wont to call them collectively, are intelligent, kindly, law-abiding people. Their highly diversified civilization dates back to long before the commencement of our era. In the first centuries after Christ, the Hindus from India invaded several of the islands and established a number of kingdoms. In the fifteenth century Moslem invaders converted practically the whole Archipelago (the island of Bali was an important exception). In the sixteenth century Portuguese traders in quest of spices settled in some of the islands, only to be ejected fifty years later by the British and the Dutch. The latter finally ousted the former.

Two distinct periods mark the three and a half centuries of Dutch association with the Indies.

The first period, commencing just before the opening of the seventeenth century, was one of rule primarily for the benefit of foreign elements. There were colonial domination and economic exploitation for the benefit, first of the Dutch East India Company, then of the Dutch exchequer, and, finally, under the liberal system of laissez-faire, of Dutch and foreign capitalism. It would be unjust, however, to present the last phase of this period as only a sequel to the first and to suggest that the country at large and its native population did not derive great benefits from the liberal phase of economic expansion. This period lasted until the beginning of the twentieth century.

The second period, during which the development of the country for its own sake and in the interest of the native population became the deliberate and supreme care of the Dutch Government, has since 1900 evolved from a negative if effective policy of government restrictions on exclusive and untrammelled pursuit of profits into a system positively fostering Indonesian emancipation in the political, economic and spiritual spheres. This period was consciously initiated as long ago as 1901, when Queen Wilhelmina in a famous speech from the throne announced the new policy of the "moral vocation" of the Netherlands in the Indies.

Political developments marked the first quarter of the twentieth century. Economic and social progress has been the keynote of the subsequent fifteen years.

If one takes into consideration that at the turn of the century political consciousness was virtually absent amongst the native population; that the ultimate decision on every large and small issue lay with the Government in Holland; that the Indies were ruled by an honest, highly efficient and painstaking European and native administration, sincerely devoted to their task, but with a genuine apprehension of any form of popular government -- then one is forced to conclude that the progress of these forty years has been immense.

The fact that the constitution of the Indies was modified no less than four times in the first quarter of a century is an indication of the rapid rhythm of political development. One of the important changes was made in 1922. Since then, the Indies are no longer a colony, but one of the four component parts, equal in constitutional rank, of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Holland in Europe, the Netherlands Indies, Surinam and Curaçao. The basic civic rights, so dear to Dutch and Americans alike, which had long existed, were reaffirmed and received additional guarantees: freedom of speech, assembly and press; protection of person and property; right of petition. Indonesians were made eligible for all public functions, and recently a prominent Javanese (Pangeran Ario Soejono) became a member of the central government of the Netherlands Kingdom. Representative bodies were instituted for the management of local and regional affairs and for municipal and rural legislation.

The greatest step towards national unity and representative government was taken with the opening in 1918 of a representative assembly, the People's Council. During the first decade this body had a purely advisory character. When it had acquired sufficient experience in the conduct of public business, it received legislative powers for practically all Indian affairs. These powers it shares with the Governor-General. In a real sense it is a proto-parliament, with powers that grow as the country matures politically. Hitherto, the States-General in Holland have reserved certain matters to themselves, and the Governor-General retains the right to overrule decisions of the Council in cases of emergency or public interest; but the exercise of these powers both by the States-General and by the Governor-General is in practice becoming more and more exceptional.

The People's Council consists of 60 members, 38 of them elected, the others designated by the Governor-General. The majority are non-Dutch -- 30 natives and five non-native Asiatics, Chinese and Arabians. The majority in the case of both the elected and the designated groups is Asiatic. Thus the Dutch, far from dominating the assembly, are in every sense a minority. The elected members are chosen indirectly, by electoral bodies. Interestingly enough, several of the political groups are composed of both European and Indonesian members.

It is specially noteworthy that the designation of members by the Governor-General is not used to strengthen a government majority. In fact, several leftists and nationalists owe their membership to such appointment. No member is ever supposed to consider himself as a government nominee and as such to speak or vote for the Government; nor do they in actual practice act as if they were government nominees. Today the Council adequately represents the various currents of conscious public opinion, and it has not been loath to make itself heard -- and listened to -- by the Government.

