Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference

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Round Table Conference
Indonesian: Konferensi Meja Bundar
Dutch: Ronde Tafel Conferentie
The Round Table Conference in session
Drafted 23 August 1949
Signed 2 November 1949
Location The Hague, Netherlands
Effective 27 December 1949 (Transfer of Sovereignty)
  • The unconditional and irrevocable transfer of complete sovereignty of the Kingdom of the Netherlands over Indonesia to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia, and thus the recognition of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia as an independent and sovereign Nation
  • The acception of the Republic of the United States of Indonesia of this sovereignty based on the provisions of its Constitution; the Kingdom of the Netherlands having been notified of this proposed constitution


Depositary Kingdom of the Netherlands
Language Dutch

The Dutch–Indonesian Round Table Conference was held in The Hague from 23 August to 2 November 1949, between representatives of the Netherlands, the Republic of Indonesia and the BFO (Federal Consultative Assembly) representing various states the Dutch had created in the Indonesian archipelago. Prior to this conference, three other high-level meetings between the Netherlands and Indonesia took place; the Linggadjati Agreement (1947), the Renville Agreement (1948), and the Roem-van Roijen Agreement (1949). The conference ended with the Netherlands agreeing to transfer sovereignty to the United States of Indonesia.


On 28 January 1949, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 67 calling for an end to the recent Dutch military offensive against Republican forces in Indonesia and demanding the restoration of Republican government. It also urged the resumption of negotiations to find a peaceful settlement between the two sides[1]

Following 6 July Roem-van Roijen Agreement, which effectively endorsed the Security Council resolution, Mohammad Roem said that the Republic of Indonesia, whose leaders were still in exile in Bangka, would participate in the Round Table Conference to accelerate the transfer of sovereignty.[2]

The Indonesian government, in exile for over six months, returned to the temporary capital at Yogyakarta on 6 July 1949. To ensure commonality of negotiating position between the Republic and the federal delegates, in the second half of July 1949 and from 31 July – 2 August, Inter-Indonesian Conferences were in Yogyakarta between all component authorities of future United States of Indonesia. The participants agreed on basic principles and framework for the constitution.[3]

Following preliminary discussions sponsored by the UN Commission for Indonesia in Jakarta, it was decided the Round Table Conference would be held in the Hague.

The negotiations[edit]

The negotiations resulted in a number of documents, namely a Charter of Transfer of Sovereignty, a Statute of Union, an economic agreement and agreements on social and military affairs[4]

They also reached agreement on the withdrawal of Dutch troops "within the shortest possible time". And for the United States of Indonesia to grant most favoured nation status to the Netherlands. In addition, there would be no discrimination against Dutch nationals or companies and the Republic agreed to take over trade agreements negotiated by the Dutch East Indies.[5] However the two major areas of disagreement were over the debts of the Dutch colonial administration and the status of Western New Guinea.

Negotiations over the internal and external debts of the Dutch East Indies colonial administration were protracted, with each side presenting their own calculations and arguing over whether the United States of Indonesia should be responsible for debts incurred by the Dutch after their surrender to the Japanese in 1942. In particular the Indonesian delegations were indignant at having to cover what it saw as the costs of Dutch military action against it. Finally, thanks to the intervention of the US member of the UN Commission on Indonesia, the Indonesian side came to realise that agreeing to pay part of the Dutch debt would be the price they would have to pay for the transfer of sovereignty. On 24 October, the Indonesian delegations agreed that Indonesia would take over approximately 4.3 billion Guilders of Dutch East Indies government debt.[6]

J.H. Maarseveen, Sultan Hamid II of Pontianak and Hatta signing the Round Table Agreement, 2 November 1949

The issue of the inclusion or not of Western New Guinea almost resulted in the talks becoming deadlocked. The Indonesian delegations took the view that Indonesia should comprise the entire territory of Dutch East Indies. The Dutch refused to compromise, claiming Western New Guinea had no ethnic ties with the rest of the archipelago[7] Despite Dutch public opinion supporting transfer of Western New Guinea to Indonesia, the Dutch cabinet was worried it would not be able to ratify the Round Table Agreement in parliament if it conceded this point.[8] Finally, in the early hours of 1 November 1949 a compromise was reached: the status of Western New Guinea would be determined through negotiations between the United States of Indonesia and the Netherlands within a year of the transfer of sovereignty.[9]

The conference was officially closed in the Dutch parliament building on 2 November 1949. Sovereignty was transferred to the United States of Indonesia on 27 December 1949.[10]

  1. The Kingdom of the Netherlands unconditionally and irrevocably transfers complete sovereignty over Indonesia to the Republic of the United States of Indonesia, and thus recognises the Republic of the United States of Indonesia as an independent and sovereign Nation.
  2. The Republic of the United States of Indonesia accepts this sovereignty based on the provisions of its Constitution; the Kingdom of the Netherlands has been notified of this proposed constitution.
—Charter of transfer of sovereignty.[11]


After sixty years of recognising the transfer of sovereignty as Indonesia's date of independence, on 15 August 2005 the Dutch government formally recognised Indonesia's de facto independence as beginning on 17 August 1945, the date of Indonesia's proclamation of independence. In a conference in Jakarta, Dutch Foreign Minister Ben Bot professed "profound regret for all that suffering" experienced during the four-year National Revolution, though he did not formally apologise. Indonesian reactions to the Dutch position were generally positive; Indonesian foreign minister Hassan Wirayuda was quoted as saying that, after this recognition, "it will be much easier to move forward and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries".[12]


  • Hasil-Hasil Konperensi Medja Bundar sebagaimana diterima pada Persidangan Umum yang kedua Terlangsung Tangal 2 Nopember 1949 di Ridderzaal di Kota 'S-Gravenhage (Results of the Round Table Conference as Accepted at the Plenary Session on 2 November 1949 at the Knight's Hall [Parliament Building] in the Hague) (1949?), Printed/published? by Kolff, Djakarta
  • Ide Anak Agung Gde Agung (1973) Twenty Years Indonesian Foreign Policy: 1945–1965 Mouton & Co ISBN 979-8139-06-2
  • Kahin, George McTurnan (1952) Nationalism and Revolution in Indonesia Cornell University Press, ISBN 0-8014-9108-8
  • Ricklefs, M.C. (1993) A History of Modern Indonesia Since c.1300, 2nd Edition. London: MacMillan, pp. 224–225. ISBN 0-333-57689-6.
  • Taylor, Alastair M. (1960) Indonesian Independence and the United Nations. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.


  1. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) p. 60.
  2. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 64–65.
  3. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 66–67.
  4. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) p. 70.
  5. ^ Kahin (1952), p. 437
  6. ^ Kahin (1952), pp. 439–441, 443.
  7. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) p. 67.
  8. ^ Kahin (1952), p. 444, 443.
  9. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 69–70.
  10. ^ Ide Anak Agung, (1973) pp. 70–71.
  11. ^ Hasil-Hasil Konperensi Medja Bundar (1949?) p. 15.
  12. ^ "Dutch withhold apology in Indonesia". New York Times. 17 August 2005. Retrieved 12 July 2013.