Although all of the preceding inputs have a strong dose of truth in their preambles, sorry, lads, I think you're barking up the wrong tree in your conclusions. The only question on the table is did it happen--and from Tom's inputs, the signal in question is authentic. The signal indicates such overtures were being made, NOT they were about to be made. To put the question differently, were the Japanese talking and were the Dutch listening? As with all of you, I have no info to confirm or deny, but I think it hardly beyond possbility to conclude that such talks did occur, although likely not at the highest levels. The Netherlands homeland had been conquered and the Dutch Indies' position was at best tenuous. It would appear from Melmoth's first cynical....but highly realistic....response that such talks were hardly beyond reason. Just to remind, the Japanese desired the riches available in the East Indies, and they had to sweep away anyone standing in their way: take arms at once against Britain and America as the tough guys guarding the door, but once inside, take a somewhat different tact with the smart guys hoarding the treasure and controlling its distribution, with whom (they hoped) they could deal. One important thing in such talks is psyching the other guys out, including some scare tactics: the initial air raids on north Borneo, whose casualties were mainly Chinese and thus expendable in both Japanese and Dutch eyes, but implicit was the warning: THIS could happen to you....and your families.
Melmoth, thanks for correcting the date of van Mook's first book as 1944, but you neglected to point out that as a wartime publication, it would have cast the author in a positive light and contained not a little propaganda and bee-ess. By necessity, it would have been very light indeed on secrets and sensitive information, with the whole truth and nothing but the truth among the first casualties. Anything about these alleged prewar negotiations would decidedly have NOT been part of the text. [And by the way, from an Australian perspective, Japanese atrocities were not just a time phase, but a continuing reality throughout the war.]
I suppose I believe that such talks actually happened has to do with a couple of things that Nelson has said, more than once, in this forum: (a) That the Allies perceived the Dutch Indies, if not immediately, but very soon, as just another defencive waystop in the Malay Barrier. Clearly, the Dutch, many of whom had been born in the Indies, did not share that perception, but looked to the Indies, particularly Java, as the be-all and end-all. (b) Although the relationship was close between the Brits and the Dutch, the basis of a long alliance following the Anglo-Dutch naval wars of a very long time before, at the highest levels was not particularly close between the NEI and US governments. In fact, the Dutch in the Indies wished the appearance of keeping the Yanks at arm's length, as America was clearly the bete noire of Nippon. With local government officials much closer spatially to the Philippines, that was another matter, because they saw their salvation with the Americans, so best keep them happy by selling their cruisers a bunkerload of oil every now and again. And as Melmoth so rightly points out, it would have been the private oil companies selling the black gold, at least until the government appropriated these assets for the duration.
Not to ramble on, but...
1. Yes, the Japanese military had their firm hand on the reins, but they certainly advised senior civil officers of their impending schedule of conquest, and might have muttered something like, "If you think that approaching the Dutch in the interim, in ANY chance of getting their oil and petrol intact, go for it."
2. Yes, that schedule of conquest, with a few minor modifications here and there, carried on regardless, and these talks had no effect on things in either the long or short runs.
3. As Melmoth has pointed out more than once, the Dutch had a good intelligence service, and with all likelihood trusted the Japanese and their overtures with a very large grain of NaCl. That does not rule out mid-level civil officers listening and reporting back to Batavia or Bandoeng.
It does seem, at least to me, from both the signal in question and the delay in the Japanese declaration of war that the Japanese talked and the Dutch, at least at some level, listened. In regard to those few aggressive acts from the air, what during that period was the IJN doing about, and to, Dutch vessels on the high seas and in the area offshore of the NEI?
To nearly end with a couple of things Tom just posted:
> And while the Japanese weren't about to stop their invasion to negotiate, it never hurts to have some brute force in play to help motivate your opponent to talk. >
I couldn't agree more.
> In any event though, I don't think the proposal ever made it to the Dutch in any form. >
I couldn't agree less. After all, you yourself presently black and white documentation that it did. That it fell on relatively deaf ears, as suggested above, is something else again. You asked the very good question, but now you are answering it with virtually no proof.
Back to my original question if postwar authors revealed this business, I would point out that such an ultra-sensitive issue would have remained ultra-secret for years after the war's end.