Parallel to the growth in political institutions has been the very considerable growth in the domain of education. The popular demand for education is increasing every year, and the government aim is to provide the facilities desired. When we assess the amount spent on education, we should be careful not to take into account merely the sums spent under this heading by the central government: the bulk is defrayed by regional and local centers of administration. At the time of the Japanese invasion, instruction was being given in at least 15 languages in more than 20,000 lower vernacular schools and by something like 50,000 teachers. In addition, there were 1,500 primary schools with Dutch as a medium. And for more advanced pupils there were 700 secondary and vocational schools. The total number of pupils of all these institutions was over 2½ million. As a result, illiteracy has been gradually but definitely decreasing. University training has been given at Batavia, where there are faculties of law, medicine, literature and agriculture; and a technical university is located at Bandoeng. The standard of education has been the high one of Holland, though adapted to the special needs of the Indies.

The furtherance of Indonesian economic and social interests has been a primary object of government activity, especially since the beginning of the present century. This welfare policy has found expression in numerous activities and institutions, only a few of which can be mentioned here.

In nearly all the islands, rice is the staple food and rice-growing is the occupation of the overwhelming majority of the inhabitants. Both the acreage under paddy and the yields of rice have been tremendously increased by irrigation systems which water millions of acres, and by the efforts of an admirable agriculture service which ramifies out into the most remote parts of the Archipelago. In 1940 the Netherlands Indies for the first time did not have to import rice from abroad.

Indonesians of Sumatra, Celebes and Borneo have been encouraged to become independent producers of commodities for the world markets. The production of copra, pepper, kapok, tapioca and coffee is already largely in native hands. With efficient government help, native rubber production in 20 years has grown from zero to 20 percent of the world's requirements. Similarly, government guidance and assistance have multiplied native textile and other industries tenfold in as many years.

Slavery was abolished in 1860, five years before it was abrogated in the United States. The liberal policy of laissez-faire which thenceforth was dominant has now been radically modified by a system of planned economy wherever the interests of the Indies at large or of the Indonesian population so demand. Thousands of sugar, tea, coffee, cinchona, tobacco, rubber, oil-palm, tapioca and sisal estates and numerous oil fields, tin, bauxite, nickel and coal mines which have been opened up afford employment to great numbers. This is the more necessary, since the population is increasing by leaps and bounds. The fact that in the course of a century the population of Java increased to ten times its original number testifies to the beneficent effect of Dutch rule. But the resulting population pressure presents the Government with a difficult problem. Special government services have fostered emigration from Java to other islands in order to relieve the pressure. As soon as possible, 100,000 Javanese farmers will be moved annually to Sumatra and Celebes, where they will have the opportunity of becoming prosperous holders of small farms.

Finally, until just before the Japanese invasion the Netherlands Indies supplied the world with 95 percent of its requirements of quinine, 40 percent of its rubber, 10 percent of its tea, 86 percent of its pepper, 27 percent of its palm oil and copra, 75 percent of its kapok, 33 percent of its tin, and 72 percent of Far Eastern supplies of mineral oils. This was due partly to the open door policy maintained by the Netherlands, partly to adherence to the liberal dogma of encouraging free competition, welcoming bona fide enterprise from all quarters of the world and selling the products in the open market to all who were willing to buy them, without the slightest discrimination in favor of Dutch interests.

It must not be thought that these commodities were the lavish offering of friendly nature, available for any casual passer-by. Practically all the cultivations mentioned were imported by the Dutch from the tropical regions of other hemispheres, and were developed and improved by first-class scientists in the most efficient research laboratories and experimental stations to be found anywhere in Asia.

About 1930, overproduction threatened the welfare and even the existence of agricultural producers in the tropics. The Government of the Netherlands Indies promptly coöperated in various international schemes for the orderly adjustment of production to consumption. But in general they have consistently kept aloof from any scheme which, through unwarranted restrictions on output, favored high prices for producers to the detriment of consumers; and they have always been in favor of giving consumer countries an adequate voice in necessary adjustments of supply to demand.


