Japan served as an example for the growing number of nationalists in the Dutch East Indies. In order to pacify this group, the Dutch colonial authorities instituted village councils to which Indonesians could be elected, and in 1918 even a national parliament, but the Dutch governor-general could annul its decisions. Many Dutch politicians did not take the unilateral declaration of independence of August 1945 after the ending of the Japanese occupation seriously. Because of this stubbornness, a decolonization war raged for four years. Due to pressures from Washington the Dutch government agreed to transfer the sovereignty to the nationalists in 1949 as the Americans threatened to cut off Marshall aid to the Netherlands. The Dutch part of New Guinea was excluded from the transfer, but in 1963 again with American mediation the last remaining part of the Dutch colonial empire in Asia was also transferred to Indonesian rule.