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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 113-141

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

Djakarta, March 4, 1965, 10 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret; Priority.

1735. Ref: Embtel 1730./2/ Country Team and I have carefully considered possible retaliatory action against GOI and have reached following conclusions:

/2/In telegram 1730 from Djakarta, March 3, the Embassy prepared a list of 20 possible retaliatory actions for countering increasing Indonesian harassment of U.S. official operations in Indonesia as well as an estimate of probable Indonesian counter reactions. The list was in increasing order of severity. (Ibid.)

1. While there some chance serious discussions with influential Indos (particularly military) of what US can and will do unless GOI stops its harassments US installations would be effective, we doubt on balance that such a move would evoke desired response. On contrary it would probably only tend confirm and accelerate direction Sukarno and Subandrio have chosen for Indo policy, i.e. de facto and hopefully temporary alliance with Peiping and Hanoi. We not at all hopeful Indo military, faced with virtual ultimatum from USG, would take action to force change in GOI policies or personnel. More likely, they would be swept under in wave intense nationalism against foreign intervention propelled by personal emotionalism Sukarno, Subandrio and others.

2. On balance, we believe USG would lose more than it would gain by responding to GOI harassments in kind. While it might be self-satisfying for the moment to close Indo information programs in US, this would clearly preclude us from carrying on any info or cultural programs at our Embassy here. Similarly, economic retaliatory measures suggested reftel would not seriously affect Indo economy but would only drive Indos closer to Communist Bloc and accelerate takeover remaining US-owned enterprises (oil companies) here. Real punitive measures also highly inadvisable while we have so many hostages in Indo.

3. Only effective retaliation we have is in military field. Show of military force against Indonesia would undoubtedly impress Indos but would, of course, create whole new situation presumably calling for cashing by Indo of commitments ChiComs have allegedly made to them. Situation does not yet warrant taking that risk. Over longer run we believe military and other actions which show clear evidence US determination hold fast in nearby free world areas such as S. Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines will have salutary effect on Indo behavior.

4. While we not in favor of punitive retaliation against GOI, do believe it essential we make rapid but orderly adjustments in our establishment and programs to reflect present inhospitable situation.

These matters are currently under thorough inter-agency discussion here and specific recommendations as to AID, USIS, Peace Corps, MILTAG, etc, will be forwarded separately.

Wish emphasize these adjustments should be on orderly basis without appearance this punitive action. Otherwise our problems will be increased and we will probably find it impossible get our equipment and material out. If Department concurs this course of action believe it important also that Congress be briefed fully and urged refrain from provocative statements which will only compound our problems here.

Important thing is to avoid dramatizing this reduction in way which may bring violent Indo reaction resulting in danger to US personnel and possibility of undignified route similar to British exit year and half ago.



114. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Malaysia/1/

Washington, March 6, 1965, 2:03 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 32-1 INDON-MALAYSIA. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Cuthell and approved by Green. Also sent to Tokyo for Bundy and repeated to Bangkok, Djakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Singapore, and Canberra.

1428. Kuala Lumpur's 1109./2/ Department's attitude toward current motions in direction negotiation Indo-Malaysian dispute has been as follows:

/2/In telegram 1109 from Kuala Lumpur, March 5, Bell suggested that Department officials talk to the British about an AACC in which Sukarno would choose Pakistan or Cambodia, the Philippines would designate Thailand at U.S. urging, and Malaysia would consider Nigeria as their candidate. (Ibid.)

1. We have continued believe bilateral contacts between senior officials of GOI and GOM could be useful to help locate areas within which agreement possible, and to prevent Indos from claiming GOM avoiding settlement. We therefore encouraged HMG and GOA to support or at least not deter Razak-Subandrio meeting.

2. For same reasons we have not opposed Sukarno-Tunku meeting, subject qualification that at that level meeting would be less formal, would lose some of flavor of "contact" and would take on air of negotiation.

3. We have not wanted sponsor negotiations at this point because we think they will inevitably lead to some version of AACC idea, and we think it would be premature and perhaps dangerous for GOM to accept such vague concept until preliminary quiet contacts have established more precisely what is meant.

4. While there are advantages in AACC, as idea stands undefined at present, it has these dangers: Sukarno has publicly stated and reiterated that he will accept any solution proposed by AACC. This is fine public position, but at same time various Indo diplomats have recently confirmed what we have previously assumed, which is that Indos would insist that AACC work on basis consensus unless, of course, they had pro-Indo majority. At least Indo nominee would not accept position which too hard for GOI to swallow, and other Asians would be most unlikely incur Indo enmity by pushing too hard for such position. We thus feel we could rule out idea that AACC would confirm UN ascertainment and certify Malaysia as pure. AACC would be left with choice of recognizing inability reach agreement or of coming up with some new form of "testing will of people of North Kalimantan." This being case, we think that what form this testing procedure would take must be worked out informally between GOM and GOI before concept accepted. Otherwise, GOM is likely to be faced with AACC recommendation for plebiscite which it might feel it had to reject, thus giving ball game to Sukarno.

5. As far as Phils are concerned, we have felt they have no place in bilateral contacts because their presence reintroduces Borneo claim, because their method of operation via press leak has been dramatically unhelpful, and because Indos have been most successful in using them as divisive element in past. At same time, if matters proceed past bilateral stage in trilateral meeting, we think it important that they be fully aware of situation and our views of it in hope we can mitigate disadvantages inherent in their presence. This produces dilemma: if we talk to them too fully and too soon we may encourage their desire attend, while if we leave them out too long we may have uninformed and destructive Philippine involvement.

At this stage we inclined think we should not push Phils until it clear that tripartite meeting is inevitable. We expect, however, that Macapagal or Mendez or both will want Bundy's views on Indo-Malaysian negotiations, and recognize subject cannot be by-passed. If this happens, suggest Ambassador and Bundy might give briefing on current status of contacts, drawing on points 1 to 4 above, and endorsing AACC structure outlined Kuala Lumpur's 1109, with which we fully agree.



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

Djakarta, March 8, 1965, 5 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret; Immediate. Repeated to Manila for Bundy and FELG, and to CINCPAC, Medan, and Surabaya. Passed to the White House, Defense, and CIA.

1784. Embtel 795./2/ As set forth Embtel 1643/3/ and other recent messages, Country Team and I are agreed on orderly reduction and regrouping of American-official presence here worked out as cooperatively as possible with GOI or those elements GOI which are responsive in that way, and consistent with task US can and should try to accomplish in Indonesia. We are against reduction beyond that as either punitive or defensive measure unless and until security situation worsens markedly. Despite rising tide anti-Americanism which has closed our USIS operations, forced beginnings of takeover of American private property and made continuation some of our other projects and programs, including AID, of marginal value or impossible, we feel that we should try to weather storm and retain nucleus of mission which could again mount programs designed to assert effectively US influence in this country. It is our hope that reductions in various agencies now under way may to some extent increase and enhance work in small mission we hope to form here in way which will make it more water tight and storm worthy. In general we would like to (a) fold smaller and hope fully hard hitting information and psychological staff into Embassy and Consulates and continue contest for minds of Indonesians, particularly youth; (b) retain AID building (despite difficulties noted AIDTO 1055),/4/ sufficient housing to accommodate small AID staff (we would plan to use building also, if agreement can be gotten from GOI, to take some of pressure off of Embassy which is bulging at seams for space); (c) small Defense liaison staff attached to Embassy in place of MILTAG (perhaps also to be officed in AID building); (d) residual civic action liaison to be continued by foregoing; (e) [garble--Peace?] Corps to extent requested, used and protected by GOI.

