The Dutch Political Conflict with the Republic of Indonesia, 1945-1949. Part 2-2: Papers of A. J. Vleer (1946-1955): Documents concerning his tenure as Commissioner of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South-Sumatra & the economy of Indonesia, 1950-1955
The Dutch Political Conflict with the Republic of Indonesia, 1945-1949 Part 2-2: Papers of A. J. Vleer (1946-1955): Documents concerning his tenure as Commissioner of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South-Sumatra & the economy of Indonesia, 1950-1955
Short biography Auke Johannes Vleer was born in Friesland in 1911. After finishing his secondary education he left for the Netherlands Indies in 1930 to follow with success a two-year training course in colonial administration (
bestuursschool). His first assignments were in the residencies of Aceh and Riau from 1932 to 1936. In October 1936 he returned to the Netherlands and studied Indology at the University of Leiden, specializing in Indonesian law (
Indisch recht), obtaining his degree in 1940 (he would later also earn a degree in Dutch law). The outbreak of war in Europe and the German occupation of the Netherlands prevented him from resuming his career in the colony. During the war he worked for the Dutch Red Cross. At war’s end he was among the first group of colonial civil servants to be dispatched to the Indies under the authority of the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) to restore order. Posted to Medan on Sumatra’s East Coast he served as liaison officer with the British troops stationed there to supervise the Japanese surrender. In 1946 he was appointed head of the local administration in Banka and Billiton where he first became involved in Dutch attempts to set up a federal United States of Indonesia (see below). In 1948-1949 Vleer assumed the role of secretary at the Federal Conferences (FC) held at Bandung and then that of secretary-general of the Assembly for Federal Consultation (
Bijeenkomst voor federale overleg, BFO). In this capacity he took part in the Round Table Conference held in The Hague from August to November 1949 that finally resulted in the transfer of sovereignty on 27 December 1949.
Work in Sumatra In 1950 Vleer accepted a position as Commissioner for the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South-Sumatra with Palembang as base until growing political tensions led him to return to the Netherlands in 1956. While in Indonesia he had also taught law and sociology at universities in Jakarta and Palembang. Back in the Netherlands he played a role in setting up a new technical college (now university) in Eindhoven and ended his public career as mayor of Enschede from 1965 to 1977. He died in 1981.
Part 2.2 Documents concerning his tenure as Commissioner of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South-Sumatra, and the economy of Indonesia, 1950-1955 Vleer’s career spanned the divide represented by the transfer of sovereignty of December 1949 and he continued working in independent Indonesia for another six years in South-Sumatra, parts of which had formed one of the federal states from September 1948. The history of these early years of the Republic is beginning to attract more research attention, but sources have been generally less available than for the preceding period. For this reason this section of Vleer’s archive (inventory nos. 203-234) has also been selected for micropublication. It includes
• incoming and outgoing correspondence, memos and reports on the general and political-social situation in South-Sumatra;
• outgoing monthly economic reports compiled by Vleer on South-Sumatra;
• confidential “economische notities” published in stencil by the Bureau for Research and Documentation of the High Commission on the economic situation in Indonesia, 1950-1955; and others