Linggarjati Conference Museum

I. Preface

The Linggajati Conference Museum is a mansion located in Cimilus sub-district of Kuningan Regency, West Java Province. It is situated 400 meters above sea level, encircled by the village of Linggamekar in the south, the village of Linggaindah in the north, and Mountain Ciremai in the west. The Museum is located 25 km from Cirebon and 17 km from Kuningan.

II. The Beginning

Originally, the historical building where the Linggajati Conference took place, was Mrs. Jasitem's small but built in 1918. in 1921, a Dutchman named Tersana refurbished the small and disheveled but into a semi-permanent building.

III. Van Os Residence (1930 - 1935)

In 1930, the Van Os family purchased and renovated the property. The structure of the Linggajati Museum building is not been changed since then. The Villa had been inhabited by the Van Os family for five years until it was rented by Mr. Heiker.

IV. As a Hotel (1935 - 1946)

Mr. Heiker turned the mansion into a hotel named Rus'Toord Hotel in 1935. the Building continued to be used as a hotel after the brief Japanese Occupation, and even after Indonesia declared its independence. The Japanese rename the hotel into Hokay Ryokan Hotel, later it became one of the Hotel Merdeka's branches.

V. Linggajati Conference

The Indonesia – Netherlands conference, which was invited in October 1946 and ended in November 1946, has been known as Linggajati Conference. Although the first and last of the Lingajati meetings were held in Jakarta. Most of the significant resolution were made at Linggajati, West Java.

Before the commencement of the formal meeting on October 22, 1946, the Chairmen of the Indonesian and Netherlands delegations, Sjahrir and Schermerborn, met on October 16, 1946, in order to discuss the Indonesia – Netherlands political meeting agenda. Sjahrir proposed that the Indonesia – Netherlands meeting covered:

  1. The territory of the Republic of Indonesia, the  (diplomatic) relations between Indonesia and other territories, and the (diplomatic) relations between Indonesia and The Netherlands.
  2. The Netherlands's Armed Force, its number and mission in Indonesia.
  3. Economy and financial issues in the future.
  4. Indonesian ambassadors aboard, concerning culture and language matters.

 

The subjects above were approved by both delegations. Indonesia and the Netherlands also agreed that the preliminary meeting would be conducted by turns in Sjahrir's residence at Pegangsaan Timur No. 56 and in Schermerhorn's residence in Rijswijk Palace (now known as the State Palace), and the meetings should be chaired alternately.  The Indonesian Delegations consisted of Mr. Sutan Sjahrir, Mr. Amin Sjarifuddin, Mr. A.K. Gani, and Mr. Mohammad Roem. Mr. Ali Budiardjo acted as the Indonesian Delegation Secretary.

The first four formal meetings held in Jakarta discussed the main subjects which had to be approved by both delegations in written accord. The Indonesian government consitution (The Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia) and the Indonesia – Netherlands Union were the key subjects to be deliberated in the meetings. After lengthy discussions, it was settled that Indonesia and The Netherlands would work together on Indonesia's constitutional draft, but not on Indonesia's governmental status. However, the meetings, regarding the Indonesia – Netherlands Union, could not reach an conference due to the rejection by the Indonesian government regardless of Van Poll of KPV tremendous efforts on the Indonesia – Netherlands Union Subjects. Mr. Amir Sjarifuddin asserted his anxiety over the Union which may lead to a "Supertaat" (Super Country). The Indonesian delegation proposed to formulate a conference draft which served as the underpinning of the following meetings.

On November 2, 1946, Van Mook formulated and handed over the conference draft to Sjahrir. However, the next day, after having learn the draft, the Indonesian delegation expressed their objection. They conferred the draft to the government in Yogyakata. On November 5, 1946, Sjahrir met with Schermerhorn and Lord Killearn to convey the government's disapproved the draft clauses which impelled Schermenhorn to call upon Soekarno and Hatta to attend the next meeting.

Since Soekarno and Hatta were unable to the present at the meeting in Jakarta and as The Netherlands's delegations were not allowed to come to yogyakarta, Mrs. Maria Ulfah, the Minister for Social Affairs of the Sjahrir II cabinet, recommended that the meeting should be held at Linggajati. Lord Killearn pleaded for his staff to present at the meetings. Although the Indonesian and Netherland delegations dismissed Lord Kilearn appeal, the plenary session had granted Lord Killearn appeal.

The Linggajati meeting were crucial for further negotiations between the delegations, for should the meeting fail, turmoil was inevitable. Sutan Sjahrir once uttered that in case of the failure he would put his position as the Prime Minister on the line. Schermerhorn would return to his country and the Netherlands Armed Forces had as well delivered an ultimatum that should the Indonesian – Netherlands meetings and to avail by Nivember 30, 1946, they would swarm Yogyakarta. This situation put Indonesia in to unenviable position, and exacerbated due the British Army's resolution to leave Java and Sumatra by the end of November 1946.

Since early 1946, a large number of Dutch troops had been granted a permit to enter Java and Sumatra by the British. With larger number of armed forces waiting on order in West Irian and Australia, a big war between Indonesia  and the Netherlands was conceivably bound to happen. The Indonesian government was perfectly aware that a physical war against the Dutch Army would be seemingly futile attempt which would cost countless live. Therefore, Soekarno and Hatta decided to consent to the conference draft on Kuningan. They were aware that if the Indonesia standing could be prevailed better due to the intervention of the international political power in the process of Indonesia;s decolonization.

