Bintang Jasa Utama Medal

Speech by H.E. Mr. Hassan Wirajuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia on the Occasion of the Decoration of Bintang Jasa Utama Medal for the Late General Andrew McNaughton to His Grandson, Mr. Thomas McDougall

Gedung Pancasila, Jakarta, 01 Juli 2004

Minister Bill Graham,
Mr. Thomas McDougall,
Distinguished guests,

We are gathered here today to honor a prominent Canadian statesman, the late General Andrew George Latta McNaughton, who has contributed much for the cause of Indonesia’s struggle for independence. We are grateful that his grandson, Mr. Thomas McDougall. can be with us today in Jakarta in his late grandfather’s steed to receive this Bintang Jasa Utama Medal. Bintang Jasa Utama is the Highest medal of honour in its class, to be awarded to Indonesians and foreign citizens who have given extraordinary contribution to the Republic of Indonesia.

General “Andy” McNaughton took the seat of the President of the UN Security Council at a time when the Council was still at its infancy, at a time of considerable tension in post-War international affairs, and, more importantly for us, at a time when the indonesian people was engaged in a hard diplomatic, political and military struggle for independence. 

The Indonesian people had Proclaimed our Independence on August 17th 1945, but our young nation still faced an uphill battle to secure a transfer of power from The Netherlands, to gain comprehensive international recognition, and to overcome a difficult political military confrontation with The Hague. This struggle not only set on fire our nation’s great revolutionary spirit, it also served as the formative years of Indonesia’s independent and active foreign policy which continues to be our guiding principles today.

It was against this backdrop that General McNaughton, as President of the UN Security Council, contributed to the cause of our independence. With superb diplomatic skill, and working closely with one of Indonesia’s best diplomat Ambassador L.N. Palar at the UN Headquarters in New York City, General McNaughton managed to get the Dutch to cease its attacks against Indonesian territories, broke through a diplomatic deadlock and ushered a series of critical UN Security Council Resolutions in 1948 and 1949 which set in motion a peace process leading to the diplomatic settlement between Indonesia and The Netherlands. 

And as a result of General McNaughton’s tireless efforts, on December 27th 1949, The Netherlands formally recognized Indonesia’s status as a sovereign, independent nation with its rightful place in the community of nations.

It was one of the finest hours of Indonesia’s diplomacy. And it was a tremendous diplomatic achievement for General McNaughton, and the Indonesian nation is forever grateful to him.

It is therefore with great pleasure for me, on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, to bestow the Bintang Jasa Utama Medal to General Andrew McNaughton, to be received by Mr. Thomas McDougall. General McNaughton has secured a precious place in Indonesia’s history. While he is no longer with us, he lives on in our collective memory as an honourahie statesman who dedicated his life for peace and freedom.

In so doing, General McNaughton also planted the seeds of friendship between the two nations. It is the task for today’s and future generations to carry on with his work for peace and freedom, and to work even harder to cultivate the bonds of friendship between Canada and Indonesia.

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