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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Office of the Historian > Foreign Relations of the United States > Johnson Administration > Volume XXVI
Foreign Relations 1964-1968, Volume XXVI, Indonesia; Malaysia-Singapore; Philippines  
Released by the Office of the Historian

Documents 1-24


Sukarno's Confrontation With Malaysia --
January-November 1964

1. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Secretary of Defense McNamara/1/

Washington, January 2, 1964, 3:20 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Telephone Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a conversation between Johnson and McNamara, Tape F64.3, PNO 5, side A. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared by the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Indonesia.]

McNamara [hereafter McN]: I have got to go over to State in about thirty minutes on your Indonesia problem. [Here follows a further discussion on a possible buyout of Studebaker by Litton Industries.]

Johnson [hereafter LBJ]: All right. Now I talked to Dick Russell about that and he says that I ought to be impeached if I approve it [aid to Indonesia].

McN: On Indonesia?

LBJ: Yup. He is not that tough, but he is about that tough. And I told him that you felt the same way, and he said, well, I have been telling him about how right you were and why didn't I listen to you.

McN: (laughter.) That is what I'm going to tell State. I'm meeting with Dean Rusk in about a half an hour on this./2/

/2/No record of this meeting has been found.

LBJ: I just wish you tell them that you made your judgment independently, but I just feel that I ought to be impeached if I approve it. That's just how deeply I feel.

McN: There may be a middle ground that we can keep our employees on the payroll, and hold any important amount of aid. This is what I'm trying to find out.

LBJ: I made a speech on the Greek-Turkish policy in 1945 or 6 in which I said when you let a bully come in and start raiding you in your front yard, if you run, he'll come in and run you out of your bedroom the next night. I don't think we ought to encourage this guy [Sukarno] to do what he is doing there. And I think that any assistance just shows weakness on our part.

McN: I feel exactly that way.

LBJ: Well, just tell them that is exactly as I feel and you don't want to get these recommendations down here and get them slapped back in your face. And let's try and do something about it.

McN: I'll try and do that.


2. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia/1/

Washington, January 4, 1964, 2:55 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 INDON. Secret; Flash; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Cuthell, cleared by Harriman, and approved by Hilsman.

727. Your 1360./2/ Whole question of aid to GOI still under high-level review and guidance to you not likely for several days. FYI. Latest Indonesian actions such as Kalabakan raid, renewed statements GOI intention "crush" Malaysia, Sukarno and Saleh treatment of SVN Liberation Front make it questionable whether we will be able continue existing ongoing aid let alone increase it or take on new obligations. End FYI. In circumstances, you should make it clear that Congressional amendments will make it impossible to continue any aid at all if Indonesia continues to support insurgency activities in North Borneo.

/2/In telegram 1360 from Djakarta, January 4, Jones asked if he could "hold out some carrot" during a lunch with Sukarno in January. (Ibid.)

At same time, suggest you get across to Sukarno that correction this increasingly tense relationship almost entirely in his and GOI's hands. What is needed to let us help Indonesia is not only surface improvement in area relations but clear and lasting indication GOI intends live at peace with its neighbors. We do not challenge GOI's right try develop its economy apart from Malaysia, but cannot support Indo when it even indirectly engaged in military and political acts of aggressive nature. Without showing you aware Thanat's latest effort, you might push general idea described Deptel 724,/3/ and express hope that Sukarno's meeting with Macapagal will lead to reduction politico-military confrontation rather than its escalation.

/3/In telegram 724 to Djakarta, January 4, the Department of State informed the Embassy that the British Embassy had learned that Macapagal had agreed to Thanat's idea of sounding out Sukarno about a 1-month "truce in shooting and propaganda" by all involved in the dispute over Malaysia. (Ibid., POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA)

In short, Dept does not wish spoil friendly luncheon, but wishes Sukarno be aware that cumulative effect Indo actions in past months has been to bring US-Indo relations to point of crisis which only decent Indo conduct can restore./4/

/4/In telegram 1362 from Djakarta, January 4, Jones reported in detail a half hour frank and private conversation that he had with Sukarno during the lunch. Jones commented the "talk went nowhere except to put Sukarno clearly on notice." (Ibid., POL 15-1 INDON)



3. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Philippines/1/

Washington, January 6, 1964, 1:56 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Flash; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Hilsman; cleared by Harriman and the President; and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Djakarta.

928. Following is letter from President Johnson to be delivered today to President Macapagal:/2/

/2/In telegram 962 from Manila, January 7, Stevenson reported that he delivered the letter and had a "relaxed and useful" discussion with Macapagal about it. Macapagal replied to Johnson's letter on January 7. The text is in telegram 972 from Manila, January 8. (Ibid.)

"Dear President Macapagal:

I am delighted to learn that you plan to meet with President Sukarno in the next few days./3/ Your increasing role in working for the security of Southeast Asia can be of decisive importance in the dangerous situation between Indonesia and Malaysia.

/3/A preliminary assessment of the meetings between Sukarno and Macapagal is in telegram 1000 from Manila, January 11. (Ibid. POL INDON-PHIL)

As you know, the United States has from the start wanted Indonesia to become a free and prosperous nation, able to handle its own destinies without outside interference, and on good terms with its neighbors and the free world. We participated actively in helping Indonesia to gain its independence. We helped Indonesia reach an honorable settlement of the West Irian dispute. For many years we have provided a variety of forms of assistance to Indonesia, all designed to help the Indonesians reach their objectives as a free people controlling their own destiny. I believe that President Sukarno and the Indonesian people understand our good will toward them.

Yet I have been greatly concerned about the already serious tension between Indonesia and Malaysia, which now seems to be entering a new and more dangerous phase. In recent months the Indonesian Government has seemed to be embarked on a course which can only lead to a major, perhaps catastrophic, disruption of Southeast Asia. Indonesia has made no secret of the fact that it is training guerrillas to be introduced into Malaysian territory. Indonesia's most recent acceleration of military confrontation, as exemplified by the major guerrilla raid on Kalabakan and a new resurgence of verbal violence against both Malaysian Borneo and the Government of Malaysia, has reached a point at which open violence, with irretrievable consequences, seems possible. This mounting danger has resulted in extremely powerful resistance to continued United States support for Indonesia on the part of the American Congress and public. I very much doubt that, if Indonesia continues on its present course, we will have legislative freedom to do anything significant in helping the Indonesians develop the full potential of their great country.

It seems to me that your forthcoming meeting will take place at a moment of crisis in Southeast Asia. From our talk in Washington,/4/ I know that you are fully conscious of the importance of what happens in the next weeks. I remember well that your initiative turned the course of events away from disaster in similar circumstances last summer. The Manila meetings developed an Asian solution through the Maphilindo concept. I believe that what is needed now is another imaginative plan designed to halt all military confrontation immediately, and to lead the Maphilindo powers toward a new attempt at reconciliation through negotiation. In this task, which I know you plan to undertake, I wish to assure you of my fullest support and gratitude.

/4/See Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XXIII, Document 392.


Lyndon B. Johnson."



4. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 6, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Council Meetings, Vol. 1, Tab 2, 1/7/64, Assistance to Indonesia. Secret.

The Problem

In the light of Indonesia's active opposition to Malaysia, whether a Presidential Determination on aid to Indonesia should be signed.

The Situation

Although Sukarno will avoid open warfare, he continues his policy of "confrontation" aimed at "crushing" Malaysia and makes no secret of his intention to support a guerrilla insurrection in North Borneo.

At the same time, the Indonesians continue to explore with the Thais and the Filipinos the possibilities of negotiations to end the dispute, including a meeting planned for early January between Sukarno and Macapagal.

Up to the period of full "confrontation", the United States maintained a minimal aid program in Indonesia designed, first, to strengthen anti-Communist elements for the battle that will follow Sukarno's departure, and, second, to give us a foot-in-the-door influence on Sukarno's policies and for such benefits as the recent oil agreements.

With the advent of full "confrontation", however, we have strongly opposed Sukarno's policies--by warning the Indonesians that a direct attack on Malaysia would bring UN action with the US aligned against them; by halting negotiations for new PL 480/2/ programs and for new aid to support economic stabilization; by cutting all weapons and ammunition from existing programs; and by discontinuing the training of Indonesian officers in courses related to guerrilla activity.

/2/The Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act, enacted July 10, 1954. P.L. 480 provided for the donation of U.S. agricultural surplus to friendly governments; for text, see 68 Stat. 454.

A summary of action taken on aid is contained in the following table:



Requested for 1964


AID-technical assistance to civil groups, police and officers engaged in civic action, and malaria eradication




MAP-weapons, communications, training



$ 2.1

Loan support for stabilization










Our recommendation is against completely cutting off aid at this time. Doing so would not, in our judgment, change Sukarno's behavior, but would wreck the Thai and Filipino efforts at reconciliation. It would also trigger a violent reaction. In all probability, Sukarno would seize the $500 million American oil properties, encourage Communist hoodlums to burn our Embassy, and break diplomatic relations--all of which could well be followed by UN action involving the United States or even our obligations under the ANZUS treaty. These violent actions may eventually come in any case, since we continue to oppose Sukarno's "confrontation" policies. But we should see that it is Sukarno that gets the full onus.

What we do recommend is a policy of very tight control over all aspects of both aid and trade with Indonesia, with progressive cuts in our aid programs as the situation and Indonesian behavior warrant.

The primary disadvantage of this policy is the risk of domestic criticism of continuing aid and friendly relations with Sukarno at this time. In addition, any aid to Indonesia will produce continuing resentment from the United Kingdom and from Malaysia, and continuing pressure on us by them. It is also possible, though not probable, that even the very limited aid we propose may lead some Indonesians to believe that we are not firm in our opposition to their policy of confrontation.

The advantages, in ascending order of importance, are that we (1) preserve our foreign business investments in Indonesia, (2) continue strengthening anti-Communist elements within Indonesia as long as possible, (3) maintain for the time being US presence and foot-in-the- door influence, which exercises at least some restraint on the Indonesians and puts us in a position to take advantage of any opportunities for steering their policies into more constructive channels, and (4) avoid the onus of triggering a break and putting the responsibility for any violent action directly on the Indonesians.

Under this policy, we would for the time being:

1. permit 40,000 tons of PL 480 rice, which you recently approved, plus small Title II and III programs, to continue;

2. continue the reduced 1964 AID program;

3. continue the reduced 1964 MAP program;

4. delay decision on other aid, PL 480, and related matters as long as possible, making decisions in the light of Indonesian behavior at the time decision is required. A recapitulation of these various programs follows:

To Be Continued, Subject to Review:


(Millions of U.S. Dollars)

1. PL 480--40,000 tons of rice, plus small Title II and III programs

$ 8.5

2. 1964 AID (Presidential Determination required) technical assistance, civic action, and malaria eradication at monthly rate of $1,075,000


3. 1964 MAP (Presidential Determination required) training (monthly rate $0.175)

$ 2.1

To Be Delayed:

1. PL 480--Completion of existing three year Title I program (Decision on about $10 million needed within next month. Decision on balance required during calendar year 1964.)


