Report by Raden Mas Sosrokartono to Henri Allizé, French envoy to The Hague, on Der Neue Orient, ca. 1917-1918



Plan written by the Indonesian journalist, translator and writer Raden Mas Sosrokartono to counter German imperial strategies in Asia, in particular the German journal Der Neue Orient. Armed with this plan, Sosrokartono offered his services to Allizé, French envoy to The Hague in 1917. To read the original report, please click on the sources above.


The alliance between German officials and Indian, Indonesian, Egyptian, Algerian, Tunisian, and Persian revolutionaries provoked a rapprochement between Allied officials and anti-revolutionary colonials. The latter was founded on a shared desire to preserve relations between colony and motherland. The multilingual, Indonesian journalist Raden Mas Sosrokartono was one such anti-revolutionary proponent. He defended a politically, economically, and culturally emancipated Dutch East Indies within the borders of the Dutch empire. In this report of 1917, Sosrokartono offered assistance to the French envoy Henri Allizé to combat German activities in Asia. He was particularly alarmed by the German journal Der Neue Orient, in which anti-colonial revolutionaries and pan-Islamists received a platform to discuss their nations' futures. According to Sosrokartono, Indonesian students living in the Netherlands had also received the journal. As this German propaganda could, and did, affect lingering nationalist feelings in the Dutch East Indies, Sosrokartono proposed that Allizé develop initiatives that would strengthen both political, economic, and cultural relations between Dutch and Indonesian intellectuals. He proposed, among other things, to create a political-cultural journal Tusschenpersoon [The intermediary] to stimulate intercultural exchanges between Dutch and Indonesian intellectuals. Sosrokartono's proposal to Allizé was definitely ideologically motivated, yet fiscal concerns were probably also at stake, as he was always in financial need. He also worked for another allied power, translating articles on Russian culture and war politics for Dutch and American newspapers. It is not clear if the Allizé took up Sosrokartono on his offer but the proposed journal never appeared. Nevertheless, Sosrokartono's war activities illustrate the willingness of several Indonesian intellectuals to support not only the Dutch government but also allied powers in order to maintain their country under Dutch rule.