New Guinea Council
Concerning the use of the right to self-determination.
February 16, 1962
THE NEW GUINEA COUNCIL,
Invited by the Netherlands Government through the State Secretary of Home Affairs on the
occasion of the inaugural meeting of the Council on April 5, 1961, to inform the Government of
Netherlands New Guinea of its views of the manner in which the right to self-determination of the
people of this Territory could be effected, as well as of the question of the desirability of setting a
date for this purpose, taking into consideration the actual consequences thereof for the economic,
social and cultural building-up of the country,
Considers its position with regard to the concomitant problems as follows:
The Papuan people as an ethnological unit has the right to decide its own fate in pursuance
of item 2 of the decolonisation resolution 1514 (XV), where it says that:
"All people have the right to self-determination; by virtue of that right they freely determine their
political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development".
The fact that the western part of the island of New Guinea was brought under the central
administration of the former Netherlands Indies Government can hardly be adduced in evidence
that the Papuan inhabitants of the western half of the island have consequently become
The Netherlands has since December 27, 1949 administered Netherlands New Guinea in
conformity with the provisions of the U.N. Charter. Accordingly, the annual representative
reports referred to in Article 73e of the Charter have not only been submitted by the Netherlands,
but have also been accepted as such by the United Nations on the strength of the pertinent
resolution of the General Assembly no. 448 (V), dated December 12, 1950.
The people of West Papua has therefore a right to the continuation of its development to self-
government, whereas the Netherlands as a member of the United Nations Organisation is, on the
one hand, bound to promote this development to the best of its ability pursuant to Article 73e of
the U.N. Charter, and, on the other hand, has a right to the support of the United Nations
Organisation in fulfilling this obligation.
The Indonesian claim that the right to self-determination of the people of West Papua was
brought into effect by the Proclamation of the Indonesian Republic on August 17, 1945, is
rejected. Firstly, the people of West Papua were not represented at the issuance of the
proclamation; secondly, the proclamation took place during the Japanese occupation of
Indonesia at a time when New Guinea had already been liberated by the Allies.
It is not the real or fictitious unity of a people, but the voluntary combination of all component
parts, on which a modern state should be based. And it is in this special sense that the Council
wants to consider the right to self-determination of the people of West Papua. Whether or not
West Papua by virtue of the right to self-determination will enter into a voluntary association of
interests with another country, and if so, with what country, will have to be decided in due
course by the West Papuan people itself. The essential point at present is that the right to decide
on the matter in freedom be given to this people.
As set out in item 6 of the Decolonisation Resolution of the United Nations No. 1514 (XV),
an insufficient economic or social development of the population should in itself not justify the
prevention of the right to self-determination from being exercised.
On the other hand, there are certain minimum requirements which the development of a people
must meet in order to guarantee a purposeful and justified decision. Areas not yet under control
should be brought under government control as soon as possible, while the introduction of
primary education and illiteracy eradication courses should keep pace with the opening-up
process. As the progress of a country is highly dependent on the educational system applied,
measures for the reinforcement as well as the extension of primary education, which are the
necessary basis for further education and the general condition to increase the present level of
development, are insisted upon with a view to accelerating the development of New Guinea.
In this connection it is also urged, in addition to the possibilities of education that are available to
students from West Papua in the Netherlands, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, in Fiji
and the other Pacific Islands, to make use of Resolution No. 1540 (XV) concerning the
possibilities for study and training offered by the member countries to the inhabitants of non-
The process of "papuaisation", for which a ten year plan has been drawn up, should be
accelerated as much as possible and by all available means. In this connection it will be
necessary to forego to some extent the current conditions of appointment consisting of a
university training followed by many years of experience, while for a number of political
appointments preference will have to be given to those who have distinguished themselves by
such qualities of character as wisdom, integrity and resoluteness, and by a political backing.
Decentralisation and democratisation should be developed with unflagging zeal, both for reasons
of principle and in order to give as many individuals as possible some idea of the problems of
As no self-governing territory can prosper without a sound economic basis, much activity should
also be displayed in this respect, with a view to operating the national resources of the country.
More than half of the budget should, in principle, be financed from the national means or from
unconditional financial support.
For the purpose of acquainting themselves with the methods used in the decolonisation
process elsewhere and for a better understanding of and more goodwill for West Papua among
other nations, missions composed of New Guinea Council Members and prominent Papuans
should without delay be sent abroad, especially to the Afro-Asian countries, including Indonesia.
Similarly missions from other countries could be invited for a better acquaintance of West
The consideration mentioned above fill such an extensive programme that a justified
estimate of the time involved cannot be given. However, in the opinion of the New Guinea
Council, 1970 is the deadline for the realisation of the right to self-determination of the people of
The time when this right can be exercised as well as the concomitant technical problems, should
be reviewed by the New Guinea Council every two years.
As to the administration of West Papua, which point has frequently been discussed at the
United Nations meetings, the Council considers its position with regard to this question as
From an international point of view it would seem to be immaterial by whom West Papua is
administered until this country can exercise its right to self-determination, as long as its people is
guaranteed the possibility of making a decision in freedom.
Yet there are objections to certain forms of administration:
a. Administration by Indonesia is rejected, because in the New Guinea issue Indonesia is the
claiming party and therefore is not neutral. Consequently Indonesia will not enable the
Papuan people to exercise its right to self-determination in freedom.
b. In practice, any administration changing the current government will inevitably slow down
the present rate of development.
c. Although it is not required for international reasons, the desire for an international
acknowledgement of the right to self-determination might result in a certain form of
internationalisation, but especially in view of the drawback sewt out under b above,
preference is given to administration by the Netherlands rather than another Power or direct
by the United Nations.
d. At any rate, the Council considers it of utmost importance, as was expressed in its motion of
January 22, 1962, that the United Nations send a commission to West Papua at the shortest
possible notice that it may learn direct of the views and wishes of the Papuan people in this
Resolved at a public meeting in Hollandia
on February 16, 1962.
(sgd.) J.H.F. Sollewijn Gelpke
J.W. Trouw, LL.M.
Clerk of the Council
Manifesto First Papuan Peoples' Congress, October 19, 1961
We, the undersigned, residents of the western part of Papua, representing various groups, tribes and
religious denominations, knowing that we are united as a people and a nation,
DO HEREBY DECLARE
To all our fellow countrymen that we,
in pursuance of Article 73a and b of the Charter of the United Nations;
on the strength of the declaration of principle regarding the independence of non-self-
governing territories and peoples, as laid down in the resolution No. 1514 (XV) adopted by
the General Assembly of the United Nations at its Fifteenth Meeting from September 20 to
December 20 1960;
by virtue of the inviolable right we, inhabitants of the western part of Papua, have to our
in accordance with the ardent desire and the yearning of our people for our own
independence, through the National Committee and our parliament, the New Guinea
Council, insist with the Government of Netherlands New Guinea and the Netherlands
Government that as of November 1, 1961,
a) our flag be hoisted beside the Netherlands flag;
b) our national anthem ("Hai Tanahku Papua") be sung and played in addition to the Netherlands
c) our country bear the name of Papua Barat (West Papua), and
d) our people be called: the Papuan people.
In view of the foregoing, we, Papuans, demand our own position, equal to that of the free nations
and in the ranks of these nations, we, Papuans, wish to live in peace and to contribute to the
maintenance of world peace.
Through this manifesto we summon all inhabitants who love this country and its people to rally
round this manifesto and to uphold it, as it is the sole basis for the freedom of the Papuan people.
Hollandia, October 19, 1961.
H. Mori Muzendi