2. PL480--Consideration of pending requests for new agreement to provide additional rice up to 100,000 tons.

$13.5 (est.)

3. Consideration of pending development loan for rehabilitation of tin mines.

$10.0 (est.)

In addition, we have warned Lockheed, first, that we would not be willing to grant export licenses for new purchases of C-130's; and, second, that we may not be willing to grant export licenses for additional spare parts (decision due in February).


The Presidential Determination required by Section 620(j)/3/ relates only to new obligations. With respect to assistance now in the pipe- line (funds obligated in prior years), we propose the following actions.

/3/Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1963, Public Law 88-205, approved December 16, 1963. (77 Stat. 379)

In the case of MAP, we have already suspended deliveries of aircraft, ships, and all weapons and ammunition. Up to now, however, we have continued deliveries of other items such as, trucks, electronics equipment, and various spare parts and consumable items (uniforms, tires, etc.) for the Indonesian armed forces, less one major long-standing project for communications in Java and Sumatra only (i.e., possibly not contributing to Indonesian capabilities against Malaysia in the foreseeable future). Preliminary analysis is that about 7.5 million dollars of such items remain for delivery at the present time, of which only a small fraction of the items directly used by the armed forces would be likely to be delivered in the near future. Weighing the impact of cut-off on Indonesia versus the consequences of delivering items that do in some degree contribute significantly to Indonesian military capability, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will examine the list in detail and suspend deliveries that could in any way so contribute. The Secretary of Defense will then report to you the action taken, noting any items that may in his judgment be deliverable under this criteria.

With respect to the AID "pipeline" of unexpended obligations, the Secretary of State and the Administrator of AID, in consultation with Department of Defense, will examine continually the desirability of continuing deliveries of equipment to the Mobile Brigade in the light of its geographic dispositions, leadership and other considerations and will suspend other deliveries they judge likely to contribute substantially to Indonesian military capability. Approximately $5 million in equipment for the Mobile Brigade is in the pipeline; of this, approximately $2.5 million in arms and ammunition already has been suspended. Other elements of the economic assistance pipeline, deliverable over the next two years, consisting of approximately $10 million for technical assistance, $5 million for industrial supplies and equipment, and $7 million outstanding on capital project loans, will be discharged in accordance with our commitments.

Presidential Determination

A Presidential Determination is required to implement the above policy as it relates to 1964 programs. However, we believe that this determination can be so worded as to reflect the selective policy recommended above and the provisional nature of the decisions being taken on aid matters. Two alternatives along these lines for your signature are attached at Tabs A and B.

Gruening Amendment

One further matter concerning aid to Indonesia is the Gruening Amendment, Section 620(i) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1964/4/ which, in pertinent part, provides--

/4/Reference should be to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1963. (77 Stat 379)

No assistance shall be provided under this or any other Act, and no sales shall be made under the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, to any country which the President determines is engaging in or preparing for aggressive military efforts directed against etc.

Our recommendation is that responsibility be assigned to the Secretary of State to keep the situation under continuing review and at such time as the situation may warrant, recommend to the President that he determine that Indonesia is engaged in or preparing for aggressive military action.



Tab A

The Secretary of State
The Secretary of Defense
The Administrator, Agency for International Development

In the light of Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, I hereby direct that the furnishing of assistance to Indonesia shall be only for such selective purposes and in such amounts as I may from time to time authorize.

Pursuant to Section 620(j), I hereby determine, subject to my continuing review in the light of developments, that the furnishing of limited and provisional assistance to Indonesia as follows is essential to the national interest of the United States:

(1) Assistance for training Indonesian specialists, officials and military personnel in the United States;

(2) Technical assistance to educational and governmental institutions and agencies, including police;

(3) Assistance for malaria eradication;

(4) Assistance in the form of equipment and training for civic action programs; and

(5) Transportation and communications equipment for police forces.

In accordance with the provisions of Section 620(j), the Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be kept fully and currently informed of any assistance furnished to Indonesia under the Foreign Assistance Act.


Tab B

The Secretary of State
The Secretary of Defense
The Administrator, Agency for International Development

Pursuant to Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, as amended, I hereby determine that the furnishing of limited and provisional assistance to Indonesia is essential to the national interest of the United States. I have directed that the furnishing of such assistance shall be only for such selective purposes and in such amounts as I may personally from time to time authorize.

In accordance with the provisions of Section 620(j), the Foreign Relations Committee and the Appropriations Committee of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives will be kept fully and currently informed of any assistance furnished to Indonesia under the Foreign Assistance Act.


5. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, January 6, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. I, 11/63-4/64. Secret.

Aid to Indonesia

There is apparently an NSC meeting at 4 p.m. this afternoon on the subject of aid to Indonesia./2/

/2/The meeting took place on January 7 at 4 p.m.; see Document 8.

I have reviewed a memorandum from the Secretary of State to the President/3/ which will, presumably, be discussed at this meeting. I offer the following comments to you for what they are worth.

/3/Document 4.

In my opinion, the principal recommendation in this memorandum would constitute an abandonment by the Secretary of State and the President of the opportunity to make the critical judgment on whether the United States should embark upon a policy which involves an eventual risk of U.S. involvement in military operations against Indonesia.

The last two sentences of the second full paragraph on Page 5 of the Secretary of State's memorandum read as follows:

"Weighing the impact of cut-off on Indonesia versus the consequences of delivering items that do in some degree contribute significantly to Indonesian military capability, the Secretary of Defense, in consultation with the Secretary of State, will examine the list in detail and suspend deliveries that could in any way so contribute. The Secretary of Defense will then report to you the action taken, noting any items that may in his judgment be deliverable under this criteria."

What is contemplated is that the Secretary of Defense will review all items currently scheduled for delivery to Indonesia with a view to suspending such shipments as may contribute to Indonesian military capability. The Secretary of Defense will "consult" with State and report after the fact to the President. This looks innocent enough on the surface, but it overlooks the basic political fact that a seemingly innocuous decision to suspend a scheduled delivery of a particular item may well be construed by the Indonesians at some point to be a signal of a basic change in U.S. policy toward that country. Consider, for example, the shipment of trucks to the Indonesian army for civil action projects. I understand that the Secretary of Defense is inclined to view some of these shipments as a contribution to Indonesian military capability. This of course may be so; but to the extent that such shipments have been promised to the Indonesians and are subsequently cut off, it seems to me that we may be giving Nasution an unintended indication that the U.S. is abandoning its political support of the Indonesian armed forces. If the Indonesians construed our action in such a way, there would be every incentive to them to take maximum political advantage of such a situation by anticipating further cuts in U.S. aid.

The example of Cambodia should be kept in mind. When a politically sensitive and popular Asian leader comes to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that the United States has become unsympathetic to his national aims and ambitions, his first reaction will be to prove his independence of U.S. policy.

In the case of Indonesia, this could mean that the army and the PKI would unite even more closely behind Sukarno and his efforts to "crush" Malaysia. He could be expected to escalate his efforts, appealing to his people for a total national effort against the forces of colonialism led by the United States and its principal European ally. At some point in this process our obligations under the ANZUS Treaty would be called into play; and in any event, we would find it hard domestically to sit idly by while the British got themselves heavily engaged in a guerrilla battle against a vituperative Sukarno.

Of course, all this may happen in any event; but it seems imperative to me that a decision to risk such a chain of events should be taken at the highest level of the Government and only after full investigation of the possible consequences.

I would recommend that the Secretaries of State and Defense be assigned the task of reviewing the "pipe line" items, presenting their recommendations to the President (separately if they cannot agree) before any action is taken. In the meantime, I think we must mount a renewed and more intense diplomatic effort to turn Sukarno off, using whatever leverage that remains to us in our present aid programs in Indonesia. For this purpose I certainly think it is essential that a personal, tough-talking representative of the President visit Sukarno before the Ramadan month of fasting begins in late January.



6. Memorandum Prepared by the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, January 7, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. I, 11/63-4/64. Secret.


We face two questions--one broad and one narrow:

A. Broadly, it is agreed that we should have a cool and firm policy of increasing opposition to Sukarno, if he goes on lifting the level of force used against Malaysia. This policy has already led to a reduction of 80% in our planned assistance to Indonesia for FY 1964. Further reductions should be made in this assistance, in PL-480, and in Pipeline deliveries if Sukarno does not cool off. All this has been made very plain to Sukarno and is agreed throughout the Executive Branch.

B. Narrowly, we have a question whether all assistance to Sukarno except goods in Pipeline and some PL-480 should now be cut off because of certain amendments to the Foreign Aid Act. Pros and cons are:

For the cut-off:

(1) Nobody likes Sukarno, and with good reason.

(2) Congress has expressed itself strongly.

(3) A cut-off might show Sukarno consequences of "confrontation" with Malaysia.

(4) Cut-off protects the President from having to determine that assistance to Indonesia is "essential to the interest of the United States."

(5) Adverse consequences in Indonesia could be mitigated by "wind-up" assistance, by continued PL-480, and by continuing parts of Pipeline deliveries (all outside the reach of the amendment).

Against the cut-off:

(1) The programs we have planned are there now because we think them "essential to our national interest." They are there not because we like Sukarno, but because we are contending for the long-range future of a country of 100 million with great resources in a strategic location. The odds may be long, but the stakes are high, and our investment is small. A cut-off now could end our hopes by our own act. "Wind-up" assistance, PL-480, and Pipeline deliveries would probably not reverse the political effects of the cut-off in Indonesia.

(2) The right way to cut or increase these programs is by continuous Presidential judgment in a swiftly moving diplomatic situation. The President can control all the programs all the time. To let the amendment take effect now would be to cut out one part of the program at a quite arbitrary moment.

(3) Such a cut-off today could trigger a violent reaction from Sukarno and block efforts to settle dispute by Filipinos and Thais. It could also cost us half a billion of private investment. It could hand Indonesia's future to Communists. Aswan Dam case should remind us that neutrals are ready to seize on our acts to justify their outrages--and to some extent they get away with it.

(4) The Presidential Determination can be reasonably explained to the American people. A draft statement is attached at Tab A./2/ This draft aims to explain as much as possible to our own people without giving Sukarno excuses for wild actions.

/2/Tab A was not attached. (Ibid., National Security Council Meetings, Vol. 1, Tab 2, 1/7/64, Assistance to Indonesia)

McG. B./3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.


7. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 7, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 19 US-INDON. Secret. A handwritten note on the memorandum reads: "Hand carried to WH by Secy 1-7-64."

Aid to Indonesia


That you sign a determination that a carefully selected and reduced aid program in Indonesia, subject to review in light of developments, is essential to the national interest of the United States. We prefer the specific alternative statement of Presidential determination forwarded yesterday./2/

/2/Apparent reference to Tab A, Document 4.


