At the Malino Conference in 1946, Lieutenant Governor-General Huib van Mook (wearing the tropical helmet) was welcomed by the Prince of Gowa. At this conference, Van Mook (as the highest-ranking official in the Dutch East Indies) revealed his new plans for the gradual decolonization of the colony. The idea was that the Malino Conference would result in a federal union of states that could act as a counterweight to the Republic on Java and Sumatra, which the Netherlands had recognized. However, Sukarno and his associates saw this as an attempt to undermine the Republic and viewed the Malino states as Dutch puppet states. Federalist Indonesians, however, wanted independence to be a gradual process, with local autonomy and in consultation with the former colonial power. The Malino Conference thus proved the start of a bitter conflict about the constitutional form and political direction that Indonesia should take.
Lieutenant Governor-General H.J. van Mook is welcomed by the Prince of Gowa at the Malino Conference, northeast of Makassar. Sulawesi (Celebes), 1946. Photograph taken by Netherlands Indies Government Information Service (NIGIS). KITLV A1133, KITLV 157695.