/2/In telegram 795 to Djakarta, March 5, the Department indicated that the United States must reduce American presence in Indonesia beyond cutting the USIS program. The Department suggested "quiet and undramatic" reductions, including a prompt close-out of the AID program by June 30, planning for a possible Peace Corps withdrawal, a closing of the Military Advisory Group operation by the end of the fiscal year, and urgent consideration of evacuation of U.S. officials' dependents. (Ibid.)

/3/Document 109.

/4/Dated March 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, AID (US) 1 INDON)

Following are more detailed comments on numbered paras reftel in seriatim;

1. AID. CT considers situation requires withdrawal most of USAID on basis b AIDTO 1049/5/ with following modifications:

/5/Dated March 4. (Ibid.)

(a) University contracts be terminated ASAP view limitations imposed on their operations by program restrictions and their isolated exposure possible harassment. Would attempt terminate contracts and withdraw personnel as soon as feasible.

(b) USAID and AID/W initiate action immediately to cancel outstanding procurement and divert shipments en route as deemed appropriate.

(c) We hope that some participant training might continue. While we will not press GOI on this we would hope have funds and US administrative personnel available to be responsive to any Indo request for training in US, at least until it absolutely certain GOI will approve no such training whatever.

USAID preparing separate message response AIDTO 1049 recommending schedule required actions. In brief, we envisage residual AID staff of 8-10 persons as against present strength of 70. Edwards will discuss problems with Poats at Baguio.

2. Peace Corps. Believe PC should remain Indonesia as long as volunteers can continue to do their assigned jobs without undue harassment. This may be possible if planned reductions US presence here produces easing of tensions and GOI actively implements announced desire maintain good relations with USA. If, however, withdrawal USIS allowed become focal point increased anti-American activity PC will not escape attack but indeed will be all more evident target as others depart.

Maintenance effective PC operations in Indonesia will require GOI take additional steps to promote recently reiterated Sukarno desire continue PC in Indonesia. This subject currently under discussion with FonMin; response we receive will be significant test GOI determination keep PC here in spite of current atmosphere. Without some strong Sukarno support to regional govts we believe unlikely PC can continue operate effectively under any circumstances. Do not believe any evacuation required at this time; physical safety PCVS not seriously in question whereas any such moves would signal drive to oust all PCVS. Will keep this under constant review and notify Dept soonest if situation changes.

3. MILTAG. Do not consider voluntarily close-out to be in US interest, however, believe we should consider deactivation of MILTAG as such and establishment within Embassy of "Special Assistant to Ambassador for Defense Liaison Activities." This Defense Liaison Group to have mission maintain US military presence, perform MAP and civic action residual function, maintain direct link to CINCPAC and DOD, and provide base for future expansion of MAP or other Defense activities should such expansion become desirable. Organization should include officer representation from each service dept, personnel to perform continuing specialized functions, and minimum clerical and administrative support. Believe this can be accomplished with eight military personnel (5 officers and 3 enlisted), which includes spaces for Signal Corps officer to supervise Philco contract, army schools liaison officer at Bandung, and enlisted radio man to support military communications system at the Embassy. Believe reduction below numbers proposed above should not be considered until requirements are further reduced or until further reduction is made necessary by actions of Indonesian Govt. This represents drastic cut from present MILTAG strength of 25 enlisted men and officers. Proposed organizations will be covered in greater detail in MILTAG reply to CINCPAC message DTG 030419Z./6/

/6/Not found.

4. Evacuation. Do not believe advisable yet move into formal phase of E and E plan. To do so would almost inevitably leak to Indonesian community and complicate our problems; at very best such action would add to morale problems in American community. What I need in face this unpredictable situation is standby authority to (a) authorize advance travel for dependents who would like to leave on voluntary basis, (b) advance authorization to ship HHE, if necessary, and we strongly recommend CONUS as safehaven (Deptel 798),/6/ (c) use foreign flag vessels if American shipping not available. Embassy believes it would also be wise, on contingency basis, to select and make other necessary preliminary arrangements for representation of US interests in Indonesia by third power. (I would think that Japanese Embassy here would be one of few here with sufficient staff and standing with GOI to do this effectively--would welcome Dept's comments.) Preparations for fulfillment provisions FAM 7-9507 could then be completed.

/6/Not found.

5. USIS Regrouping. See TOUSI 215./7/

/7/Not found.

Reconstituted programs outlined above based on strong belief it in US interest, at least until game progresses a bit further, to maintain nucleus MILTAG and USAID (possibly under other names) along lines outlined above for residual reporting responsibilities and other situations that may develop. Number of events could alter present direction Indo politics and provide renewed openings for US initiative. Among these are (a) possible replacement of Sukarno through death or incapacitation; (b) possible army move to stem present trends; or (c) conceivably shift of Malaysian confrontation out of military arena. None of these at all certain but all possible. More likely is hope, as stated Embtel 1643 that with less conspicuous and smaller mission here GOI will find it easier to protect us and that our relations will accordingly, and despite continued foreign policy differences, be eased. This assumes of course GOI desires continued relations. While this also not certain, believe it clearly in US national interest to continue on this assumption until situation clarifies way in which GOI cooperates in orderly withdrawal of USIS installations will provide barometer for future action across board. If we are successful in closing down USIS without exacerbation already difficult situation, I propose that I have frank discussion with Sukarno/Subandrio re remainder of our programs in effort reach understanding. Do not believe we should move too fast with actions which will be interpreted by Indos as retaliatory. Let us have our plans ready so as to be able move fast if necessary and desirable but take soundings as we go. As Dept aware, stakes in game are high and we should not burn any bridges before absolutely necessary.

Subandrio has promised see DCM March 9 to discuss surplus housing and related matters. We should if possible get his agreement on our retention AID building and part of AID housing as well as on use AID building for some other elements this mission. Would appreciate reaction Dept and other agencies soonest.

(AIDTO 1055 received after preparation this message but presents no basic inconsistency with USAID proposal in para 1 above. Will reply part I following Baguio discussions. Response part II being provided separately.)



116.Memorandum From Chester L. Cooper of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1

Washington, March 13, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65, [1 of 2]. Secret.

Jones on Johnson-Sukarno Exchange

Jones suggests (see attached)/2/ that the President send a note to Sukarno to:

/2/Telegram 1850 from Djakarta, March 13, not attached. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US)

1. Express concern re deteriorating U.S.-Indonesian relations;

2. "Agree to disagree" as friends;

3. Reassure Sukarno that CIA has no intent to kill him, and that our aid to Malaysia does not reflect major change in U.S. policy;

4. Suggest a summit meeting.

I think a note to Sukarno from the President, covering points 1 and 2 above, might be a good idea; it won't solve the problem, but it probably won't hurt.