1. For new aid obligations, Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1963/3/ provides: "No assistance under this Act shall be furnished to Indonesia unless the President determines that the furnishing of such assistance is essential to the national interest of the United States."

/3/See footnote 3, Document 4.

2. Sukarno regards Malaysia as neo-colonialist and a threat to his security. He advocates "crushing" Malaysia and supports guerrilla activity in North Borneo. At the same time he continues to explore with the Thais and the Filipinos possibilities for ending the Malaysia dispute. The situation, while dangerous, is not hopeless.

3. We believe an aid cutoff would (1) risk a break of diplomatic relations by Sukarno and possible violent actions against U.S. personnel and interests; (2) endanger our foreign business investments there, including $500 million American oil properties; and (3) deprive the West of the crucial moderating influence which Ambassador Jones has been able to exercise on Sukarno.

4. The Presidential determination we suggest would make possible a $15 million AID/MAP Program for Technical Assistance, Civic Action, malaria eradication, training, and engineering and communications equipment. In the pipeline, not affected by your determination, are $29.5 million MAP AID items. Details are in yesterday's memorandum.

5. I will advise you when aid should be stopped, under the terms of Section 620(i), because Indonesia is "engaged in or preparing for aggressive military efforts."

Dean Rusk/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


8. Summary Record of the 521st National Security Council Meeting/1/

Washington, January 7, 1964, 4 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Council Meetings, Vol. 1, Tab 2, 1/7/64, Assistance to Indonesia. Secret. Hilsman also took notes at this meeting. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Cabinet Files: Lot 68 D 350, CP-40, Cabinet Meetings, January 1964) Colby prepared a memorandum of this meeting on January 8. (Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with the President, 1 Jan. to 30 Apr. 1964)


Director McCone gave a briefing on current developments in Southeast Asia, with special attention to the situation in Indonesia.

Secretary Rusk opened the discussion as to whether the President should determine that U.S. economic and military assistance to Indonesia is in the U.S. national interest. In an amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act, Congress required the President to make such a determination (see attached State Department paper)./2/

/2/Apparent reference to Document 7.

Secretary Rusk said it was not a good time for the President to sign a determination because of the situation existing in the area, i.e., Sukarno actively seeking to "confront" Malaysia by training and using guerrilla forces on islands now controlled by Malaysia. However, Secretary Rusk continued, the President cannot delay indefinitely taking the action required by the Congressional amendment. The Foreign Assistance Act was signed December 18 and Congress will expect Presidential action on the determination shortly. Sukarno is coming up to the watershed where he will have to decide either

(a) to pull back from his "confrontation." We have no confidence that he will do so, but it would be possible for him to retreat via a decision to carry on his confrontation policy in an Asian context, i.e., not frontal opposition to the British as sponsors of Malaysia, or;

(b) to go ahead with his present policy. If he chooses the latter course, he might resort to open aggression against Malaysia. In such an event, our obligations under the Anzus Pact would be involved.

If we oppose Sukarno by cutting off all U.S. aid, he might react by confiscating extensive U.S. investments in Indonesia. In the case of a showdown, he might ask help from China and even Russia.

Secretary Rusk said Philippine President Macapagal will be talking to Sukarno in Manila this week. If he so chooses, he might be able to persuade Sukarno to hold back. Therefore, we should take no action today or this week which could have the effect of pushing Sukarno into all-out aggression against Indonesia. If the law requires action, a temporary determination should be signed. Timing is an important part of the problem. We want to keep the U.S. in a position to influence Sukarno, but we must keep our good relations with Congress and not allow Congressmen to think we are disregarding the legal requirement they imposed upon us when the Foreign Assistance Act was amended. A determination restricting the scope of the assistance and limited in time would be one way to deal with the present situation.

AID Director Bell said a decision would be required within a few days. After citing the law, which was signed December 18, he said a determination must be made in a reasonable time.

Secretary McNamara recommended that the President sign the determination today and instruct all agencies to monitor closely the assistance now in the pipeline which would continue to be sent to Indonesia. He said he understood it was agreed that we would hold up aid amounting to approximately $140 million. In the pipeline, there is $50 million of aid, plus an additional $25 million which is to be put into the pipeline. We should try to hold down this $70 million of assistance but we should avoid the consequences to us of action terminating all aid immediately.

In response to the President's request for his views, Speaker McCormack said he had no confidence in Sihanouk. [Sukarno?] He recalled an address which Sihanouk made several years ago to a Joint Session of Congress as being the most supercilious speech ever made by a foreigner to the Congress. We must have supreme regard for our friends, i.e., the British, who have primary responsibility in the Malaysian situation. He admitted that the decision was a very close one, but he could not disagree with the reasoning contained in the State Department paper.

Secretary Rusk said no one in Washington disagreed with the Speaker's description of the unsavory character of Sukarno who is the least responsible leader of any modern State. He said allied solidarity in this situation is very important. He noted that neither the British nor the Australians are ready to break relations with Sukarno. Australia is continuing its aid to Indonesia in an effort to influence Sukarno to give up his confrontation with Malaysia. Our allies are agreed that the time has not yet come to break with Sukarno and conclude the situation is hopeless.

In response to the President's request, the Attorney General said that as long as the Indonesians are carrying on an active guerrilla campaign against Malaysia, any announcement that the U.S. was continuing aid to Indonesia would be a big boost to Sukarno. It would be interpreted as action in support of Sukarno despite Sukarno's present unacceptable behavior. If we must act, we should do so in such a way as to make clear that our action is not a vote of confidence in Sukarno. The effect in the U.S. of continuing aid to Indonesia without a change in Sukarno's policy would result in confusing domestic opinion.

Secretary Rusk said that Ambassador Jones has already told Sukarno that the U.S. will provide no more aid unless the Indonesians turn away from the policy of confrontation. Jones has also said that if Indonesia is blamed as an aggressor, our obligations under the Anzus Treaty will come into play. He said he agreed with the Attorney General on the U.S. domestic reaction if we continue to give aid to Indonesia. However, it would be bad to act now before the situation is ripe. The stakes are very high. More is involved in Indonesia, with its 100 million people, than is at stake in Viet Nam. We will know much more about the situation and be in a better position to decide what to do in two weeks.

The Attorney General asked whether it was absolutely necessary for the President to make a determination now.

Director Bell said it was so far as approving any new obligations. A determination cannot be put off much longer even if the assistance we continue to give involves no new obligations.

The Attorney General asked whether we could continue as we were now doing for two more weeks.

Director Bell said that we could with some difficulty. He suggested that the determination be phrased in such a way as to permit the continuance of aid for a limited period of time. At the end of that period, a new determination could be made or aid could be halted.

Mr. McGeorge Bundy said that Congress would be asking very soon what the President was going to do about aid to Indonesia. In addition, there would be press inquiries. At stake were the Administration's relations with Congress. In response to the President's question, Mr. Bundy said he would recommend signing the determination but sending to Djakarta a tough man who would tell Sukarno that the President did not intend to continue assistance unless Sukarno halted the confrontation effort. He suggested the Attorney General as a Presidential emissary noting that the Attorney General had a reservoir of good will which was built up during a visit to Indonesia.

The Attorney General demurred and said he did not look forward to a trip to Indonesia.

Director McCone noted that in his view cessation of U.S. aid would not induce Sukarno to give up his effort to destroy Malaysia. He thought that a cutoff of aid would have very serious consequences for us, but would not alter Sukarno's opposition to Malaysia. Possibly there may be a solution in Sukarno's meeting with Macapagal in Manila. We should not write off the possibility of something coming out of Manila by making a decision now, even though further delay will probably cause criticism in the U.S. He recalled that in his meeting with Macapagal recently, he urged the Philippine President to meet with Sukarno. He agreed that a Presidential emissary should be sent to Sukarno but this should be done in such a way as not to impair the relationship which Ambassador Jones now has with Sukarno. He recommended that if action is necessary, a determination for a limited period of time should be signed.

In response to the President's request, Mr. Harriman recommended that a limited determination be signed, i.e., limited in scope. He believed that if a determination limited as to time were signed, then every thirty days we would have to go through the exercise all over again. He believed we should get the decision behind us now to avoid the issue coming up in Congress every time a fixed period ended. He predicted that some months would pass before we know exactly where we are in Indonesia. He favored continuing a limited program for keeping a foot in the door. If the Indonesians turn against us and seize U.S. investments, the Chinese Communists might get the U.S. oil companies, thereby altering the strategic balance in the area.

Secretary Rusk said the question was whether we decide to stay at the table and play a little longer rather than leave the table now.

Mr. Harriman noted that if Sukarno steps up his guerrilla warfare against Malaysia, we can charge him in the UN with aggression. Other political pressures are available to us.

Secretary Dillon said that the picture was indeed dark, but the U.S. should not force the issue now because this is the wrong time to act. We should continue the smallest amount of aid possible. This aid would serve as a protection to the U.S. investments in Indonesia. The determination should not be friendly and should make clear that our assistance was being continued for the time being, but not for a fixed period.

Secretary Rusk noted that if a determination were signed, this would not mean that at a later time we could not cut off aid if, for example, Sukarno was charged by the UN with aggression.

Mr. Sorensen asked whether the U.S. was giving aid to Malaysia.

Director Bell replied that no U.S. aid was now being given to Malaysia. The British are giving assistance. We decided that we did not have to start a program in Malaysia which, for an underdeveloped country, is comparatively well off.

General LeMay, as acting Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, favored the State-proposed program. He believed the U.S. should keep its foot in the door. He recommended that a decision be held off until after the Manila conference.

The President asked Secretary Rusk whether a decision had to be made now. He suggested that we could describe the current situation to the Congressional leaders, telling them that no new aid was being provided, that aid in the pipeline would continue, and that the determination that this aid was in the national interest would be a temporary determination. We should inform Sukarno and Macapagal of our position and following the Manila meeting, and in the light of circumstances then existing, we could decide what to do.

Secretary Rusk agreed that it would be useful for us to take a reading following the Manila meeting. He said the problem had been brought to the President because the Department was aware of Congressional pressure on the President to make a decision. He agreed that we could inform the appropriate Congressional committees that we are holding off making a decision.

The President said we should talk to the appropriate Congressional committees, explaining our hope that a solution to the immediate problem caused by Sukarno's confrontation policy would be found. We should consider sending a Presidential emissary to talk to Sukarno and we should tell the British and the Australians what we are doing. As soon as we are able to take a new reading, and if the Congressional committees' reaction is satisfactory, we would be in a position to decide. Both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense should talk to the Congressional committees in an effort to find out what they think. He said it would be a mistake to decide to cut off aid before we knew the outcome of the Manila conference. But, on the other hand, it was very difficult to say that aid to Indonesia under present circumstances is in the national interest.

