The Priceless Work of Soekarno for The land of Cendrawasih

Papua is a beautiful land in the eastern part of Indonesia. Their many traditions and culture, the beautiful scenery, and its abundant natural resources is some of the many characters of Papua. At the time, Papua was still colonized by the Netherlands, and stills need a long struggle and bloodshed from the Indonesian freedom fighters to take back Papua. This is the story of one of our finest patriots to liberate Papua, as a symbol of his love for this land of Cendrawasih.

At that time, the Netherlands denied the Round Table Conference (KMB) and refused to took their claim off Papua. One year after the recognition of Indonesia’s sovereignty in 27 December 1949, the government of Indonesia repeatedly asked the Dutch to negotiate the accession of territories that are still under Netherlands. However, Netherlands always avoided the negotiation. They obviously had the intention to deny their own words and wanted to keep Papua as a part of their territory.

Diplomacy efforts through United Nations (UN) were carried out in 1954. Consistently and without fail, the Government of Indonesia brought the issues of Papua to the General Assembly of The United Nations. However, even the UN couldn’t help on finalizing a resolution. The reason was, the resolution that was proposed by 21 countries, including Indonesia, could not meet the 2/3 ballot requirement. Indonesia’s diplomacy seemed to fail to shift the opinions of countries that supported Netherlands. The western countries even have stronger standing on their support to Netherlands, as the tensity of Cold War between Western Bloc and Eastern Bloc intensified. Hence, it strengthened the unwillingness of Netherlands to hand over Papua to Indonesia. They even refused to have the discussion. Whereas for Indonesia, the Papua liberation is a national demand, fully encouraged and supported by the whole nation, from all political parties, and from all groups. This demand is in line with the Preamble of Indonesian Constitution of 1945, “To have the government of Indonesia with all of its aspects of unity”and Papua is indeed a part of Indonesia. Hence, throughout the struggle for unifying Papua with Indonesia, in every cabinet change in the Indonesian government, this goal had never changed.

In 17 August of 1960, the Government of Indonesia officially cut the diplomatic relations with the government of Netherlands. Indonesia considered Netherlands to have no good intention to obey the KMB agreement who was signed by both parties. Indonesia’s patience was being tested. Diplomacy and amicable approach was not effective. In September 1960, President Soekarno made a speech in UN General Assembly. In his speech entitled “Re-Establishing The World”, President Soekarno mentioned that Papua’s issue is an unfinished imperialism world problem. Moreover, Soekarno expressed his fury: “We have tried to resolve the issue of Papua. We have tried with all our might, never without patience and tolerance. We are always full of hopes. We have also tried bilateral discussions. Those hopes are gone, patience vanished, even toleration has its limit. All of those are gone now and Netherlands does not leave us any choice but for us to harden our stance.”

Soekarno with Papuan leaders (1963). Via

Indonesia was forced to carried out direct confrontation in Papua. This serious effort made USA started to think over its stance in Papua. One of their diplomats even initiated a suggestion on the succession of Papua to Indonesia in two years after Papua went through UN mandate and People’s Referendum (PEPERA). Nevertheless, the Netherlands was still adamant to shift their stance and wouldn’t take their claim off Papua. Moreover, Netherlands even started a Puppet State in Papua. Soekarno then released a policy of amicable fight with Trikora (Three People’s Commands) led by Major General Suharto (which then became the President of Indonesia), consisting of :

  1. Stop the Papuan Puppet State of Netherlands.
  2. Raise The red and white flag of Indonesia.
  3. Prepare general mobilization to maintain the unity of Indonesia

The Indonesian troops landed on Papua and facilitated PEPERA, in March to August 1969. In 19 November 1969, UN General Assembly officially legitimized Papua as a part of Indonesia. Then in 1 May of 1963, Papua was returned to Indonesia through UN (UNTEA).

Hard struggles after hard struggles were done for the return of Papua to Indonesia. The blood of our heroes were shed for our land of Cendrawasih, Papua. Their only hope is for the young generation to maintain the integrity of our nation, as a respect for our heroes, the father of Indonesia’s independence, Ir. Soekarno, and Papua.


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