The Soetardjo Petition (Indonesian: Petisi Soetardjo) was a motion of the Volksraad of the Dutch East Indies, instigated by the member Soetardjo Kartohadikusumo, which was submitted as a petition to Queen Wilhelmina and the Estates General of the Netherlands asking for more autonomy.[1][2][3]

Soetardjo Petition
Presented15 July 1936
Author(s)Soetardjo Kartohadikusumo
PurposeTo call for a conference to discuss autonomy and self-governance for the Dutch East Indies within the limits of the Dutch constitutional framework[citation needed]

Background edit

In 1918, the Dutch colonial government established the Volksraad (People's Council), an advisory body, and by 1931 half of the members were Indonesian. Following repression of nationalists in the 1930s, it became the main forum for "cooperating" Indonesians, whose who were prepared to participate in Dutch established bodies, to express their opinions. In 1935, the main nationalist parties were grouped together under the National Faction led by Mohammad Husni Thamrin.[4][5]

Soetardjo Kartohadikusumo, president of the Native Civil Servants Association, was not a member of the National Faction. He became more nationalist in outlook partly as a result of resentment over the low standing of Indonesian civil servants relative to Dutch administrators, who he saw as being responsible for the natural group to bring about the advancement of the country. He also felt it was his duty to become am intermediary between the government and the people. As his dissatisfaction with the Dutch grew, he concluded that more autonomy for the East Indies was the best way forward.[6]

The petition edit

The document asked for a round table conference to be organized with representatives from the Indies and the Netherlands to discuss the desire of Indonesians, within a period of ten years, to be autonomous under Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution as part of a Dutch commonwealth under the Dutch Crown.[1][2][3][7]

The petition had six signatories:[1][8]

In mid-1936, the petition was approved by the Volksraad by 26 votes to 20, with 15 abstention - but only after the removal of the ten-year timetable. Six Indonesians voted against it (and eight abstained), but because eight Europeans supported it, the petition was approved.[9][10]

On November 16, 1938, the petition was rejected by Netherlands by royal decree for a number of reasons:[11]

  • It was in contradiction to Article 1 of the Dutch Constitution
  • Moves were already underway to increase local involvement in internal policy, and these must be given time to take effect and develop
  • Acknowledgement of growing dissent over Dutch rule "could be seen as a sign of weakness"

Further reading edit

  • Soerjono and Ben Anderson (1980) On Musso's Return Indonesia, Vol. 29, (April 1980), pp. 59–90
  • Kartohadikusumo, Setiadi, 1990 Soetardjo : pembuat "petisi Soetardjo" dan perjuangannya Setiadi Kartohadikusumo Pustaka Sinar Harapan, Jakarta ISBN 979-416-090-3

Notes edit

  1. ^ a b c Klinken 2003.
  2. ^ a b Gouda 2008.
  3. ^ a b Foray 2012.
  4. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, pp. 81, 84.
  5. ^ Abeyasekere 1976, p. 2.
  6. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, pp. 86–87.
  7. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, p. 82.
  8. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, p. 84.
  9. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, pp. 91–93.
  10. ^ Kahin 1952, p. 95.
  11. ^ Abeyasekere 1973, p. 104.

References edit