Secretary McNamara thought we could avoid a determination for some weeks. He suggested that the Attorney General ask one of his lawyers to decide whether a Presidential determination is required now. If there is a difference among the lawyers, as appears to be the case, the Attorney General could decide which lawyer had the best case.

The President asked the Attorney General to take on this task. He said he did not want to be in the position of acting with lack of faith toward Congress./3/

/3/The decisions taken at this meeting were included in NSC Action No. 2474, January 7. According to that record of action, Robert Kennedy was directed to prepare "an opinion of law" on whether a Presidential Determination was required for obligations incurred prior to the passage of the 1963 Foreign Assistance Act; the President directed Rusk, McNamara, and Bell to consult with appropriate members of Congress about the determination and U.S. relations with Indonesia; and directed Rusk to consider sending a personal representative to Sukarno. (Johnson Library, National Security File, National Security Council Meetings, Vol. 1, Tab 2, 1/7/64, Assistance to Indonesia)

Bromley Smith/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


9. Letter From Secretary of State Rusk to Minister of External Affairs Barwick/1/

Washington, January 9, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret. Drafted by Ingraham and Thrasher and cleared by Bell and Barnett.

Dear Sir Garfield:

Thank you for your letter on the Indonesian problem./2/ Sir Howard Beale,/3/ as you know, has already raised the question of a possible Malaysian request to establish an Australian military presence in Borneo, and our comments on the matter have been communicated to your Government through your Embassy in Washington./4/

/2/Garfield's December 16, 1963, letter is ibid.

/3/Australian Ambassador to the United States.

/4/Apparent reference to an exchange between Beale and McGeorge Bundy and a paper handed to Beale. See Foreign Relations, 1961-1963, vol. XXIII, Document 343.

We have carefully reviewed the points made in your letter regarding Western economic aid and credits to Indonesia. It seems to me that we are in full agreement concerning the aid programs of our respective countries and are, in fact, following parallel courses. As you know, our economic aid to Indonesia is currently confined to on-going programs of technical assistance, training, etc., and to shipments of surplus agricultural commodities under our existing three-year Public Law 480 agreement with Indonesia. We are also continuing a modest program of military aid, although we have stopped all shipments of arms and ammunition and intend to concentrate the program almost entirely on training and on support for the Indonesian civic action program. We have no plans to expand any of our aid programs unless there is a significant change in Indonesia's confrontation policy against Malaysia.

We, too, have been watching with interest the current Indonesian search for aid, credits and new entrepot facilities to help them overcome the effect of confrontation on their already shaky economy. As far as we can determine, their search has not been successful to date in attracting resources sufficient to have an appreciable impact in easing their economic problems. I understand that they have found a few sources of credit, and are working on various arrangements to by-pass Singapore with their foreign trade. No major foreign aid from Western Europe or Japan seems to be in prospect at present, however.

I agree fully that it is essential to disabuse Sukarno of any thought that the West will inevitably bail him out of his difficulties no matter how intolerable his actions. Certainly this is no time to consider, or to encourage any of our friends to consider, actions in the economic field which would tend to give him that impression. At the same time, I must admit to a lack of optimism that the pressures of economic deterioration, however severe they may become, will necessarily force Sukarno to moderate his policies. Based on his past performance, such pressures might instead goad him into even greater irrationality unless carefully applied.

I do not mean to imply that we should refrain from adding economic pressures and inducements to the other tools we are using in our efforts with Sukarno. We are employing these tools, of course, and will continue to do so. In this connection, you probably know that we recently responded to urgent Indonesian requests for additional surplus rice by offering to provide them with the amount (roughly 40,000 tons) to which they were already entitled under our existing agreement with them. This move has had the effect of completing all rice deliveries to which we are committed under the agreement. We took advantage of the occasion to make entirely clear to the Indonesians that the supply of any further surplus rice next year will be contingent upon an easing of their policy of confrontation regarding Malaysia.

While I believe we should use economic pressures and inducements actively, I would hesitate to suggest that they be applied to the point of isolating Indonesia economically from the West. To the contrary, it seems to me that Indonesia's mounting difficulties offer us an opportunity to obtain the long term advantages of an expanded Western equity in the Indonesian economy without either significantly strengthening Indonesia's ability to withstand the effects of confrontation or encouraging Sukarno to believe that the West is willing to bail him out. For this reason, I would not object to modest moves by Japan and by Germany, the Netherlands, France and other Western nations to expand their economic and commercial relations with Indonesia. As long as those activities remain within the limits now foreseen--short and medium term credits, commercial arrangements for the marketing of Indonesia's exports, and an increase in private investment in Indonesia--I feel that we should interpret them as essentially beneficial to our mutual interests. They provide an alternative to an all-out turn to the Bloc for aid, a constant reminder to Sukarno of his country's continuing economic reliance on the West, and a certain restraint on his actions. Over the longer term, particularly in the post-Sukarno era, the lodgments gained in the Indonesian economy could well become an important factor in reorienting the country.

As we see the problems raised by Indonesia's confrontation policy, they fall into two essentially different spheres. On the one hand there is the aggressive and dangerous paramilitary activity in Borneo, the subversion in West Malaysia, the virulent propaganda campaign, the break in transportation and communications with Malaysia, and the cessation of bilateral trade between them. This aspect of confrontation is the one we are trying to modify and eventually to eliminate. On the other hand, there is the Indonesian effort to divert its trade from Singapore and eliminate the country's economic dependence on the Singapore entrepot. Even if we succeed in ending the political-military confrontation, I doubt that the Indonesian drive to by-pass the Singapore entrepot will ever be reversed. Rather than attempting fruitlessly to force a reversal, our best course may be simply to recognize it as a fact of life and take what steps we can to insure that the new trade relationships the Indonesians will inevitably establish are those best calculated to serve the interests of the West.

I do not believe that the foregoing is incompatible in any major sense with the views expressed in your letter. The difference, if any, would seem to be one of emphasis. You can be sure that we do not intend to use our resources, or encourage the use of our friends' resources, in such a way as to aid or abet Sukarno in his policy of confrontation.

I might conclude by saying that I fully understand the anxieties which are felt by your Government and among your people about trade and aid to a country which seems to be creating a dangerous situation in your part of the world. We ourselves are taking casualties every week in South Viet-Nam and we are quite clear that Peiping and Hanoi are the moving forces behind aggression against that country. Just before Christmas, for example, seven tons of Chinese-made arms and ammunition were captured in a Viet Cong depot in the delta. We have here, therefore, both in the Congress and among the public, real sensitivity about trade and aid as they affect Peiping and Hanoi in the absence of a peaceful policy by those two capitals.

With warm regards,


Dean Rusk/5/

/5/Printed from a copy that indicates Rusk signed the original.


10. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Senator Richard Russell/1/

Washington, January 10, 1964, 1:25 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Telephone Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a conversation between Johnson and Russell, F64.4, PNO, side B. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared by the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.

[Here follows discussion unrelated to Indonesia.]

Johnson [hereafter LBJ]: McNamara doesn't act to me like he goes much with these State Department policies. He is the only one that stayed with me on Indonesia. Now we got it down from 35 million to 15 million, and I refused to go under 15 million, and they say, well, I'm going to pull out and break away, and cause us not to have any relations at all, and we can't move away from the table if we expect to bid on the pot, and so now I have turned it all down though, and concluded that Bobby Kennedy would have to give us a legal opinion on whether this stuff is in the pipeline.

Russell [hereafter RR]: Let that thing cool for a while. The Russians can't get in there to help them.

LBJ: Whether this money in the pipeline constituted a violation of the act of Congress, I don't think it does. You see this damn Republican put a prohibition in there unless I made a finding it was in the national interest. So they want me to make a finding, and I put it off on the theory that I haven't made any new allocations. And that all that is going to them [the Indonesians] was in the pipeline. And I couldn't stop that without going out there and sinking the ships. And now I am going to send Bobby Kennedy to Indonesia and just let them put it right in his lap.

RR: Tell him to be tough, too.

LBJ: I think he will.

RR: Like he was in Los Angeles.

LBJ: Well, he wasn't so tough last time he saw Sukarno. He took it [West New Guinea] away from the Dutch and gave it to Sukarno, didn't he?

RR: Yeah, yeah. He sure did.

LBJ: But I think I'll just put it in his lap, don't you think so?

RR: Well, it's subject to your final decision, of course, you can't afford.

LBJ: Oh no, I mean just let him go out there. First let him determine that it is legal for me to do this, and number two, let him go out there and have whatever row there is with Sukarno.

RR: I think that's fine.

LBJ: I don't think you can get any good out of Sukarno.

RR: No, I don't believe he is any good.

LBJ: I don't trust him. I don't think he is any good.

RR: No, he isn't. Not at all.

LBJ: But if we are going to have a break, let him [Sukarno] break it.

RR: That's exactly right.

LBJ: All right, good-bye.

RR: I'm proud of you.

LBJ: Bye.


11. Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, January 10, 1964, 6:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Telephone Recordings and Transcripts, Recording of a conversation between Bundy and Johnson, F64.04, PNO 5, side B. No classification marking. This transcript was prepared by the Office of the Historian specifically for this volume.

McGeorge Bundy [hereafter McGB]: Yes sir?

Johnson [hereafter LBJ]: Shouldn't I call Bobby on the Indonesia thing,/2/ or have you already called him?

/2/At 4:50 p.m. on January 9, McGeorge Bundy and the President discussed the "Indonesia thing." Bundy informed the President that he did not believe the situation was as urgent as originally thought and suggested that they should not "make a major step until we know exactly what Macapagal and Sukarno had done." Bundy informed the President that John Richardson would visit Macapagal. Bundy suggested delaying the matter for two or three weeks. The President was not convinced and insisted that Robert Kennedy see Sukarno as soon as possible. Bundy demurred and suggested that he would try to "get it cranking." (Ibid.)

McGB: I've talked to him, Mr. President, and told him you wanted him to go, but before he goes, Mr. President, he has got to talk to you. We're generating various bits of paper and instructions. I think there ought to be a meeting tomorrow/3/ and it's entirely up to you to say whether you want to be there. I think it'll be grand if you would, but I think we can do half of it before you join us, and I think we can probably get it into final paper where Bobby could come and call on you before he goes, which I think is the right way to do it. I just hung up from talking to him, I was talking to him when you called.

/3/No record of such a meeting has been found.

LBJ: When's he going?

McGB: We don't know, Mr. President. We've got a flash wire out to tell Sukarno we want to do this,/4/ but we can't send Bobby if Sukarno says to hell with it. We have to pin down where Sukarno is going to be, which we haven't got 100% certain. He's still in Manila now and our Ambassador in Manila is under instructions to tell him that you now think it's of high urgency that this matter be discussed in the most serious way and that your proposal is that the Attorney General whom he knows come out and do this. That's on the wires.