I think it unwise for the President to stoop to CIA-assassination fears./3/ Sukarno is psychopathic on this score and he has been assured, reassured and re-re-assured to no avail. He seems to enjoy this death-wish and appears to use it to justify to himself and to others any of his anti-American acts.

/3/In telegram 1869 from Djakarta, March 16, Jones reported that he had informed Sukarno and Subandrio that he had received assurances from the "CIA Head for the Far East" that there were no anti-Sukarno and anti-Indonesia subversive operations. Subandrio admitted that he had no reliable evidence to the contrary, but Jones was still convinced that only a personal denial by President Johnson would "carry full weight." (Ibid.)

A high-level meeting should not be dismissed out-of-hand, but if it takes place I think a scenario along this line should be worked out:

(1) Jones leaves for East-West Center.

(2) Jones invites Sukarno as old friend to his induction ceremonies in Honolulu.

(3) The President (Vice President?) decides to attend himself because of his friendship for Jones, because of the significance of the E-W Center in our Asian policy, because he has never been to the 50th State since he became President.

(4) The President takes this occasion to meet for an hour or so with Sukarno. But two points should be mentioned:

(1) I don't think we can expect anything much to emerge from such a meeting.

(2) I believe the Department (at least FE) is opposed to the idea. See attached memo for some further thoughts on Indonesia, Sukarno and All That./4/

/4/Reference is to a 4-page unattributed paper, March 10, which recommended "a carrot and stick proposition" to Sukarno since U.S.-Indonesian relations were at a crossroads and Sukarno must choose which fork to travel. The memorandum recommended as carrots a Presidential letter to Sukarno written "more in sorrow than in anger," a visit by Harriman or Robert Kennedy to offer U.S. good services to mediate the dispute with Malaysia, and the prospect of additional U.S. economic assistance. The United States would pass the word to moderate politicians and military leaders that the U.S. offer was their last chance. Should Indonesians reject the offer, the United States would increase the pressure by giving military assistance to the British and Malaysians including U.S. advisers. Should Indonesia persist in aggression against Malaysia, the United States should use air and naval power against Indonesian supply lines and back "independence" movements in the outer islands. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65, [1 of 2])



117. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between the Under Secretary of State (Ball) and Director of Central Intelligence McCone/1/

Washington, March 14, 1965, 10:30 a.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, Indonesia, [4/12/64-11/10/65]. Confidential.

McCone mentioned two cables/2/ were in on the subject they had discussed last night; asked if Ball was having a meeting on this subject. Ball suggested a meeting at 11:30./3/ [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] from McCone's shop will represent them.

/2/Not further identified.

/3/No record of this meeting has been found.

One serious aspect pointed out by McCone was he thought we should alert the oil interests there./4/ From available information, the grab will go forward. They would impound all tankers in the dock. We ought to get out. Ball agreed.

/4/On March 16 Robert Barnett met with 10 U.S. oil company representatives, 2 U.S. rubber representatives, and a representative of Pan American Airlines to brief them on the Indonesian situation. (Memorandum of conversation, March 16; National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US)

McCone felt we should explore what might be done constructively to offer some hope to elements who are not all wedded to this philosophy of Sukarno and Subandrio. In this respect he mentioned [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] who because of his identification with the conservative political elements friendly to the West, has become obscure./5/

/5/On March 15 Ball telephoned McGeorge Bundy to express his concern about Indonesia which was "moving very rapidly in the wrong direction and picking up a certain amount of momentum." Ball noted that Indonesia was the fifth largest country in the world, was strategically located, and "may be more important to us than South V-N." Ball suggested that the President should have a chance to look at Indonesian policy. Bundy asked Ball to prepare a 2-3 page paper outlining policy choices. (Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, [4/12/64-11/10/65])


118. Memorandum From the Under Secretary of State (Ball) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 18, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65. Secret. A note on the source text indicates that the President saw it. According to a Department of State copy of this memorandum it was drafted by Ball. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Ball Files: Lot 74 D 272, Southeast Asia) On March 16 Ball initially drafted this memorandum; a copy is ibid., Central Files 1964-66, POL 1 INDON-US. According to a memorandum of conversation between Ball and McGeorge Bundy, Ball agreed to rewrite it in light of the changed situation in Indonesia. They also agreed along with Rusk that it would be a good idea to send Bunker to "take a quick look" and give them his "sound judgment." (Memorandum of telephone conversation, March 17, 10:15 a.m.; Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Telephone Conversations, Indonesia, [4/12/64-11/10/65])

Proposed Mission for Ellsworth Bunker to Indonesia

Our relations with Indonesia are on the verge of falling apart. Sukarno is turning more and more toward the Communist PKI. The Army, which has been the traditional countervailing force, has its own problems of internal cohesion.

Within the past few days the situation has grown increasingly more ominous. Not only has the management of the American rubber plants been taken over, but there are dangers of an imminent seizure of the American oil companies.

Under these circumstances, Secretary Rusk and I feel it essential to get a clear, objective reading of the situation.

Ambassador Jones has been in Djakarta for seven years. He is tired and worried. He has done everything possible to advance American interests through his close personal relations with Sukarno. But that line seems pretty well played out.

Before we recommend to you some of the hard decisions that may be required over the next few weeks we think it would be valuable to have Ellsworth Bunker make a fresh and objective reading of the situation./2/ After he had reported his conclusions we would be in a better position to advise whether

/2/On March 18 at 11:10 a.m., Ball telephoned Bunker and asked "how he would feel about making a quick trip out, leaving the question as to permanent representation based on the recommendation Bunker would make about the type and quality of Ambassador we want out there." Ball told Bunker that "an independent view by someone who would be objective and tough-minded would help the President make some of the hard decisions we will have to be making out there." Bunker agreed. (Memorandum of telephone conversation; ibid.)

a. You should send Bunker to Djakarta as Ambassador;
b. You should send someone less prestigious; or
c. The post should be left vacant as an expression of our dissatisfaction pending an improvement in relations.

We recommend, therefore, that Ambassador Bunker be asked to pay a brief visit to Djakarta. He is prepared to leave next Wednesday. His mission would have the following objectives:

1. He could carry a letter from you to Sukarno. Because of Sukarno's respect for you this might be the means of temporarily stabilizing the situation.

2. He could make use of his own prestige with the Indonesians (you will recall he was the man who negotiated the West New Guinea settlement) to try to get a commitment from Sukarno to take a more moderate course.

3. He would be able to recommend the decisions we may be forced to make regarding the further evacuation of personnel; the handling of the problem of the oil companies, etc.

If you think well of this idea, we will prepare a draft letter from you to Sukarno which Ambassador Bunker could deliver. Meanwhile, the mere fact that Sukarno knew that Ambassador Bunker was proposing to visit Djakarta on your behalf could have a stabilizing effect.

George W. Ball


119. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) and James C. Thompson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, March 24, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 9, Mar.-Apr. 14, 1965. Secret. Also from Thomson.

