NICA, Netherlands Indies Civil Administration

On 3 April 1944 the Netherlands Indies Civil Administration (NICA) was founded in Australia. The organisation was responsible for civil administration and judicial affairs in the parts of the Netherlands East Indies liberated from the Japanese. The NICA was intended to restore Dutch authority in those areas prior to their transfer to Dutch government control, and acted as the liaison between the government of the Netherlands East Indies and the Allied Supreme Commander of the South West Pacific Area (SWPA). NICA personnel were military or under military authority, and wore uniforms. In early 1944 Lieutenant-Governor General H.J. van Mook and General Douglas MacArthur, SWPA's Supreme Commander, agreed that the American forces in the liberated areas would be utilised for NICA's administrative tasks, but due to political conflicts with the American State Department - which wanted the Netherlands to commit to a date for the colony's independence or full autonomy - it took until 10 December 1944 for the parties to sign the Van Mook-MacArthur Civil Affairs Agreement.
In April 1944 the first NICA detachments landed at Hollandia in New Guinea. Their commander was Colonel C. Giebel, Staff Officer NICA (SONICA). Each detachment was commanded by a Commanding Officer NICA (CONICA), who was in charge of local government. As the state of siege declared when the Germans invaded the Netherlands on 10 May 1940 was still in effect, the CONICA was authorised to execute emergency measures and to carry out the orders of the Military Authority. By the time Japan surrendered, NICA units had only landed in New Guinea (Hollandia, Biak, Numfur and Manokwari), the Moluccas (Morotai) and Borneo (Tarakan and Balikpapan).
American logistical support for NICA, including the 250 NICA detachments scheduled to land in Java, suddenly stopped on 15 August 1945, when it was announced that the entire Netherlands East Indies would be transferred from the South West Pacific Area (SWPA) to the South East Asia Command (SEAC). The liberation of Sumatra, Java, Bali and Lombok was now the responsibility of the British. The Australians were assigned to the re-occupation of Borneo, Celebes, the Moluccas and the other islands in the eastern East Indies. Dutch authorities therefore drew up a new Civil Affairs Agreement with the British on 24 August. The first NICA representatives arrived in Batavia in September 1945. The Indonesians reacted very negatively to the arrival of NICA (and to the name ‘Netherlands Indies' in general), so in January 1946 the organisation was re-named AMACAB (Allied Military Administration-Civil Affairs Branch), even though it was still composed entirely of officials from the Netherlands East Indies.

Literature

Elly Touwen-Bouwsma en Petra Groen, Tussen Banzai en Bersiap. De afwikkeling van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Nederlands-Indië (Den Haag, 1996)
G.C. Zijlmans, Eindstrijd en ondergang van de Indische bestuursdienst. Het corps binnenlands bestuur op Java 1945-1950 (Amsterdam, 1985)

Information a.o. in:

Access Number 2.22.21, inv.no. 182, 228, 518, 570, 601, 642, 668, 676, 679, 738 and 762,
Access Number 2.05.80, inv. no. 314