/4/Telegram 960 to Manila, January 10. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 US/KENNEDY)

LBJ: All right. O.K. Let me know. I don't want to have any meetings tomorrow that I can avoid, but if he is going tomorrow.

McGB: No, Mr. President. I don't know if he's going tomorrow or Sunday. We'll have the meeting anyway tomorrow, and then we'll let you know where we are after that, if that's O.K. You going to be here or you going to get up the country, or what?

LBJ: I might go up to Camp David, or here. I'm not sure.

McGB: Why don't you follow your instinct to Camp David and Bobby can come up there and say goodbye./5/ I think the fact that you see him as he leaves is going to be very important, but it's got to be awful clear that he's a Presidential emissary.

/5/Robert Kennedy did not meet with the President at Camp David on January 11. He, along with McNamara, Harriman, McCone, and McGeorge Bundy, met with the President from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. on January 14; Kennedy then met alone with the President from 10:50 to 11:30 a.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) For McCone's account of the meeting, see Document 15.

LBJ: We'll do that. O.K.

McGB: Right, sir.


12. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 12, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. I, 11/63-4/64. Secret. Forrestal sent Bundy a memorandum on January 10 describing the alternatives to the Presidential determination worked out by Justice and the Agency for International Development and suggesting that the second alternative would "work in light of the A.G.'s trip." (Ibid.)

The Attorney General's Trip and a Presidential Determination on Assistance to Indonesia

Further analysis of the problems involved in your making the determination required under the Broomfield Amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961/2/ suggests that you have two major alternative courses of action:

/2/Section 620(j) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1963, see footnote 2, Document 4.

1. You can make a determination now which legally would stand for an indefinite period until you decided formally or informally to review it. Such a determination would explain that you were keeping in close and personal touch with the assistance programs and were instructing all agencies of government to keep you fully informed. The advantage of this procedure is that it relieves you once and for all of the necessity of having to make another formal determination at a later date (i.e., after the Attorney General's return) when the political impact might be greater. It would also have the advantage of being blanketed by your separate announcement of the Attorney General's trip and the Manila communique. It also somewhat improves the Attorney General's bargaining position, since otherwise Sukarno may well take the position that we are using the determination as a lever, which of course is "unacceptable" to proud neutralists.

The disadvantage of this course would be that you are making this decision before the Indonesians have given any concrete evidence that they are prepared to dampen down their military confrontation in North Borneo.

2. You can decide to defer this whole matter until some time after the Attorney General returns, perhaps for as long as two months from now. You could continue existing programs under an opinion which you have received from the Attorney General to the effect that you have a "reasonable" time in which to review the situation in light of the new Congressional policy. Aside from giving you more time to consider the issues, the advantage of this procedure would be to show that you have taken the Congressional mandate so seriously that you have dispatched a special emissary of Cabinet rank for discussions with Sukarno, and that you are deferring your final decision until his return. The disadvantage is that the making of such a determination at that time will attract greater political attention, since it will reflect an informed decision reached by you after two months' review of the facts and a report from the Attorney General on his mission. It would not be possible to argue that a quick determination was required in order to continue the reduced assistance programs that are now in progress. This second course is also somewhat more open to political attack as an evasion of the legal requirements of the amendment.

The possibilities of a temporary determination at this time, or a flat determination to continue assistance without explanation have been rejected as having most of the disadvantages and few of the advantages of the two courses set forth above. The majority of your principal officers seem now to favor course No. 1. A draft memorandum from you to the Secretary of State making such a determination is attached./3/ If you decide on course No. 2, no formal memorandum of any kind is needed.

/3/There is no indication on the memorandum which course of action the President decided upon, but the attached determination, not printed, was never released. For the decision to postpone the decision, see Document 29.

McG. B.

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature and initials.


13. Memorandum From the Executive Secretary of the Department of State (Read) to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, January 13, 1964.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, ORG 7 JUS. Secret. Drafted by Cuthell, cleared with Bell, Hilsman, and in draft with Harriman.

Memorandum for the Attorney General's Meeting with Sukarno of Indonesia

There is enclosed a memorandum for the Attorney General's meeting with President Sukarno. This memorandum will be discussed at a meeting in the White House on January 14./2/

/2/The President met with Robert Kennedy, Rusk, McNamara, Harriman, McCone, and Bundy on January 14 from 10:30 to 10:50 a.m. (Johnson Library, President's Daily Diary) See Document 15.

Benjamin H. Read/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates John A. McKesson signed for Read.




The President has instructed the Attorney General to meet Sukarno in Tokyo. The purpose of the trip is two-fold. The first purpose is to make completely clear the consequences for United States-Indonesian relationships/4/ if Sukarno continues his present policies toward Malaysia. The second is to further the over-all United States objective of getting the Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos to sit down together for talks looking toward an "Asian solution" of the dispute. Depending on the progress made with Sukarno, the Attorney General may be asked to continue on to Manila, Kuala Lumpur and London--the latter being particularly important if Sukarno is at all forthcoming.

/4/A copy of this memorandum was sent to McNamara. At this point McNamara added the following handwritten note: "What consequences should he [illegible--hit?] to--inevitably Aus[tralian?] forces and we will have a serious prob under ANZUS treaty; UN will be drawn in [,] aid must stop--we would be forced to support anti-Indo forces [illegible--North?]" McNamara also put the following comment at the top of the memorandum: "lack bite[,] stick and carrot." (Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OSD Files: FRC 69 A 7425, Indonesia)

There are a number of ways in which a satisfactory solution might come about, and it is unnecessary--perhaps even useless--to try at this stage to be precise about how events might move toward such a solution. However, for purposes of illustration, it might be helpful to set down the following as one way in which a satisfactory solution might eventuate:

1. Since it is unreasonable to expect Tunku to negotiate with a pistol at his head, Sukarno agrees to call off all military "confrontation" entirely. If this cannot be done he agrees to at least a cease-fire during which talks can begin.

2. In exchange for Sukarno's abandoning military "confrontation", the Tunku agrees to talks without pre-conditions--i.e. the Tunku drops his present condition that talks shall constitute recognition of Malaysia.

3. The British agree to the above and also to some lessening of their military "presence" on the Borneo border.

4. It is highly desirable that the solution coming out of the tripartite talks be one that the participants themselves develop. But one form that this might take but which we should not mention to any of the participants is for the Malaysians to guarantee to do in North Borneo exactly what the Indonesians do in fulfillment of their UN pledge for a "plebiscite" in West New Guinea--but only if there is no subversive or guerrilla warfare in the intervening five years.

The Situation

Sukarno has refused to accept the existence of Malaysia. Although he had given us assurance he will not engage in open attack, he has mounted guerrilla action and a political and economic campaign to destroy the state or alter its nature. His precise objectives are unclear to us--and probably to him as well,--but they probably are to: 1) as a maximum, detach the Borneo states from Malaysia and establish a more sympathetic regime in Kuala Lumpur; 2) as a minimum, implement a formula that would allow the Borneo states to remain within Malaysia but permit Sukarno to claim a public victory over his opponents and give him an opening for future attempts to assert domination over Malaysia; 3) eliminate British influence in the area; and 4) prevent possible Chinese take-over on Indonesia's borders.

Whatever his actual purpose, Sukarno's campaign of confrontation has led to an increasingly serious threat to the peace of the region. The British: 1) have assumed responsibility for Malaysia's defense against Indonesia; 2) are suffering losses from Sukarno's guerrillas; 3) are being forced to move in more military resources than is convenient; 4) have consistently been trying to get us involved in order to share the burden with them; and 5) are fast losing both patience and objectivity. The Australians, also committed to defend Malaysia, are holding back, as they do not want to come into direct conflict with their large and close neighbor. They hope that some sort of modus vivendi can be worked out with the Indonesians. Under growing British pressure to commit troops to Borneo, however, they will find it increasingly hard to stay out if the guerrilla attacks continue.

The implications for us are two-fold. In terms of our general interests, the outbreak of open hostilities between Britain and Indonesia would have a potentially disastrous effect on the security of the area, on relations between the West and the neutralist Afro-Asians, and on the future orientation of Indonesia. In terms of our specific commitments, hostilities between Australian and Indonesian forces in Borneo would enable the Australians to invoke the ANZUS pact and call upon us for direct intervention against Indonesia.

Purpose of the Meeting

The danger in the situation has primarily arisen from Indonesian military guerrilla action, although mishandling, blunders, inflexibility and cupidity on part of various of the other parties--the British, Malaysians and Filipinos--have contributed substantially. If the dangerous deterioration is to be reversed, Sukarno must be induced to take the first step. That step must be the cessation of military activity against Malaysia. This by itself would leave the dispute far from resolved, but it would create an atmosphere in which further initiative could eventually bring about a tolerable solution.

The task of inducing Sukarno to abandon military confrontation will be difficult, since it will require him to give up not only his most potent weapon against Malaysia but also by implication, his maximum objectives toward it. Abandoning military confrontation will also force him to reverse a policy to which he has publicly pledged himself, which will be excruciatingly difficult for one with Sukarno's ego. There are, however, factors already pushing him toward an easing of tensions. Indonesia's economy is under severe strain and worse is in sight. The foreign aid on which Indonesia has relied for a decade is drying up, largely because of "confrontation", and no major injections from either East or West are in the offing. Aside from lukewarm Philippine support and the propaganda backing of the Bloc, Sukarno has attracted no outside support for his campaign and a great deal of international censure. With a few exceptions (confiscation of British property in Indonesia, severance of relations with the UK), he has already committed virtually all the weapons at his disposal without bringing down Malaysia, and seems to be at somewhat of a loss as to his next move. Although willing to run very high risks, he knows that the British-Australians are far too strong for him and that he cannot deliberately provoke an open conflict.

Our basic leverage with Sukarno is the fact that, however cavalier he is with American sensibilities, he is demonstrably anxious to retain United States friendship. He wants and needs our aid; he relishes the prestige of dealing with us as an "equal"; and he certainly senses the manifold disadvantages to Indonesia of a serious breach with the world's most powerful nation. But if given no alternative other than a humiliating public defeat, he would probably be willing to break with us. Our leverage thus is substantial but limited.


14. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 13, 1964.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with President, 1 January-30 April 1964. Secret.

The Attorney General's Trip to the Far East

At Tab A you will find a memorandum discussing arguments for and against a Presidential Determination on assistance to Indonesia at this time./2/ At Tab B you find a draft background guidance for the press on the trip,/3/ and at Tab C the Department of State's suggested instructions for the Attorney General./4/

/2/See Document 12.

/3/Attached, but not printed.

/4/See attachment to Document 13.

The State Department's instructions describe the purpose of the meeting with Sukarno and can be summarized briefly as follows:

1. The main purpose of the trip is to get across as forcefully as possible to Sukarno that the policy of military confrontation which he is pursuing against Malaysia will have disastrous consequences for our relations with his country. This is not the case of West New Guinea. The reaction among the American people against Indonesia is already so strong that the possibility of maintaining any of the cooperative programs which we have established over the years is becoming remote. If hostilities should escalate and the Australians become involved, Sukarno will find us and the rest of the civilized world necessarily aligned against him.