Your meeting with Ambassador Bunker, today at 1 p.m./2/

/2/President Johnson met Bunker from 1:30 to 1:38 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) No other record this meeting has been found. Jones was informed officially of Bunker's mission in telegram 860 to Djakarta, March 19. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 7 US/BUNKER)

1. Ambassador Bunker is seeing you at 1 p.m. today in connection with his mission to Indonesia. He is seeking general guidelines from you on the purpose of his trip. He will be leaving for Djakarta this weekend and will probably stay for a week or ten days.

2. As you know, Bunker was deeply involved in the Indonesian problem when he served successfully as United Nations Mediator for the West Irian (West New Guinea) dispute between the Indonesians and the Dutch in 1962. He is devoting this week to an intensive updating on the current state of U.S.-Indonesia relations.

3. We would suggest that you stress the following points in your talk with the Ambassador:

(1) It is clearly in our interest to do what we can to arrest Indonesia's apparent drift into the Communist camp under the auspices of the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI). At stake are 100 million people, vast potential resources, and a strategically important chain of islands.

(2) There is disagreement both in our Djakarta Embassy and in Washington as to (a) Sukarno's real intentions; (b) the Indo power balance between Communists and non-Communists; and (c) what the U.S. can and should do--some recommend a "deep freeze" for Sukarno & Co.; others believe in a continued effort to win back their interest and friendship. You want his best judgment on these points.

(3) You would therefore like him to consult in depth with Ambassador Jones, with other members of the Country Team, with Sukarno, and with a broad spectrum of top Indonesian officials.



120. Editorial Note

In an April 23, 1965, letter to Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs William Bundy, Ambassador Howard Jones stated that he was "privy to plans for a coup here and write you to inform you of the possibility." Jones stated that he had informed only one other person in Djakarta, Edward E. Masters, the head of the Embassy's political section, "because any indication that USG even knows about this could be the kiss of death not only to the effort itself, but to those involved." Jones also told Bundy, "to play safe, I informed my contact that the U.S. Government can in no way participate in any effort of this kind. I nevertheless conveyed clearly my own sympathy with his objectives." Jones went on to explain that the tentative plans contemplated action in late May or June when Sukarno was out of the country and suggested that Bundy might want to share this information with the President. He told Bundy, "I should caution that we do not yet know how seriously the plans are to be taken." Jones assured Bundy that his information was based on "personal contact with one of the leaders of the coup group which represents important civil and military elements." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65)

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs Leonard Unger sent this letter to McGeorge Bundy at the White House suggesting that "he should be aware of this and you may wish to alert the President, although the information contained is obviously far from firm." (Memorandum from Unger to McGeorge Bundy, May 3; ibid.) There is no indication that the President was informed.

As it turned out, Jones' information proved to be "far from firm." Jones left Indonesia on May 24, 1965. On May 25 Jones cabled the Department of State from Bangkok in telegram 1879, that "plans referred to in my letter maturing slowly" and that "earlier it appeared as though some action against Sukarno government might be attempted while he was out of the country within the next weeks. This, it now develops, will not happen because people involved have not been able to move fast enough. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, PER JONES, HOWARD P.)


121. Report From Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker to President Johnson/1/

Washington, undated.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65. Confidential. Bunker sent this memorandum to the President under cover of an April 23 transmittal letter. (Ibid.) According to a memorandum from Thomson to McGeorge Bundy, April 19, Bunker wanted to see the President briefly on April 21 to give him an oral summary of his findings. According to Thomson, Bunker's "most urgent piece of business with the President is the recommendation of a replacement for Howard Jones. He is for the open door (versus the deep freeze) and will propose Hank Byroade; State heartily concurs. (So do I!)" (Ibid.) Bunker met with the President on April 26 from 7 to 7:32 p.m. (Ibid., President's Daily Diary) According to a memorandum from Thomson to McGeorge Bundy, April 30, the President approved Bunker's recommendations during that meeting. (Ibid., National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Memos, 3/65-9/65) See also Document 122.


Part I: General Conclusions

1. Because of the factors mentioned below Indonesian-American relations are unlikely to improve in the near future.

2. Ostensible reasons advanced by Sukarno for the deterioration of Indo-U.S. relations are:

a) U.S. recognition and support of Malaysia, as evidenced by the Johnson-Tunku communique/2/ and arms assistance ("a slap in the face");

/2/For text of the joint communique, July 23, 1964, see American Foreign Policy, Current Documents, 1964, pp. 899-900.

b) Our "intervention" in South Vietnam and support of the government which he held not representative of the people;

c) U.S. presence and bases in that part of the world.

3. Other and more fundamental reasons for the present state of Indo-U.S. relations which will continue to affect them adversely are:

a) Sukarno's ambition to solidify the Afro-Asian nations in a struggle of the NEFOS (New Emerging Forces) against the OLDEFOS (Old Established Forces) and to occupy himself a dominant position in the struggle;

b) Characterization of the West as representative of neo-colonialism and imperialism (NEKOLIM), therefore as the enemy of the newly independent countries. The U.S. as the most powerful leader of the developed countries is identified as enemy No. 1;

c) The influence of the PKI (Communist Party of Indonesia), which looks to Peking for inspiration and whose avowed purpose is to drive the U.S. out of Indonesia;

d) Sukarno's proclaimed Marxism and his avowed intention of doing away with capitalism in the process of socializing Indonesia;

e) Sukarno's view that creation of national unity and a sense of national identity are more important than economic development; hence his emphasis on the "romanticism of revolution", and external issues to involve the emotional response of his people;

f) Sukarno's confidence that he can bend the PKI to his will; hence his emphasis on NASOKOM, the unification of the national, the religious and the communist elements into a national consensus;

g) Sukarno's mystical belief in his own destiny, hence his conviction that it is his mission to lead his country to unity and power; and because of doubts about his health, to accelerate the process. 4. While the settlement of the Malaysia problem directly, and that of Southeast Asia indirectly, might remove some tension in Indo-U.S. relations, it is probable that these will be under strain for a considerable period because of the factors enumerated above.

5. There are, however, elements of strength in the situation, but which at present find it expedient not to oppose the party line. These, which numerically outnumber the PKI, are:

a) The military, especially the army;

b) Moderate moslem political organizations;

c) Other moderate political elements now inactive. 6. The military, because of the widespread emotional popular support for Sukarno's policy of confrontation with Malaysia, and because of their adherence to constitutionality, support the confrontation policy.

It is believed, however, that the military understands that:

a) It cannot win a war with Malaysia as long as the latter has British backing;

b) A defeat would seriously damage its prestige domestically, hence increase relatively the strength of the PKI;

c) Would therefore prefer a settlement which would permit troops to return to Indonesia to be prepared for a future confrontation with the PKI and other extremists.

7. In terms of internal political power it is not in the U.S. interest to see the military defeated. Such a result, however, would not be unwelcome to the PKI which would like to discredit the present military leadership.

8. Sectors of the moslem population are increasingly restive over the growing power of the PKI. Clashes between these elements have already taken place in east and central Java and Sumatra.

9. A large and widespread U.S. presence provides the PKI and other extremist elements targets for attack.

A defense of the U.S. presence, even by the forces of law and order, is embarrassing to them and to those friendly to the U.S. since it subjects them to attack as defenders or stooges of the imperialists.

