Tests of Trust and Resolve
The Indonesians looked to the United States for help because it possessed incontestable strength in the region and a political philosophy favorable to their cause. In the process, Americans would gain new perspectives of Dutch colonialism and Indonesian nationalism, and Indonesians would begin to understand the constraints on US policy. The US view of Indonesia at the beginning of 1946 was filtered through Europe. The British at one time or another found themselves suspected by the Indonesians of reinstalling the Dutch and by the Dutch of wishing to add Indonesia to the British Empire. The Martin Behrman incident undermined the Dutch argument that Indonesian socialists threatened to deprive Western civilization of the archipelago’s valuable resources and revived US doubts concerning the Netherlands’ own commitment to open trade. Both the Dutch and the Indonesians could legitimately charge bad faith on the part of the other because of their different interpretations of the Linggadjati Agreement and their lack of mutual trust.