In short, the Attorney General will use every possible argument to persuade Sukarno to abandon his military activities in Borneo completely, or, at least, agree to a cease-fire.

2. The second objective of the visit is to bring Sukarno, Macapagal and Tunku back to the negotiating table. If Sukarno gives reasonable assurance that he will abandon or suspend his military activities, then the Attorney General will proceed to Manila and Kuala Lumpur in an effort to encourage the leaders in these two capitals to meet as quickly as possible. The Attorney General will not himself attempt to negotiate their difficulties; his job is to help clear away obstacles to the three of them getting together and coming up with an Asian solution.

3. If the talks have gone well this far, the Attorney General will go on to London. His purpose there is to tell the British the results of his talks in the Far East and to persuade them to support whatever arrangements for an early meeting of the three Asian leaders he has been able to work out.



15. Memorandum of Meeting/1/

Washington, January 14, 1964.

/1/Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80-B01285A, Meetings with the President, 1 January-30 April 1964. Secret. Transcribed by McCone. Copies were sent to Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Marshall S. Carter and Helms.

To discuss Attorney General's trip to visit Sukarno

The President, Secretary McNamara, Gov. Harriman, Mr. Bundy, Mr. McCone, Mr. Forrestal, Mr. Sorensen/2/

/2/Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy also attended this meeting.

Arrangements have been completed for a meeting on Saturday, January 18th, in Tokyo with Sukarno and Subandrio and in all probability, Nasution.

It was decided that no Presidential finding as required under the Gruening amendment would be made prior to the meeting.

AG's terms of reference were reviewed and modified to meet the wishes of the President and to incorporate some suggestions made.

Messages from [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] were noted./3/ Harriman pointedly stated that reports were excellent, he was deeply appreciative, and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] had made an important contribution to the AG's mission. The AG and Bundy and Forrestal all concurred.

/3/In telegram 960 to Manila, January 10, the Department of State informed Stevenson that [text not declassified] would be stopping off in Manila for a discussion with Macapagal on the Malaysia dispute. An old friend of Macapagal, [text not declassified] was instructed to use his private meeting with Macapagal as a means of getting useful information to Robert Kennedy. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 US/KENNEDY) The report of [text not declassified] discussion with Macapagal on January 13 is in telegram 1020 from Manila, January 14. (Ibid.)

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] of FE will accompany the AG as will Forrestal and others. Itinerary not definitely scheduled but tentatively leave late night January 14th, spend several hours in Honolulu, then proceed non-stop to Tokyo.

Following actions are required:

1. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to prepare concise memorandum of exactly what the AG can reveal to Sukarno, et al, concerning our knowledge of their guerrilla and military preparations and plans./4/ (Note: Care must be taken not to blow sensitive sources but statement must be made as comprehensive as possible.)

/4/Not further identified.

2. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to have full file including classified information for review by AG and Forrestal when and as required.

3. [3 lines of source text not declassified]

4. [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to be instructed proceed to Tokyo and be available to brief AG on further details of the [less than 1 line of source text not declassified]-Macapagal meeting and to be available to AG to extent requested, including returning with him to Manila if AG wishes [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] present for the AG-Macapagal meeting. (Note: I personally question necessity for this but leave matter at AG's discretion.)

Note: I see no reason for extensive [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reporting although some developments during the trip may be of special interest to us and [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] should be instructed accordingly. Also probably advisable to alert [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] to report promptly any matters of interest which might develop in the next 2 or 3 days, particularly relating to Subandrio's and Nasution's views as the AG-Sukarno meeting is now public and will have been reported in Indonesia.


16. Instructions From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to Attorney General Kennedy/1/

Washington, January 14, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Malaysia, December 63-Mar 66. Secret. This document was originally described as "draft instruction," but Komer crossed out those words. The text has revisions in McGeorge Bundy's hand (see footnotes below) and was probably sent to Tokyo over non-Department of State channels.

The central purpose of this trip is to convince Sukarno of the inevitable consequences of the policy of military confrontation which he is now following toward Malaysia.

This policy will have disastrous consequences for our relations with his country. Malaysia is not West Irian. The reaction here against Indonesia is already so strong that it has become difficult for the President to maintain any of the cooperative programs established over the years.

The recent Foreign Aid Act contains two amendments which reflect this American feeling. While the President would like to be able to continue certain assistance programs for Indonesia under this Act, he cannot make the necessary determination that such assistance is in the interest of the United States unless:

a. Sukarno can give you assurances that there will be a shift away from military confrontation, and at a minimum by agreement to a cease-fire pending negotiation.

b. There can be an understanding that the determination will not be followed by further military actions against Malaysia which would make a mockery of the President's decision.

A still more serious evidence of American feeling is the Gruening Amendment, under which, if there were aggression or a preparation for aggression, the United States would have to cut off all assistance of every sort. The President hopes that your visit may be able to produce clear understandings that will avoid any need to apply this amendment.

In the wider sense, a policy of military confrontation with Malaysia seems bound to lead Indonesia toward hostilities with neighboring nations. This will certainly bring the case before the United Nations in circumstances in which Indonesia would/2/ be considered the aggressor by the Secretary General and most members of the United Nations including the United States. Both our countries would stand to lose everything we have invested in cooperation, and what began as a confrontation between Indonesia and Malaysia could end as a confrontation between Indonesia and the United States.

/2/At this point Bundy replaced the following phrases: "have very little support among members or from the Secretary General. The United States too would necessarily be aligned against Indonesia;" to read "be considered the aggressor by the Secretary General and most of the United Nations including the United States."

In short, you should use every possible argument to persuade Sukarno to abandon his military activities in Borneo completely, or at least, agree to a cease-fire./3/

/3/Bundy indicated that the following two sentences should be omitted: "If you are successful, our mission will provide a reasonable basis for a carefully limited determination that assistance to Indonesia is in the national interest. If Sukarno gives no satisfactory response, we shall have an equally clear basis for ending assistance to Indonesia."

The second object of this visit is to bring Sukarno, Macapagal and Tunku back to the negotiating table. If Sukarno gives reasonable assurance that he will abandon or suspend his military activities, then you should proceed to Manila and Kuala Lumpur in an effort to encourage the leaders in these two capitals to meet as quickly as possible. You should not yourself attempt to negotiate their difficulties; your job is to help clear away obstacles to getting the three of them together to work out an Asian solution.

If the talks have gone well this far, you will go on to London. Your purpose there is to tell the British the results of your talks in the Far East and to persuade them to support whatever arrangements for an early meeting of the three Asian leaders you have been able to work out.


17. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State/1/

Tokyo, January 17, 1964, 8 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Flash. Repeated immediate to Canberra, London, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Djakarta, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Passed to the White House.

2109. President Sukarno agreed to stop military confrontation on Kalimanitan border as preparatory step to holding tripartite meeting of representatives Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines. This followed hour and a half exchange of views in which Attorney General Kennedy pointed out serious dangers involved in escalation military confrontation and US concern that peaceful settlement be reached in this dispute.

Attorney General informed Sukarno he would discuss arrangements for tripartite meeting with Tunku when he visited Kuala Lumpur next week. He told Sukarno it was unreasonable to expect Malaysians to come to a meeting to settle this dispute so long as military confrontation continued. He agreed to notify Sukarno through Amb Jones on Wednesday, January 22, following his discussions with Tunku of Tunku's views.

For his part Sukarno said he would return to Djakarta on Monday/2/ and at meeting of motion Tuesday would initiate preparations to call off military confrontation. If reply from Tunku favorable, Sukarno would issue public statement on Thursday. General Jani, who was present, said so far as regular Indonesian military was concerned this could be done in matter of hours. But he explained communication with guerrilla units inside Kalamantan was more difficult and might take as long as a week. Attorney General emphasized importance of starting immediately in order to avoid possible incidents and to help him convince Tunku Indos were sincere. Sukarno pointed out that British would of course also have to agree to cessation of hostilities. Attorney General concurred but emphasized that Indos were responsible for [garble--situation].

/2/January 20.

In his discussion of mutual withdrawal of troops from border, President Sukarno proposed inspection by representatives neutral nation. Attorney General pointed out that actual cessation of hostilities was more important than a supervised withdrawal. Furthermore, word of both leaders was good enough and this was matter which did not require unnecessary complication by formal procedures. Understanding was reached that ministerial level talks would precede summit meeting.

Statement by Sukarno would be to effect that under Manila Agreement three nations were expected to meet in consultation and in order to facilitate such meeting Indonesia would suspend military activities in Kalimantan.

Meeting was held in cordial atmosphere./3/ Discussions will continue tomorrow at 1100./4/

/3/In a telegram received over non-Department of State communication channels, Forrestal, who accompanied Robert Kennedy, reported to Bundy that the meeting with Sukarno "went off surprisingly well" and was accurately reported in this telegram. Forrestal suggested that although there were no guarantees, Sukarno seemed anxious to satisfy the United States and perhaps extricate himself from danger of escalation into a serious war. Forrestal feared Robert Kennedy would have a more difficult time in dealing with officials in Kuala Lumpur and London. (Telegram from Tokyo, January 17; Johnson Library, National Security File, International Meetings and Travel, Attorney General's Trip [1/64])

/4/In telegram 1845 to Tokyo, January 17, the Department noted that the report of the first Robert Kennedy-Sukarno meeting was "most encouraging," but suggested that it was important to get "Sukarno as firmly tied down as possible on how he will call off military activity." (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA)



18. Telegram From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Tokyo, January 18, 1964, 0606 Z.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Malaysia, Dec.-Mar., 1966. Secret; Flash. Not sent over Department of State communications channels.

From Forrestal to McGeorge Bundy, John [Robert] Komer, Governor Harriman and Roger Hilsman.

President Sukarno and his Japanese wife gave breakfast for Bobby and Ethel [Kennedy] and their party this morning at Imperial Hotel. Sukarno and his associates extremely friendly even lighthearted. This was followed by business meeting results of which are reported State tel./2/

/2/See Document 19.

At this point it would seem that Bobby has accomplished one half his mission much more successfully than any of us thought possible. It is quite clear that this form of personal diplomacy is the key to doing business with Sukarno. We have known this in theory for some time, but it has to be seen to be really understood.

The other half of the job may be much more difficult and will require support from Washington. Although Bobby has briefed the British Ambassador in Tokyo fully both before and after meeting yesterday and has given general briefing to Malaysian and Australian envoys, it seems probable that three major pitfalls still remain.

1. Tunku may insist on agreement by Indos to recognize Malaysia before any meetings and British may support him in this.

2. This morning it was not entirely clear whether Sukarno would insist on announcing Tunku's agreement to meet publicly at same time he announces stand-down of hostilities in Kalimantan.

