Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ambassador von Royen in Xiamen!

Bill Brown .. Xiamen University

Last week, I was very honored to spend two days guiding a team of Dutch tourists around Gulangyu and Xiamen, and one of them was the well-known former Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia, Jan Herman von Royen (accompanied by his wife Caroline). Von Royen was most instrumental in engineering the agreements that gave birth to Indonesian Independence. Below is an article about him.

By the way, von Royen loved Xiamen, but had never heard of it. But when he bought a copy of my book Discover Gulangyu and asked me to sign it, he was shocked to learn that Xiamen was the same as Amoy! Western history books are full of stories about exotic Amoy; there is nothing in Western history about Xiamen. Chinese complain that "Amoy" is a foreign name, but in fact, it is what almost all Overseas Chinese call Xiamen. So if we are to attract the attention of the world, we should use the name Amoy, as well as Xiamen. [Click here for "Why Amoy?"]
Enjoy Amoy!

Source is Here
A few hours before dawn, a bleary-eyed night porter at The Hague's stuffy Hotel des Indes (named for The Netherlands' once vast and profitable colonies) opened the heavy oaken door for a weary guest, who went promptly to his room, and to sleep. He was slim, patient Jan Herman van Royen, able career diplomat and chief Dutch troubleshooter at The Hague Round Table Conference, which had been called to settle the differences between Indonesia and The Netherlands (TIME, Sept. 5). Van Royen had just wound up a crucial committee meeting which seemed to assure the conference's success. The way was clear for the birth of a new nation.

Nationalists in Indonesia sputtered that they did not like the agreement which Van Royen and the Indonesian representatives had worked out. Nevertheless, after four years of bitter fighting and endless negotiations, it looked as though Indonesia would get the freedom it fiercely wanted, and yet would retain some of the economic ties with The Netherlands which are necessary for the survival of both countries.

During its ten weary weeks, The Hague conference had often seemed close to failure. The Indonesians had wanted as much independence as possible, the Dutch had wanted to retain as much sovereignty as possible. But eventually the Dutch and the Indonesian delegates grew to trust and understand each other. One weekend motor trip to Namur, in Belgium, helped to break the ice; Indonesia's Premier Mohammed Hatta and the Dutch Minister for Overseas Territories, Johan van Maarseveen, reached some important decisions chatting in their car. Explained Van Royen: "It doesn't pay to try to be too clever. The only way to gain confidence is to treat people as normal equals. The fortunate thing is that our interests run parallel. They can't do without us, nor we without them."

One of the thorniest problems of the conference was the public debt incurred by the Dutch administration in Indonesia, which the new republic would have to take over. The Dutch had originally set the figure at 6.3 billion guilders ($1.7 billion), but the U.N. Commission on Indonesia, which hovered anxiously over The Hague talks, helped persuade the Dutch to scale down their demands to 4.3 billion ($1.1 billion). Another tough nut was the future of New Guinea, a large part of which is still held by Dutch troops. Under the compromise which Van Royen had engineered, both parties agreed to defer a decision on New Guinea for a year.

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