10. U.S. visibility should be reduced so that those opposed to the communists and extremists may be free to handle a confrontation, which they believe will come, without the incubus of being attacked as defenders of the neo-colonialists and imperialists.

11. Within the limitations imposed by the preceding paragraph the U.S. should maintain contact with the constructive elements of strength in Indonesia.

12. Indonesia essentially will have to save itself. U.S. policy should be directed toward creating conditions which will give the elements of potential strength the most favorable conditions for confrontation.

13. The struggle for succession has already begun. First Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio, devious and untrustworthy, is in the lead, following the communist line in an endeavor to use the PKI as a political base.

14. If Subandrio were to succeed Sukarno in the near future there is a probability that the military would try to force his retirement.

15. Sukarno is still the symbol of Indonesian unity and independence, believes in himself and his destiny, and is able and shrewd. There is little question of his continued hold on the loyalty of the Indonesian people, who in large measure look to him for leadership, trust his leadership, and are willing to follow him. No force in the country can attack him nor is there evidence that any significant group would want to do so.

16. Sukarno has, however, increasingly shown a tendency to take positions consistently favoring the pro-communist forces. Unless he moves to restore the balance, the drift toward communist domination of the country will continue.

17. The Indonesian economy:

a) Has not been effectively exploited since the country proclaimed its independence in 1945;

b) Development planning has been inept, and is today virtually non-existent;

c) Over half the population live outside the monetized sector of the economy as self-sufficient farmers, a fact which accounts for the resilience to economic adversity demonstrated by Indonesia over the last two decades;

d) Inflation has been widespread and inflationary forces continue to exert an upward pressure on prices;

e) The government occupies a dominant position in basic industry, public utilities, internal transportation and communication;

f) Sukarno emphasized in his speech on April 11 that his concept of "guided economy" includes a speeding-up of the process of socializing the country;

g) It is probable that foreign private ownership will disappear and may be succeeded by some form of production-profit-sharing contract arrangements to be applied to all foreign investment;

h) The avowed Indonesian objective is "to stand on their own feet" in developing their economy, free from foreign, especially Western, influence.

18. Since Sukarno occupies a dominant and virtually unchallenged position of leadership, Indo-U.S. relations will be largely what he wishes them to be, while he remains in power.

19. There are, as noted above, moderate elements which are in contention to succeed Sukarno. Whether they will be able to do so will depend on their own strength and unity, and to some extent on our relations with them and with Indonesia during the remainder of Sukarno's regime.

Part 2: Recommendations


1. Because of Indonesia's importance and potential strength, we should seek to retain a continued presence in Indonesia.

2. Where aspects of our presence in Indonesia provide targets easily exploitable by the PKI, they should be quietly removed.

3. Our major effort should be directed toward influencing long-range developments in Indonesia.

4. In dealing with the present regime we should continue to emphasize our desire for friendly relations while recognizing the fact that the nature of our relations depends primarily on what the Government of Indonesia wishes them to be. Accepting the fact that our bilateral relations are presently unsatisfactory we should, to the extent possible, continue the effort to work with Sukarno and maintain a dialogue between him and the President.

5. We should try to maintain as much contact with as many other elements in Indonesia, both of current and potential importance, as circumstances permit.

6. We should avoid taking actions which appear to be punitive. We should also recognize the fact that public castigation of the Sukarno regime produces no restraining effect in Indonesia, but on the contrary tends to intensify our problems there.

7. We should quietly but effectively, using wherever possible the agency of third countries, oppose Indonesia's efforts to turn the Afro-Asian-Latin American countries into an anti-American bloc.

8. Because the ideal of national unity is an overriding obsession with practically all Indonesians, stronger by far than any real divisive regional feeling, we should avoid becoming involved in efforts to split off Sumatra or other areas from Indonesia.

9. We should continue to avoid direct involvement in both the military and diplomatic aspects of the Malaysian problem.


1. The security situation as it affects dependents of American personnel should be kept under constant review. An unpublicized and temporary freeze should be put on the travel of dependents of newly assigned personnel going to Djakarta until at least May 15, the situation to be re-assessed at that time. We should also establish Indonesia as in Phase I of Emergency and Evacuation planning without, however, any general circulation of this fact beyond a need-to-know basis.

2. The U.S. has an unfulfilled commitment to the Indonesian Army, involving the personal position of Army Chief General Yani, to complete the fixed communications project on which the Indonesian Army has expended some $10 million. If this project is not completed General Yani will be placed in a very vulnerable position which, in turn, will have an adverse effect on the Army's attitude toward the U.S. and its ability to resist the Communist Party. Unless an acceptable proposal for the Indonesian Army's acquisition of the equipment through commercial channels can be made to General Yani, the U.S. should complete the now reduced project under the Military Assistance Program.

3. Other than completing the foregoing project, we should not contemplate further deliveries under the Military Assistance Program. In order to keep maximum contact with the Indonesian military we should retain a few selected officers of the military assistance training group, either as a part of the attache staff or as a separate unit within the Embassy.

4. Although new money should not be sought from Congress for FY 1966, a skeleton AID staff should be maintained at least as long as AID-administered activities continue. If all such activities are terminated, the question of maintenance of a skeleton staff should be reviewed.

5. The University contracts should be continued so long as there is not a marked increase in the general security threat to Americans and so long as they are able to operate.

6. The Harbor Construction Project, a development loan granted well before Indonesia began its military confrontation against Malaysia, is well along, and involves a commitment by the U.S. Government both to the Government of Indonesia and to the company which has the contract. Defaulting on this commitment, a punitive action on our part, would not only reflect unfavorably on the U.S. but would put in jeopardy some $500,000 worth of equipment owned by the American company. We should try to complete this project.

7. An information program under the aegis of the Embassy should be pursued and, if possible, expanded with the objective of keeping a window open for U.S. influence with Indonesian leaders, particularly those among the youth. The recent proposal by USIA involving the assignment of two officers and 16 locals to the Embassy and the two Consulates seems a reasonable beginning.

Part 3: Discussions with President Sukarno and Other Principal
Indonesian Figures/3/

/3/Memoranda of conversation between Bunker and Indonesian officials with the exception of Sukarno, Nasution, and Subandrio are in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Additional reports are ibid., POL 7 US/BUNKER and POL 15-1 INDON.

In the course of my visit to Indonesia--a stay of one day more than two weeks--I had four meetings with President Sukarno, two other meetings with First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Subandrio, and I also called on a number of other ministers in influential positions. Additionally, I lunched once with President Sukarno at the Palace in Djakarta and in turn entertained him once at a luncheon at the Embassy Residence in Djakarta. At his request I also went to Bandung to hear his speech at the opening session of the Consultative Assembly. In addition, I obtained the views of a number of ambassadors accredited to Djakarta.

In the talks with President Sukarno and members of his government I endeavored consistently to make a number of points about our general concept of United States relations with Indonesia and in turn to elicit from Indonesians their views of present and future relations with the United States. I avoided to the extent possible becoming involved in operational questions which I felt would be more appropriately handled by the Embassy.