3. Incidents may flare up on either side during Bobby's swing.

Since Bobby is going to Djakarta after Kuala Lumpur, problems 1 and 2 can still be handled in the context of the current talks. But problem 3 cannot. Part of difficulty will be Indos lack of complete control over guerrillas inside Sarawak. Part will be natural British desire to mop up during cease fires. Our job will be to try to keep both from allowing unnecessary accidents to occur. In connection with all these problems we might keep in mind the British have at least two plus cards to play. The ships and spare parts in Hong Kong are one card. Another card is approval of Maphilindo. Sukarno said that British were unalterably opposed to and contemptuous of Maphilindo. It should not cost Brits very much to make statement in support of Maphilindo as an Asian concept at useful time. We should chivvy British into willingness to hold some gesture in reserve in case we need them to help break an Indo-Malaysian impasse. In the meantime they must refrain from making statements or taking actions which could set back progress made to date.

President should know that Bobby has done magnificent job not only with Indos but also in keeping British fully informed. One thing Department should consider before asking Bobby make too many stops en route London is need to get Brits on board quickly.


19. Telegram From the Embassy in Japan to the Department of State/1/

Tokyo, January 18, 1964, 3 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Flash. Repeated to Canberra, London, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Singapore, Djakarta, Hong Kong, and Bangkok. Passed to the White House.

2118. A short substantive talk Saturday/2/ morning followed very cordial breakfast meeting.

/2/January 18.

Attorney General said that he had had talks with British and Malaysian Ambassadors and that Ambassador Jones had talked to Australian Ambassador. All three seemed to be encouraged.

Attorney General outlined his plans as follows: will go to Philippines Sunday night, Kuala Lumpur Tuesday morning and then London. Sukarno asked if he could not come to Djakarta and Attorney General agreed one day visit beginning Wednesday. Attorney General promised to give Sukarno further report through Ambassador Jones following his visit to London. In this connection he said it was most important that everybody understood our position, he pointed out that we have treaty commitments in the area and that our attitudes would necessarily be influenced by whether or not all accepted the proposal for cease-fire followed by tripartite meeting.

The Attorney General said only matter that seemed to remain undecided was the question of being sure that the situation remained under control in the event of an incident. He suggested that all involved should be agreeable to refraining from any retaliation if there were an incident. He also thought that it would be wise to get agreement of an Asian power to send in an observer in the event of an incident. There was some discussion of the possibility of the Thais but final decision was to ask Japanese if they would be prepared to help out in this way.

As to timing, Indonesians felt preparations for a meeting should be made as rapidly as possible. Sukarno said he would meet with KOTI (Supreme Military Advisory Council) Tuesday and would be prepared to announce cessation military confrontation as soon as he was informed by Attorney General that the Tunku was ready to meet with him. It was decided Sukarno might make such announcement on Wednesday during, or at end of, Attorney General's visit.

In short discussion of timing of actual implementation of cease-fire, Jani said it would take about one week to get proper control of guerrillas already inside Sarawak and Sabah. Subandrio expressed the hope that the British and Malaysians would refrain from any "mopping up operations." Attorney General replied that British/Malaysians could hardly be expected refrain from attempting capture "bandits" and that General Jani should instruct guerrillas to take care of themselves by withdrawing into jungle. Sukarno said that all reconnaissance flights should also stop. The Attorney General agreed flights by both sides should stop.

Attorney General said we did not wish to get into technical details arrangement tripartite meeting but were interested how this to be done. Subandrio said Thanat best choice this mission. Attorney General said we would keep Thanat up-to-date on developments.

Attorney General suggests that Bangkok be authorized advise Thanat confidentially substance this tel and Embtel 2109 to Dept repeated Bangkok 50./3/ We would prefer not to pass this to Macapagal or the Tunku as the Attorney General will wish to do so in more detail and in his own way. Department please instruct Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok if this agreeable.

/3/Document 17.

Instructions contained Deptel 1845/4/ arrived after meeting.

/4/See footnote 4, Document 17.



20. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 18, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Malaysia, Vol. I, Memos, 11/63-3/64. Secret.

Our Malaysian enterprise seems to be going very well, though we're only through the first phase. The AG managed to talk Sukarno into suspending military action in Borneo if the Tunku will agree to meet with Sukarno and Macapagal.

Now Bobby goes to Manila to enlist Macapagal's help, and then to work on the Tunku. Perhaps the toughest problem will be to get the Tunku to agree to meet without insisting on prior Indo recognition. Here Ormsby-Gore's pitch to you against pressing this on the Tunku is worrisome./2/

/2/British Ambassador Ormsby Gore met with the President on January 15 at the request of the British Cabinet and stated that the British "hoped that the U.S. would not press Tunku to attend an Asian summit without recognition." Johnson told the British Ambassador that the United States "would stand firm against Sukarno's confrontation policy" and McGeorge Bundy reaffirmed that the United States was "not attempting to decide terms of 'Asian solution.' " Bundy suggested to Robert Kennedy that an "essential part of your visit to Tunku may be to determine what part of his position is his own and what part comes from London." (Telegram 1829 to Tokyo, January 17; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA)

But Harriman just had a good talk with Gore,/3/ who understands why we want to forestall any such unrealistic preconditions when there's at least a 50/50 chance of success of avoiding another nasty crisis in Southeast Asia.

/3/Harriman, Hilsman, and Tyler reviewed the progress of the Kennedy mission with Ormsby Gore on January 18. They emphasized that Sukarno "had come further than we had expected" and urged the British to encourage Tunku to be forthcoming. (Telegram 1021 to Manila, January 18; ibid.)

R.W. Komer/4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


21. Telegram From the Embassy in the Philippines to the Department of State/1/

Manila, January 20, 1964, 4 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 US/KENNEDY. Secret; Exdis; Flash. Repeated to Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Bangkok, London, Canberra for Hilsman, and CINCPAC for POLAD. Passed to the White House.

1071. At 2-1/2 hour breakfast meeting Malacanang this morning Attorney General and President Macapagal agreed on following time table for efforts to get tripartite meetings going.

1. From Kuala Lumpur Attorney General would proceed Djakarta where Sukarno would instruct cessation military activities Kalimantan. Hope is that by January 29 all such activities including guerrilla activities would have ceased. Attorney General would proceed to Bangkok to fill in Thanat Khoman and suggest that Thanat organize meeting at level of Foreign Minister in Bangkok around February 7.

2. Bangkok meeting would begin negotiations for later summit meeting and would provide time during which effectiveness of cessation of military action could be verified.

3. Philippines prefer Thais over Japanese both to organize tripartite meeting at ministerial level and to investigate any alleged military incidents which might occur by either side, although President Macapag- al said he would accede to wishes of other parties if they felt strongly.

4. Prior to having Attorney General's report on conversations in Tokyo President Macapagal had already made tentative plans visit Tunku in Phnom Penh and asked whether in Attorney General's judgment this would be useful. Attorney General replied that only good could come of such meeting provided Philippines had assured themselves that Sukarno was informed and agreed. Macapagal instructed Lopez confirm Sukarno's agreement such meeting. It was left that Macapagal-Tunku meeting could take place at any time without interfering with tripartite ministerial negotiations. Lopez said that idea of Macapagal-Tunku meeting originated with British Ambassador Addis.

5. Macapagal asked whether Attorney General should not also try persuade Sukarno suspend political as well as military confrontation since polemics before and during period tripartite meetings could be just as dangerous. Attorney General agreed and also suggested that this should be on Bangkok agenda.

6. Attorney General briefed Ambassador Addis fully on the above points. Addis seemed most concerned lest British be put into a box on military withdrawals. Attorney General assured him that no proposals had been made regarding withdrawal of troops. Discussions on Tokyo and Manila concerned cessation of military activities only.

7. Macapagal and Lopez seemed interested in bringing Sihanouk into Malaysia problem and at one point suggested Cambodians as neutral nation to investigate border incidents. They implied Cambodian involvement could be helpful in resolving misunderstandings between US and Cambodia. We replied that Malaysia problem was separate and far more dangerous to stability in Southeast Asia Cambodian-US relations and suggested that two should not be mixed. Lopez said that US-Cambodian impasse over radio broadcast on verge of solution which was especially significant in view of fact that Sihanouk planned to be Kuala Lumpur at same time as Attorney General. Phils obviously interested in starting separate diplomatic "adventure" by engaging Attorney General with Sihanouk during this mission.

8. Attorney General urgently requested guidance from Department on tactics in Kuala Lumpur in event Sihanouk should request meeting.

Macapagal seemed genuinely pleased with results of Tokyo meeting and with frankness and promptness of consultation with him. Participating in the meeting for the Phils were Macapagal, Lopez, Romulo and Cayco.

Large part of meeting was devoted to explanation by Phils of their view of problems in Southeast Asia and role which they wished to play. Full report on this aspect will follow septel./2/

/2/Not further identified.



22. Memorandum From Robert W. Komer of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, January 22, 1964.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Files of Robert W. Komer, Malaysia, Dec. 63-Mar. 66. Secret.

The Attorney General's mission is coming along very well. Latest report last night shows he cleared the tough Kuala Lumpur hurdle by getting the Tunku to agree to a tripartite meeting if Sukarno suspends military action./2/ One fly in the ointment is that Tunku agreed to meet only at ministerial level with possible Summit later, whereas Sukarno wanted the initial bargain to include a Summit. But Bobby should be able to work this out.

/2/As reported in telegram 631 from Kuala Lumpur. January 22. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 3 MALPHILINDO)

To tape things down and forestall each side putting out its own slanted version, Bobby will probably issue a public statement (either in Djakarta, where he is now, or Bangkok his next stop). From Bangkok he heads direct to London, where hopefully the British will be duly grateful, and then home Monday or Tuesday.

In short, it looks as though he may have gotten the Malaysia dispute "out of the jungle and onto the conference table." Subsequent negotiation of a compromise settlement will be tricky, but if the parties come to the table it means they want to make a deal.

R.W. Komer/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.


23. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State/1/

Djakarta, January 23, 1964, 4:30 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Immediate; Limdis. Received at 6:25 a.m. and repeated to Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, London, Manila, Tokyo, and CINCPAC for POLAD. Copies were passed to the White House and CIA.

1510. From Atty General. Embtel 1502./2/ Following summarizes Atty Gen's (AG) talks with Sukarno (First Dep PM/FonMin Subandrio, Second Dep PM Leimena, Third Dep PM Chairul Saleh, Dep FonMin Suwito, Army C/S Gen Jani, Min Defense Gen Nasution also present) evening Jan 23:

/2/In telegram 1502 from Djakarta, January 22, Kennedy reported from Djakarta that Sukarno was not prepared to call a cease-fire unless the United States convinced the Malaysians to state they were ceasing hostilities. Kennedy stated he would not associate himself with any move which equated Malaysian military moves with Indonesia guerrillas and troops in Malaysia. Kennedy agreed to issue a general statement that all sides agreed that talks were desirable and a cessation of hostilities was required to provide the necessary calm. (Ibid.)