In brief, the Linggajati conference discussed the draft formulated on November 2, 1946 in which:

  1. The government of the Republic of Indonesia recognized the federal system and the Indonesia – Netherlands Union, should the Republic of Indonesia status and sovereignty as well its foreign (diplomatic) relations were acknowledged.
  2. Sjahrir proposed to rename the term "Vrije Staat" (Independent Country) into "Souveraigne Staat" (Sovereign Country), which was once rejected by the Netherlands.
  3. Sjahrir declared his objection on the Netherlands' regulations applied on the entire of Netherlands East Indies regions, as it would diminish the Republic of Indonesia's existence during the transitional period. Other objection broached on the prohibition of the Indonesia foreign (diplomatic) relations, which had been established.
  4. Soekarno's and Hatta's approval on the script, in which the clauses had distinctly acknowledged the status of the Republic of Indonesia, was regarded as the key constituent of the informal meeting on the night of November 12, 1946, in Kuningan. Schermerhorn also explained that the conference reached not only consensus on the status of the Republic of Indonesia, but also on the grand design of the Indonesia's constitution which would be materialized in the future (The Unitary States of Republic of Indonesia). 

 

Thus, the Linggajati meeting objective were accomplished, and the entire clauses were  gratified by both sides. Furthermore, Soekarno exclaimed, that he would put his position and dignity at stake so that the people of Indonesia would accep the Linggajati accord. It reflected Soekarno and Hatta as the Republic of Indonesia grandees who had played a major role in the Indonesia – Netherlands conference at Linggajati. At the point in time, a press release, which was publicly announced to local and international journalist, comprised that the Linggajati meetings between Indonesia and Netherland had reached a conference.

On the ninth meeting in Jakarta, Sjahrir had added another additional clause regarding arbitration (Clause 17). Then, in the tenth meeting, at Pegangsaan Timur 56 on November 15, 1946, afternoon, both delegations approved and signed the Linggajati Conference script. Finally, on the eleventh meeting which was held at CG office on November 18, 1946 at 8.00 a.m., both delegations symbolically signed the English and Indonesia translation of the Linggajati Conference script.

The Linggajati Conference, which was initiated on October 22, 1946, and ratified on November 15, 1946, was recorded in the Indonesian History as follows:

  1. The Linggajati Conference was the first international conference ratified by Indonesia and Netherlands.
  2. The conference was ratified by the Indonesian and the Netherlands' delegations, with no British intervention.
  3. Apparently, the British ad induced the Netherlands to initiate a conference with Indonesia which resolved on expediting Indonesia's decolonization.
  4. The Linggajati Conference became the basis of all conference between Indonesia and Netherlands, which resolved on Indonesia decolonization.
  5. The Linggajati Conference was ratified and gratified by Indonesia and the Netherlands due to President Soekarno's and vice President Hatta's prudent resolutions with the Netherlands delegation led by Prof. Dr. Ir. W. Schermerhorn.

 

Linggajati Conference Personages

Indonesia's Delegation:
1. Sutan Sjahrir
2. Mr. Soesanto Tirtoprojo
3. Dr. A.K. Gani
4. Mr. Muhammad Roem
5. Dr. J. Leimena
6. Dr. Soedarsono
7. Mr. Amir Sjarifuddin
8. Mr. Ali Budiardjo

The Netherlands' Delegation:
1. Prof. Ir. Schermerhorn
2. Mr. M.J.M. Van Poll
3. Dr. F. De Boer
4. P. Sanders

Mediator:
Lord Killearn (British)

VI. Post Conference

During the Netherlands Second Military Aggression to the Round Table Conference (December 1948 – January 1950), the Dutch army occupiedthe Linggajati Conference Building as his head quarters. The low sense of awareness to preserve the structure had set the major damage on the historical building. Moreover, it was exacerbated when the Linggajati Conference historical building was converted into a Linggajati Public Elementary School until 1975.

After Bung Hata's and Mrs. Poppy Sjahrir's visit to the Linggajati Conference building in 1975 , it received better attention from the government and should be renovated by Pertamina. Unfortunately, the renovation program was merely to revamp the Linggajati Public Elementary School. The Department of Education and Culture was entrusted with the building to be refurbished and memorialized as the Linggajati Conference Museum.

VII. Presidential Visit

On Sunday, August 28, 2005, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and First Lady Ani Yudhoyono  accompanied by Chairman of the House of the Representative Agung Laksono, several Ministers, and dignitaries visited the Linggajati Conference Museum. The President stated that Linggajati Museum was not just a historic site where the conference between Indonesia and the Netherlands was signed: "I'm asking to all of us to look after ,maintain, and extend the historical values of this historic place, and in God's willing, Linggajati will be known as a historical resort. Let's hope this resort would bring wellbeing and blessing to the residents in Linggajati and Kuningan, and to the people of Indonesia in general."

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has been the first President of Indonesia who paid a presidential visit to the Linggajati Museum since the commencement of the Linggajati conference in 1946.

VIII. Order Buildings Related to the Linggajati Conference

Aside from the premises in Linggajati which is now memorialized as the Linggajati Museum, some other structures were utilized in the Linggajati Conference process, including:

  1. Sjahriri Building
    This building was the residence of the Chairman of the Indonesian Delegation, Prime Minister Sutan Sjahrir, where part of the Linggajati Conference meeting were conducted.
  2. The Netherlands Delegations Guest House.
  3. The dwelling which was converted into a place where all the delegates had their meals.
    During the Linggajati Conference process, this dwelling served as a kitchen and place to eat for the delegates, since in the main building there was not enough space for other purpose aside the meetings.
  4. The Kuningan Regent Office
    The House was being used as the place to stay for President Soekarno and vice President Moh. Hatta during the Linggajati Conference process. The house was as well used by President Soekarno to hold dinner in honor of both delegations, and become the witness of the resolution on clause 2 in the Linggajati Conference.