Language: English / Indonesian

Economic Diplomacy

Tan Goan-Po returned to Indonesia shortly after the Linggajati Agreement was signed on 15 November 1946. The Republic of Indonesia proclaimed independence on 17 August 1945, but had yet to gain international recognition. The Linggajati Agreement was part of a major four-year diplomatic offensive for international recognition led by Sutan Sjahrir, Indonesia's first Prime Minister. In order to achieve an economy independent of the Netherlands and thus establish the legitimacy of Indonesian statehood through economic diplomacy, the new republic emphasized trade relations with foreign countries. Tan joined and became the general manager of the Banking and Trading Company, an import-export establishment trading with Singapore and the United States in kapok and vanilla. In order to regain control of the former Netherlands East Indies, the colonial Dutch government attempted to strangle the Republic's economy by imposing trade restrictions through a naval blockade, and mounted the first Dutch Military Aggression on 21 July 1947. The Banking and Trading Company resorted to smuggling goods via Cirebon, one of the few harbors remaining in the Republic's control. The smuggling efforts generated funds to finance Indonesian delegates, led by Sutan Sjahrir, in the diplomatic struggle for international recognition and condemnation of the Dutch Military Aggression, at the United Nations Security Council in Lake Success, New York.