When Germany invaded and occupied the Netherlands in Europe, and later when Japan invaded and occupied the Netherlands Indies, the native population in the islands, so far from making an attempt to rise against Holland or even to exploit the situation by fishing in troubled waters, remained loyal to the kingdom of which they form part. It was the acid test of Dutch rule. The result was the reward of what a British authority has called Holland's "steadfast policy of prudent, gradual and judicious progress."[ii] That this policy was progressive was manifested not only by the efficiency of the public services, the wonderful system of irrigation, the intense degree of cultivation, the steady improvement of health, the excellent roads, and especially by the general contentment of the people, but also, and above all, by the continuous and rapid advancement of education and political autonomy.

Proof that the Netherlands consciously aimed at the progressive emancipation of its overseas domain is furnished by the fact that, far from following a policy of "divide and rule" like that now applied by the Japanese, it assiduously fostered the sense of political cohesion among all the numerous and various cultural and economic groups in the islands. For all their amazing and sometimes perplexing variety, they still are sufficiently akin to form, one day, a single political unit. In the twentieth century small states have such a limited scope that to invest the individual racial, cultural or linguistic groups in the Netherlands Indies with complete autonomy would be to give them a worse than doubtful blessing. Indeed, it would be tantamount to crippling them for life -- a life, moreover, which would in all probability be short.

But with due allowance for the progress made, some impetuous minds still may ask whether the tempo of emancipation in the Netherlands Indies has not been unnecessarily slow, and whether a grant of immediate independence would not be better. It is hoped that the reader will not be disappointed at not finding a direct answer to this question in these pages. The writer is a Dutchman, and an answer from him might be thought biased. The reader therefore is asked to draw his own conclusions, after having gone to the trouble of trying to visualize the peculiar kind of environment in which any change has to be effected in the Netherlands Indies. No sort of democratic atmosphere existed there to start with; on the contrary, the indigenous population had an ingrained static particularism, only a slight degree of civic consciousness, and little sense of unity. Each of these points calls for comment, which, given the small compass of this article, must needs be brief.

Originally there prevailed in the Netherlands Indies, as throughout the East generally, a patriarchal atmosphere which was entirely alien to democracy. The status of the individual was mainly determined by birth and heredity. He was a member of his group first and foremost, and a personality in a subsidiary way only. Aptitude and inclination counted for little. Elections and majority decisions were as unknown as the concept of equality. The enjoyment of property was the discharge of a social function rather than the exercise of a right. Such was the intractable social material with which the Dutch had to begin their work.

In spite of the formidable obstacles which faced them, the Dutch have attempted a real reconstruction on democratic lines from the village autonomies upwards, culminating in the proto-parliament, the People's Council, already mentioned. They have established a measure of freedom of opinion and of speech, assembly and association unequalled in any Eastern state.[iii] The planting, tending and growing of democratic institutions have not been at all an easy task. The East -- and even the élite of the East -- may take on in a mechanical way the externals of democracy, while their hearts remain absolutely cold. Endless patience is required to make the people understand the new institutions. The Dutch have shown that they have that patience. But if the population were left to themselves at the present general stage of development, without the stimulation, collaboration and guidance of the Dutch, they would easily revert to their old ideas and institutions.

We now come to the second obstacle in the way of implanting Western ideas in an Eastern community: particularism. The group spirit is strong: the national spirit is weak. The family counts, the village counts. But the state is personified in the ruler, and the ruler is known from time immemorial as being perfectly able to look after himself. This particularism, then, though not any more immutable than other things in this world, is exceedingly static. "The notion of dividing the community into a majority and a minority between which there exists a tension has a dynamic flavor which is totally alien to Eastern society."[iv] "Arrogance, indifference, seclusion, inertia, and oppression"[v] are some of the results of this state of things; and so long as it prevails, a guiding hand is necessary if society is to transcend the invisible but very real walls between all the innumerable small communities and merge them in one autonomous entity capable of maintaining itself in twentieth century conditions.