The following are the aspects of United States policy toward Indonesia which I particularly stressed in my talks with Indonesian leaders:

1. I said that I had come to Indonesia at the request of President Johnson who had become concerned by the recent deterioration of relations between Indonesia and the United States, and who had expressed to me his wish to enter into a closer dialogue with President Sukarno in which American attitudes and Indonesian views might better be understood by both sides. I emphasized that neither the President nor I considered my visit to be a "last ditch" effort, but rather an aspect of continuing communication between the two countries.

2. I made clear that the United States seeks a friendly and constructive relationship with Indonesia to the extent that this kind of relationship also is desired and would be supported by the Indonesian Government. I stressed that the United States has no territorial or other ambitions in the Far Eastern region. When talking to President Sukarno, I assured him most clearly that the United States Government is not working against him personally and does not seek his removal from power.

3. I pointed out to the Indonesian leadership that, contrary to what some of them may believe, the United States very well understands the dynamics and objectives of revolution, including that of Indonesia. The American revolution has continued and its present manifestation in which the equal rights of citizens are being sought has even strengthened our understanding and sympathy for such legitimate aspirations. We understand that to be strong a nation must be given a sense of unity, self-identification, and self-reliance.

4. We believe it natural that Indonesia should play an important role in international affairs, I pointed out to President Sukarno, and I added that we could see no reason why this should bring the United States and Indonesia into opposition. I expressed the thought in this connection that Indonesia's ability to exert external influence on events would be enhanced by peaceful settlement of Indonesia's differences with its neighbors.

5. I told the Indonesians that since we share many basic objectives, we should be able to live in mutual friendship and respect. This is the desire of the United States and we hope also of Indonesia. However, it is evident that our bilateral relations have been disturbed and allowed to deteriorate because of our differing views on a broad range of other issues in the world. The United States, I said, does not wish that these other issues should control our relationship, but it seems to us that the Indonesian Government has deliberately allowed this to happen. Moreover, the campaign of anti-Americanism which has been taking place in Indonesia in recent months seems designed to identify the United States as the principal enemy of Indonesia. We understand that the Indonesian Communist Party wishes to disrupt relations between the two countries, but we do not assume that this also is the objective of President Sukarno and other Indonesian leaders. I told President Sukarno that I would like to be able to report to President Johnson his estimate of the direction and nature of Indonesian relations with the United States. U.S. programs in Indonesia, such as USIS, AID and the Peace Corps, I pointed out, had been designed to promote friendship and understanding between us. However, since it appeared that they had instead become irritants in our relations, we believe that they should be removed unless the Indonesian Government wished them to remain and would support them.

6. I told President Sukarno that we considered him to be the leader of the Indonesian people and the principal formulator of Indonesian policies. We believed the Indonesian people would follow his guidance. Therefore, the nature of future United States-Indonesian relations would be up to him. We should be prepared for a constructive, friendly relationship.

President Sukarno and Foreign Minister Subandrio pushed very hard to obtain United States support in their "confrontation" with Malaysia, both constantly reiterating that what they termed as American support of Malaysia could not but constitute a serious obstacle to the improvement of relations between us. President Sukarno described the communique between President Johnson and Tunku Abdul Rahman and U.S. military aid to Malaysia as evidence of United States support of Malaysia and opposition to Indonesia. Sukarno asserted that he regards Malaysia as a puppet of "British imperialism" and had evidence it had been set up to "contain" Indonesia. Sukarno sought to obtain from me United States endorsement of his proposal that the Malaysian issue be settled along the lines of the Manila agreement or Tokyo declaration, and asserted that United States support in this respect would permit the Indonesian Government to support and promote improved bilateral relations.

In addition to the subject of Malaysia, Sukarno also mentioned North Vietnam, North Korea, and the Congo as examples of matters in which our differing approaches have an effect on our bilateral relations. Sukarno described to me his concept of the Afro-Asian area as an "integrated political whole" and sought to obtain from me agreement, which I did not give, that this concept is accepted by the United States.

I spelled out for Sukarno, in precise terms, our policy toward Malaysia and the nature of and reasons for our commitment to South Vietnam, and the fact that we had no territorial or other ambitions in Southeast Asia.

Nevertheless Sukarno and Subandrio clearly and repeatedly inserted third country issues into our bilateral relationship and gave every indication that Indonesia would continue to let the relationship be dominated by such issues. I consistently declined to be drawn into debate of the substance of these various other matters, explaining that President Johnson had asked me to come to Indonesia to discuss with Sukarno the United States-Indonesian bilateral relationship and reiterated that it seemed to me this should not be influenced unduly by third country relationships; that where our policies diverged we could at least agree to disagree amicably. Apparently it became clear to Sukarno that I would not make a substantive concession to his views regarding Malaysia, and he settled for language in a communique that was much less than fully satisfactory to him but nonetheless did permit him, as well as me, to conclude the conversation gracefully.

President Sukarno asserted that he also wished good relationships with the United States and he requested that his views, as described above, be fully reported to President Johnson. Sukarno acquiesced in the removal, strongly recommended by First Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio, Minister of Defense Nasution and Army Chief of Staff Yani in their remarks to me, of the Peace Corps from Indonesia. He also, in the communique, publicly affirmed his desire that AID-financed university contract teams be continued. Sukarno made no specific response to most of the points I had made to him concerning our concept of and desire for friendly and constructive bilateral relations.

Other Indonesian officials with whom I talked, including most importantly the Minister of Defense, General Nasution, strongly advocated and advised that American programs in Indonesia be removed for the time being. Arguments in support of this advice pointed out that the Indonesian Communist Party is targeting its harassment tactics on these programs. Indonesian officialdom, led by Sukarno, has taken an anti-American line publicly, and this makes it virtually impossible for the military and police to support or even to protect these programs adequately. Therefore, the programs would best be removed because their security could not be assured, because they could not be fully effective, and because they divert attention from the main aspects of the sharpening internal power struggle between the communists and non-communists. General Nasution predicted a one to two-year period of tense relations with the United States resulting from this internal political struggle. He observed that these political phenomena have their own momentum and direction, and therefore are unlikely to be influenced by external pressures. General Nasution, principal leader of the anti-communist military forces, in effect advised that the United States prepare to keep its head down and patiently ride out a period of political turbulence, and he said that he also wished the Indonesian Army to follow this same course. A minority view, most prominently expressed by Adam Malik, who was recently promoted out of the Ministry of Trade, was that the United States should avoid reducing its presence or its programs in Indonesia on the grounds that removal of U.S. programs would encourage the Indonesian communists and make them appear stronger than they actually are.

Conversations with Indonesians generally followed this pattern of conversation with President Sukarno and with General Nasution: Those of the Sukarno persuasion taking the position that improvement in United States-Indonesian relations would be contingent on United States support of Indonesia for the Malaysia issue, while other elements, those traditionally more friendly to the United States, advising that a period of disturbed relations lies ahead, that the United States should lower its profile in order to remove targets from communists' harassment, retain only those programs for which President Sukarno's public support and protection could be obtained, and maintain a posture that will permit a renewal of good relationships when conditions in Indonesia change.

[Here follows part 4, "Background," 9 pages including sections on, "Indonesia's Position in Asia," "The Colonial Heritage," "Progress Since Independence," "The Political Structure," "Political Forces," "The Current Picture" and "Prospects for Indonesia."]


122. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, April 26, 1965.

1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, 3/3/65-6/30/65. Secret.

Ambassador Bunker's meeting with you today

1. Ambassador Bunker is coming in primarily to report to you on his mission to Indonesia. I attach at Tab A the first two sections of a long report./2/ These sections give his general conclusions and his recommendations.

/2/See Document 121.

2. He is pessimistic about the short-run prospects for improved U.S. relations with Indonesia. Bunker knows it takes two to have good relations, and he thinks Sukarno simply does not want them right now. Malaysia is the immediate cause of friction, but even if Malaysia were settled, the internal politics of Indonesia would bend Sukarno toward hostility to the U.S.

3. At the same time, Bunker believes strongly in a continued U.S. effort to play for the long-term stakes by keeping open quiet lines of contact to the Indonesian Government and people--and especially to the Indonesian military. He recommends that we reduce our visibility, avoid punitive actions, remove vulnerable Americans from isolated regions, but maintain a skeleton AID staff with minor and popular AID projects as our University contract program. His one politically tricky recommendation is that we should keep our good relations with the Indonesian military by completing a firm but unfulfilled commitment to the Indonesian army to help in finishing a telecommunications project (Part 2, page 2, item 2). There is not yet an inter-agency position on this one.

4. There are two questions that may be more important than Bunker's report: (1) the succession in Indonesia, and (2) your own possible interest in appointing Bunker.

(1) On Indonesia, Bunker recommends Henry Byroade who has done a very good job as Ambassador in Burma. The State Department concurs, and so do we. Byroade's record is marred by some private indiscretions, but he has apparently behaved very well in Burma, and he has the temperament and style for Indonesia.

(2) On Bunker himself, I continue to think that if he were interested, he would give a stature and coherence to our European Bureau that it has never had in many years, even under Foy Kohler.

McG. B.


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

Washington, May 21, 1965, 10:02 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret; Immediate; Verbatim Text; Limdis.

1193. Embtels 2443 and 2444./2/

/2/In telegram 2443 from Djakarta, May 10, Jones suggested that Johnson send Sukarno a personal message and telegram 2444 from Djakarta, also May 10, contained the proposed text of the message. (Both Ibid.)

We agree that this is appropriate time for President to write to Sukarno, both to indicate his continued interest in Ambassador Bunker's mission and to encourage Sukarno's early acceptance of your successor. We do not, however, believe that this is suitable occasion for introduction questions of substance on matters where we are in disagreement with Indonesia as this would be likely to deflect Sukarno's attention. We have, therefore, shortened and revised your most helpful draft. Following is text of letter which you should deliver to Sukarno soonest:/3/

/3/In telegram 2550 from Djakarta, May 22, Jones reported that he delivered the letter to Sukarno that afternoon who expressed appreciation for it, reiterated his desire for good relations, and expressed hope Johnson would visit Indonesia. (Ibid.)

"Dear Mr. President:

Ambassador Bunker has recently reported to me on his mission to Indonesia. I have discussed with him his experiences and impressions and have read with much interest his report of his conversations with you and your advisers. I am deeply appreciative of the time which you personally gave him and the courtesies extended to him during his stay in Indonesia.

Ambassador Bunker's mission has enabled us to obtain a fuller measure of understanding of your hopes and concerns for Indonesia. I hope that it has correspondingly brought you a clearer view of American policies and of our continuing desire for mutually friendly and beneficial relations between the United States and Indonesia.

I hope, Mr. President, that we can keep in personal contact, and I shall look forward to an opportunity when we can meet together for a closer discussion of the broad areas of our mutual interests. Although there are differences of view between us on some issues, I believe we should not allow these differences to impair the relationships which have existed between our governments and peoples over a number of years of friendly association.

I am very grateful for the many years of dedicated service which Ambassador Jones has given in the cause of friendly relations between our nations. We all regret his forthcoming retirement, but I have every confidence that we will be able to continue under his successor the tradition of friendship and close relations which Ambassador Jones has fostered.

Only a few days ago I had the pleasure of welcoming Ambassador Palar to Washington, and I trust, Mr. President, that either through the channels of our respective Ambassadors, or through this more direct means of personal correspondence, we may narrow the gaps that threaten to separate our countries and find and maintain a basis on which our peoples may continue to live in true peace and friendship.

With all good wishes,

Sincerely yours,"



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

Djakarta, June 5, 1965, 0825Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret. Repeated to Medan and Surabaya.

2641. Embtel 2640./2/

/2/In telegram 2640 from Djakarta, June 5, the Embassy reported that the PKI had recently made important strides in its campaign against remaining anti-Communist forces. The nationalist, Moslem and other religious-backed political forces had suffered important setbacks and the military was increasingly under Sukarno's control. The Embassy suggested that the United States should prepare for the possibility that Indonesia "could pass under institutionalized Communist control in the not too distant future," although the Embassy suggested it would be a "maverick nationalist brand of communism which would be Indonesia centered." (Ibid., POL 15 INDON)

Indo trends outlined in reftel raise some serious questions for USG, both as to our basic assessment of GOI and in our posture and actions in response to such assessment. One of important aspects of these trends and possible consequences is that they are almost equally inimical and end result is same whether one takes position all is logical consequence of Sukarno commitment to carry Indonesia into "socialist stage" or whether more fuzzy combination of psychological, ideological and other factors motivate Sukarno's actions.

Present GOI has become deeply hostile to most of what USG striving for internationally in today's world. If Indo virus is allowed to spread unchecked in AA world it could be particularly insidious front runner for international communism. "International Nasakom" coalition concept could be of real use to ChiComs and would undoubtedly have more appeal in Islam-impacted Middle East than uncompromising brand of purely Communist-directed violent revolution.

Despite this assessment, I believe it would be unwise for US to declare that Indonesia is Communist or to begin overtly to treat Indonesia as a Communist state. Should we do so the effect would most probably be to rally in defense their country's honor and prestige those many who presently give Sukarno's policies only lip service and half-hearted support. There is still some chance for change or possibly even reversal of policies not yet ineluctably solidified into Communist mold, and US posture should be one that will enhance and strengthen if possible chances for future change toward improved US-Indonesian relationship.

We believe guidelines set by Bunker report/3/ are still correct but that US should begin energetically though quietly to tool up for effective counter-propaganda effort and other counter-actions against Sukarno's policies and Indonesia's current objective of Nasakomizing Afro-Asian World.

/3/Document 121.

For present we should not take lead in overtly declaring GOI pariah in our informational media since this action would on one hand precipitate Indo reaction which would make our maintenance of desired presence here virtually impossible and, on other hand, would probably be premature in terms of credence to be given by most AA nations we would hope to influence. Suggest therefore that our public posture continue to be correct while avoiding being identifiably hostile. We should probably express any cordiality required to continue to play game with Sukarno in non-public channels. We should, however, cease characterizing Indonesia as part of "free world," since in its international alignments it clearly is not, and term is ridiculed by GOI itself.