1. At Sukarno's invitation AG outlined results discussions in Manila and KL, stating that procedures discussed in Tokyo were acceptable in both capitals. He said both Macapagal and Tunku believed situation was deteriorating in way which involved threat to entire area and that they were interested in peaceful, Asian solution. AG had told Tunku that if the tripartite meeting was arranged Sukarno would put out statement ordering cessation hostilities and that organized military activities would take day or so to halt while guerrilla activities would take perhaps seven days (Sukarno interjected "at least") to control.

AG said he had talked about dates and calculated that assuming week required to call off military confrontation, i.e., military activities would cease around end of January, ministerial meeting could take place in Bangkok Feb 5-6. AG said the arrangements for this meeting would be up to Thanat Khoman who it was understood was acceptable to all three parties to dispute. AG would go to Bangkok to fill him [in] personally over dinner Thursday night, Jan 24; after that go to London.

2. AG discussed designation of observer-investigator mentioning that there was some reluctance on part both Phils and Malaysians to accept Japanese but that Thai acceptable to both. AG said Malaysians would like UNSYG to name Thais. Sukarno worried this matter two or three times with questions but in end accepted proposal.

3. AG mentioned Manila's thought that political confrontation should also cease and discussed desirability of stopping controversial radio broadcasts. Both Sukarno and Subandrio indicated they were interested in this aspect and agreed to stop anti-Malaysian radio broadcasts and knock off political confrontation if other side would do same.

4. AG concluded this part presentation by stating that as result his talks with all three parties he convinced that each interested in peaceful settlement, that Malaysians and Phils both feel situation deteriorating and that in his judgment all parties willing to enter talks in good faith. He said he had left Jim Bell in KL and that if reports from him there and from Ambs in other countries involved should indicate any change in necessary atmosphere of good faith, he would tell this to Sukarno.

5. Sukarno questioned AG closely whether Tunku would come into conference as "Prime Minister of Malaysia." Sukarno's first reaction was that it would be impossible for him to meet with Tunku as Prime Minister of Malaysia. AG explained that he had discussed this issue with Tunku and had stressed to him that recognition could not be pre-condition of Sukarno, and that each side could hold its own standpoint on this matter, i.e., Tunku could come as PM of Malaysia and Sukarno could meet with him, regarding Tunku in any way he wanted. AG also stressed that issue should be minimized by both sides and not allowed to ruin chance for talks. Sukarno finally accepted. (Indos were perhaps somewhat persuaded by fact, which was spelled out to them, that US reps regularly talk to ChiCom reps without involving recognition question.)

6. Sukarno and Subandrio, with some assistance from Gen Jani, made strong attempt revise talks in Tokyo to provide for withdrawal of troops along border in Kalimantan by both Indos and British. They pressed hard on necessity British issuing cease fire order at same time they would do so. "I can only give order to my troops to cease fire if British give order to theirs," Sukarno said. There was extended argument about this in which AG made clear that he regarded Indos major offenders in this matter and it was hardly possible to ask Malaysians or British to announce cease fire. It was Indos who were making most of incursions although there might have been few incidents by other side. It was Indos who were out to crush Malaysia not vice versa. AG said he would not be party to equating Indo military activities with those defensive activities by other side.

Sukarno argued that in Tokyo "two times I said 'both sides.'" Amb Zain interjected unhelpfully "We Indonesians all understood there would be cease fire on both sides." Gen Jani, too, said he had understood that if Indonesia withdrew their troops British would also withdraw theirs. AG said withdrawal of troops was impractical and was not what had been agreed in Tokyo. Jani said there were two groups of fighters: regulars and "Kalimantan freedom fighters." He said latter would cooperate only if they thought that what Indo did would benefit them. If British did not cease mopping up activities against them they would defend themselves. AG repeatedly reminded Sukarno it was Malaysians not British who required make commitments on military activities in Malaysia.

7. AG said arrangement would not be ideal but there was no alternative. He said he would do what he could and that US Ambassadors in capitals concerned would also do what they could do to help keep incidents from getting out of hand. Main thing was to get talks going. Surely guerrillas could protect themselves for few weeks. If there were incidents they could be investigated. AG had proceeded to other capitals on basis Sukarno's commitment to him in Tokyo that he would issue cease fire order to Indo troops. Without that there could be no talks.

8. After extended argument on this point, Sukarno switched discussion to his problem of selling cease fire to Indo people. Sukarno asked AG whether he would ask British "Are you willing silently or otherwise to order cease fire"? AG said he had already asked this of Malaysians and that their answer was affirmative. AG again stressed that it was Indo military activity which was causing trouble and which had to be stopped before talks could proceed. AG said it was clear to him that Malaysians and those in support of them would welcome Indo cease fire.

9. Sukarno and others finally abandoned their attempts alter Tokyo agreement. Sukarno and Subandrio pressed AG earnestly, however, for general statement AP press conference scheduled noon Jan 23 that parties concerned all agreed on desirability of talks and necessity cessation military activities to provide period of calm that would make talks possible. AG agreed try to make some general statement to this effect stressing however that he wished to save most of this for announcement he would make in Bangkok. (See operative para AG's statement to press Jan 24--reftel.)

10. Sukarno agreed ministers meeting should be held Bangkok but insisted that venue for summit be decided at ministers meeting and not beforehand. Sukarno indicated he had promised Japanese that summit might be held Tokyo but assured us there would be no shift to Phnom Penh.

11. Min Chairul Saleh asked whether AG would talk with British about causes of tensions between them and Indonesians. He referred particularly to British impounding C-130 spare parts in HK. AG agreed consider discussing with British any thoughts on Indo-British relationship which Indos could give him in memo form but promised nothing. Saleh indicated he would provide AG with memo on HK situation prior AG's departure. Later, after dinner, Subandrio raised this matter with AG again stressing difficulties GOI having with labor because of HK situation. Subandrio was particularly insistent that engines for C-130s which Indos had acquired from Lockheed had been "confiscated" by British.

Comment: Sukarno is frequently different man in Djakarta where he is subject to and conscious of domestic political pressures than he is outside Indonesia. This fits AG's impression on this occasion. At times during this talk it was almost as if agreement reached Tokyo didn't exist. However, Sukarno (with some help from Subandrio) came around at end and agreed to stand by Tokyo agreement. This was obviously difficult for him in face situation here. In AG's and my judgment situation is most delicate one which will require utmost in effort and coordination to hold. Repeated Indo reference during these talks to British "divide and rule" tactics and to Tunku's alleged inclination exploit any concessions by GOI for domestic political purposes were two striking examples depth Indo suspicions. Nevertheless, AG secured Sukarno's agreement to give cease fire order and to otherwise proceed on basis agreement reached Tokyo. I think Sukarno wants to resolve this matter although whether his terms for substantive settlement would be acceptable to other side remains, of course, to be seen. Sukarno's announcement of cease fire order to press as he stood beside AG and his favorable reference to AG's efforts (see separate report on press conf)/3/ would appear to underline impetus AG's talks here have given possibility negotiated settlement.

/3/Telegram 516 from Djakarta, January 23. (Ibid.)



24. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in India/1/

Washington, January 23, 1964, 10:46 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Flash; Verbatim Text. Drafted by Ingraham and cleared by Cuthell. Repeated to London. The original message, delivered by Ormsby Gore to Rusk, January 22, is in the Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Malaysia, Vol. I, Memo, 11/63-3/64.

1491. Attorney General Kennedy's plane scheduled stop New Delhi for refueling en route London about 1820 hours GMT today. Important that following message be delivered him before departure New Delhi.

For Attorney General

Following is text message from Foreign Secretary Butler to Secretary Rusk, dated January 21 (unnecessary words omitted):

"I have been following with great attention reports from British Reps in area of Mr. Kennedy's efforts secure suspension of Indonesian military confrontation against Malaysia. We most grateful to Mr. Kennedy for keeping us so fully informed. I am glad too that he seems be making such good progress towards getting Indonesians stop their attacks. Whatever ultimate outcome negotiations, suspension tragically unnecessary fighting along Borneo border must be a clear gain.

Nevertheless, there is one aspect Mr. Kennedy's otherwise helpful intervention which does cause me some concern and which I shall want discuss with him when he reaches London. This is emphasis he has been laying on need for "Asian solution" to problem Indonesian confrontation against Malaysia. I believe that what he means is that next step should be meeting three Asian Governments involved: Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines. We would agree with this and, if such a meeting were to open way for closer association these three countries on entirely voluntary basis and without any element Indonesian coercion of Malaysia, we would welcome this. We have never been opposed to Macapagal's concept of Maphilindo as such, but only to its employment as pretext for isolating Malaysia from Western support.

This brings me to nub of present message. Even if these three Asian Governments met without any representatives Western Powers present, their discussions are bound to include certain topics of direct concern to Britain and West as whole. I am thinking particularly of main target Indonesian hostility: the Anglo/Malaysian Defence Agreement and base facilities in Malaysia enjoyed by HMG under this Agreement. If, as I fear they will, Indonesians make abrogation these arrangements a condition for final termination confrontation and restoration friendly relations with Malaysia, we think Malaysia will be bound refuse and would be in Western interests that she should do so. Otherwise, how can we ask Malaysia (with her population of ten million) to entrust her future independence to good will of 100 million Indonesians? Secondly, HMG would thereby be asked renounce all future prospects of making any effective contribution to defence Southeast Asia.

These, I suggest, are not problems which West can afford consider in isolation. They are not purely British problems and cannot be solved without most far-reaching repercussions on future of Southeast Asia as a whole or on unity and effectiveness Western Alliance. To take worse possible case, termination Indonesian confrontation on terms likely lead to neutralisation of Malaysia under Indonesian influence would have profound effects in mainland Southeast Asia. Neighbouring Thailand might reconsider her adhesion to Western Alliance. There would be repercussions in Laos and Cambodia. Above all I think your problems in South Vietnam would be greatly increased.

All this leads me to propose that, when our Prime Minister meets your President in Washington next month, we should try to look at Western policy in Southeast Asia as a whole rather than at individual problems of Britain over Malaysia or of US over South Vietnam. When I say Western policy, I am naturally also thinking of Australia and New Zealand, whose interest is even more direct than that of either Britain or US. As I see it, post-war extension of Communist influence in Southeast Asia has been largely due to our failure achieve such a united approach to problems of area as a whole. Again and again particular Western countries have fought isolated and ultimately futile rear guard actions in a single sector. Now, even if it is at eleventh hour, I think we should attempt fresh approach. If you agree, I hope you will also agree on importance of avoiding any irrevocable commitment on nature of a final solution to problem Indonesian confrontation until we have met and discussed this problem in its wider context."


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