In the third place, there was -- and still is -- amongst the native population in the Netherlands Indies a conspicuous lack of civic consciousness. The East has its ancient habits of mutual assistance within the village community; but between a social function of that kind and service of a public order there is a great gap. And yet "a village autonomy cannot function according to present-day requirements unless its leadership has been lifted up into the sphere of civic sense, and the higher autonomies will only work if their leadership sees them as part of an organic complex. Village councils, local boards and provincial assemblies will not function properly until the civic sense which must support them can also support the unity of the state."[vi] A very marked degree of exclusiveness of the group towards all outsiders still exists. To instill a civic sense into 70 million people is a Herculean task. It cannot be fulfilled by pronouncing the supposedly magic word "democracy," and leaving it at that. Anarchy would be the only result.

Lastly, it has to be remembered that in the Netherlands Indies evolution towards national unity had to be started from a point which countries like China and Japan had already left behind in the dim past. Racial diversities, the lack of inter-island communications in the old days, and linguistic barriers would suffice to explain this fact in an archipelago like the East Indies. To remove Dutch authority and grant the natives independence before they have developed a sense of unity -- even if not on the part of the whole population, but only of a sufficiently numerous élite -- would produce catastrophic results. The unity of the Netherlands Indies which now exists depends on the presence of Dutch rule. As yet it is in many respects a purely mechanical unity. Take the Dutch element of cohesion away, and the whole edifice would crumble into fragments.

The late President Coolidge once summed up the prerequisites of independence. "The ability of a people to govern themselves," he said, "is not easily attained. History is filled with failures of popular government. It cannot be learned from books; it is not a matter of eloquent phrases. Liberty, freedom, independence are not mere words, the repetition of which brings fulfillment. They demand long, arduous, self-sacrificing preparation. Education, knowledge, experience, sound public opinion, intelligent participation by the great body of the people -- these things are essential. The degree in which they are possessed determines the capability of a people to govern themselves."[vii] These things mentioned by Mr. Coolidge have not yet developed to a sufficient degree in the Netherlands Indies, notwithstanding the strenuous efforts of the Dutch administrators. These administrators are the protagonists of organization against inertia, of citizenship against group egotism, of unity against particularism.

Nobody realizes this better than the enlightened Indonesians. When last year the writer visited the Netherlands Indies, there was not one member of the People's Council, elected or appointed, who asked for independence. These men expressed various desiderata with regard to the place the East Indies should occupy within the framework of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, but they did not wish to sever the connection. Should outsiders, however well-intentioned, seek to impose severance on them? "One is tempted," an expert in colonial government wrote as early as 1928, after an extensive visit to the Netherlands Indies, "to express the hope that those who are responsible for the administration of this great Dutch overseas territory may be preserved from the influence of all impetuous and precipitate agencies."[viii]

We have to be careful that we do not thoughtlessly project Western ideas into situations to which they are not -- or at least not yet -- adapted. It is in this sense, no doubt, that we have to interpret President Roosevelt's words that "the Atlantic Charter applies to the whole world."[ix] The Charter is an instrument for good, and as such is to be applied intelligently. Viewed in this light, Dutch colonial policy is in keeping with the Charter.

According to the President's repeated statements of American policy, one of the basic principles which should govern international relations is that of the inviolability of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations. Japan has violated the Netherlands Indies. It is the logical sequel to the principle just stated that Japan should be driven out again. Moreover, all are agreed (perhaps even Germany!) that, quite apart from principle, Japan cannot be left in possession. Once freed, the Archipelago will thus continue to form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In that respect there will be no change. But in another respect change will undoubtedly come: neither the position of the Netherlands Indies within the organic framework of the Kingdom nor the constitution of the Indies will remain just what it was.

War or no war, the Dutch intended and intend to continue the process of Indian emancipation. Before the present war began, new developments already were foreseen. Among both the Dutch and native elements the feeling had spread that the Indies should be entrusted with the care of their own internal affairs to the exclusion of the legislative power at The Hague, and that only matters concerning the Kingdom as a whole (such as, for instance, foreign affairs and defense) should be left to the higher, though common, authority. It goes without saying that this would be tantamount to a revision of the entire structure of the Kingdom.

The war hastened the process. People in the Netherlands Indies, the natives as well as the Dutch, succeeded remarkably well in looking after their own public affairs after the German invasion of the Netherlands had cut them off from the mother country. As always since 1900, the central Government was quick to perceive that a new step forward could therefore be initiated. The Netherlands is a democratic country, however, and since questions regarding the structure of the Kingdom as a whole are here involved, it was realized that this next step could be taken only when all concerned, those in Holland as well as those in the Indies, were able to pronounce an opinion on it. That is why the Governor-General, specially authorized to that effect by the Crown, declared when he opened the session of the People's Council beginning on June 16, 1941, that immediately after the liberation of the mother country the adaptation of the national constitution to the requirements of the times will be taken in hand. He also expressly added that the constitution of the overseas territories (i.e., the Indies) will also be revised. In anticipation of this important step, an opportunity will be provided in advance for the presentation to the Crown of desiderata and opinions. At the end of the war, a conference of prominent persons drawn from the component parts of the Kingdom (Holland in Europe, the Netherlands Indies, Surinam and Curaçao) will be convened in order to advise the Crown. The revision of the Constitution will follow. In this way the contemplated changes can be carried through on strictly democratic lines.

Amplifying these declarations by the Governor-General, the Queen of the Netherlands herself announced the proposed revision of the Constitution on July 30, 1941, in a broadcast to Netherlanders all over the world. She added:

Besides the changes which affect the Netherlands themselves, the future relationship of the various parts of the Kingdom will have to be adjusted. A commission, drawn from all parts of the Kingdom, will be called together, to assist in the preparation of these changes. In addition to the revision of the general structure of the Realm, reforms will have to be drafted to adjust the constitution of the various territories accordingly. These will be submitted for consideration to the authorities concerned in each territory. I trust that in this manner the foundations can be laid which will guarantee a sound and happy future for the entire Kingdom.

When these words were spoken the Netherlands Indies were still free. The fact that now they are in the grip of the Japanese postpones the possibility of action but has not altered the Dutch intention to act. Speaking before the Congress of the United States on August 6 of this year, the Queen said that the development of democracy in the Netherlands Indies has been the constant objective of Dutch policy throughout her reign, and especially since the revision of the Constitution in 1925. And she added:

This steady and progressive development received new emphasis and momentum by my announcement last year that after the war the place of the overseas territories in the framework of the kingdom and the Constitution of those territories will be the subject of a conference in which all parts of the kingdom are to be fully represented.

Consultations on this subject were already proceeding in the Netherlands Indies when the Japanese invasion temporarily interrupted their promising course. The preparation of the conference is none the less being actively continued, but in accordance with sound democratic principle no final decision will be taken without the coöperation of the people, once they are free again.

Let us hope that the wait will be short, and that soon -- thanks to substantial American help, which was so sorely missed when the Netherlands Indies rose to play their part as loyal allies in the fight against Japan -- Mr. A. Salim, the "grand old man" of the Indonesian movement (who for many years was a non-coöperator), will once more be able to say to his people, as he said in June 1940:

But I tell you that Holland, and also we Indonesians, may consider ourselves happy that, through this unjustified crime of the enemy's, the Kingdom of the Netherlands has entered the war on the right side, and we cannot appraise highly enough the courage and the wisdom of Her Majesty, Queen Wilhelmina, who at the right moment took the right decision and withdrew herself and her Government from the power of the enemy, in order to continue the struggle from other parts of the Kingdom in East and West.

[i] E. H. Carr, "Conditions of Peace." New York: Macmillan, 1942, p. 21.

[ii] Sir H. J. Bell, "Foreign Colonial Administration in the Far East." London: Arnold, 1928, p. 124.

[iii]Cf. de Kat Angelino, "Colonial Policy." Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1931, v. 1, passim.

[iv]Ibid., p. 69.

[v]Ibid., p. 259.

[vi] De Kat Angelino, "Colonial Policy." Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1931, v. 1, p. 483-484.

[vii]News Bulletin of the Institute of Pacific Relations, September 1927.

[viii]Cf. Bell, op. cit., p. 124.

[ix] February 23, 1942.

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