Specific actions recommended at this time are:

1. Make immediate and major effort to improve VOA signal strength and time devoted to broadcasting to Indonesia. Indonesian people are currently almost completely cut off from any interpretation, other than that dictated by Communist-dominated GOI propaganda machine, of facts about national and international events. Most Western news magazines are banned. VOA signal poor.

2. Establish team composed of members located in this Embassy and in Washington of political-editorial experts who can prepare material on current basis for use by VOA and other media for counter-propaganda effort with AA world.

(A) It is hoped that promised info officer will be shortly assigned and will be crack writer who can quickly put in usable form and transmit to Washington material gathered here in conjunction with Embassy political officer for channeling back to Indonesia.

(B) Team in Washington should, besides screening and deciding on use of this material, be concerned with broad appeal to Afro-Asian world and techniques and actions required to counter ChiCom-Indonesian efforts subvert other AA countries to their ideologies.

3. Major effect should be made to enlist active support for counter-effort described above from friendly AA nations and they, rather than US, should begin publicly to expose Djakarta's aggressive and pro-Community policies.

4. Continue our efforts to inform AA moderates of true nature of Indo approach to Algiers conference and importance of avoiding victory by Indonesian-ChiCom coalition in name of unity or avoidance controversy. We believe, for example, that greater emphasis on GOI's own aggressive influence and policies rather than on desirability Malaysian admission is indicated. Isolation of GOI at Algiers almost certainly lesser evil than Indonesian success.

5. Through third country radio broadcasts and such other means as can be made available, including Embassy's own modest informational effort, expose PKI efforts dominate political spectrum in Indonesia.

6. Through friendly AA countries expose throughout AA world effect of Sukarno's policies in Indonesia and acceleration of PKI influence here.

7. Achieve foregoing in subdued manner which will avoid complete break and removal remaining American presence in Indonesia. Obviously risks would be involved in this respect in carrying out above recommendations but risk must be taken in view danger current Indo policies aimed at rest of AA world.

Main thrust foregoing recommendations meant to be greater USG attention to and attempt cope with problems raised by trends described reftel both in Indonesia and in wider Afro-Asian context.



125. Memorandum From the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson/1/

Washington, June 30, 1965, 8:35 a.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 11. No classification marking.

Your Meeting with Ambassador Jones and Green (Indonesia) at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 30/2/

/2/According to the President's Daily Diary, the meeting took place from 12:45 to 12:48 p.m. (Ibid.)

Green leaves for Indonesia July 8. Jones becomes Chancellor of the East-West Center later in July.

The purpose of this meeting is to give Jones a word of deserved thanks and to give Djakarta a signal of your confidence in Green. The Indonesians, and Sukarno in particular, had a particularly high regard for Jones.

As you know, our policy toward Indonesia is cool and correct at the moment. We are keeping the door open to friendly relations, but we have removed the Peace Corps and other targets of Communist agitation. We are really playing for the breaks in a situation in which the Communists are gaining in influence, but the prospect of a reaction by the military is strong.

I attach a letter (Tab 1) for Green to deliver to Sukarno./3/ Sukarno being the highly personalistic type he is, a message of this kind will increase Green's standing and give some additional weight to whatever he may have to say as our relations develop. I have redrafted the State Department version to make it cool, but courteous, and I think it will be a help to Green. On the other hand, we have not made any promise of such a letter and you can give it a pocket veto if you prefer.

/3/Not attached, it introduced Green as "one of our most able and experienced officials in the affairs of Asia," fully attuned to the President's own thinking. (Ibid., National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence, Indonesia Presidential Correspondence)

McG. B./4/

/4/Printed from a copy that bears these typed initials.


126. National Intelligence Memorandum/1/

NIE 54/55-65

Washington, July 1, 1965.

/1/Source: Department of State, INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 165, NIE 54/55-65. Secret; Controlled Dissem. The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State, Defense, and the NSA prepared this estimate, which was concurred in by the members of the U.S. Intelligence Board on July 1, except the representatives of the AEC and FBI who abstained on the grounds that the topic was outside their jurisdiction.


The Problem

To examine the domestic political situation and foreign policy trends in Indonesia and Malaysia, and to estimate the prospects of both countries and the probable course of their conflict with one another over the next year or so.


A. The principal development in Indonesia over the past year has been the sharply accelerated growth of the Communist Party (PKI) role in government. This trend is likely to continue as long as Sukarno is in control. Opponents of this trend are discouraged and intimidated; even the military has all but lost the will to resist. The longer Sukarno lives, the better will be the PKI chances of maintaining or improving its position following his death. (Paras. 2-11)

B. Sukarno's campaign to destroy Malaysia, now in its third year, will almost certainly continue at varying levels of intensity. There is little prospect of an Indonesian military victory and Sukarno knows it. This realization has led him to denounce and harass the entire Western presence in Southeast Asia, and indeed in the Afro-Asian world. (Paras. 14-16, 21)

C. We look for a continuation of Indonesia's hostile attitude toward the US, though chances are less than even that Sukarno will go so far as to break diplomatic relations. Ties with Communist China are likely to become closer, since Sukarno sees no immediate Chinese threat to Indonesian ambitions. The desire of the Indonesian military to continue receiving Soviet arms aid will probably induce Sukarno to maintain relatively friendly relations with the USSR. (Paras. 17-23)

D. If Sukarno dies or becomes incapacitated in the next year or so, the immediate successor government would probably be an ostensibly non-Communist coalition. The military would almost certainly exercise greater authority than at present, but would be unlikely to risk civil war to initiate a roll back of the Communists. Indeed, the Communists are already so entrenched that they could probably not be denied an important share in any successor government. (Paras. 12-13)

E. In Malaysia, existing political and racial frictions will intensify, but even if no settlement is achieved, we do not believe that this will lead to a breakup of the federation during the period of this estimate. The subversive threat to Malaysia is unlikely to bring down the present regime unless it is significantly weakened by Indonesian actions on a scale which we consider improbable. (Paras 24-33)

F. Malaysia is totally dependent on British military support and its foreign policy is closely allied to that of the UK and its Commonwealth partners. The UK, and to a lesser extent Australia and New Zealand, have committed a considerable military force to the defense of Malaysia. It will probably prove adequate to cope with likely Indonesian actions and to deter Sukarno from substantially bolder aggression. Nevertheless, Malaysia will continue to seek an even stronger US commitment to its defense. (Paras. 34-36)

[Here follows the Discussion section of the estimate.]


127. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 20, 1965, 5:35 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 84, Djakarta Embassy Files [formerly FRC 69 A 6509, Box 116], DEF 19-8 Indocom. Confidential. Drafted by Judd and approved in S on August 16. The memorandum is part 5 of 5. The discussion took place in Rusk's office.

U.S. Communications Equipment for Indonesian Army


The Secretary
Thomas M. Judd, EUR/BNA

Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador

Secretary Rusk said he wished to make sure that London is fully informed concerning our decision to permit the commercial sale of about $3,000,000 worth of communications equipment to the Indonesian Army. The Indonesian Army had originally asked to buy $13,000,000 worth of equipment but we had said no. The Indonesian Army people had come to us privately saying they needed some secure means of internal communication within the army. Commercial communications were in the hands of the PKI. The equipment we were selling would be used only on Java and would be stationary./2/

/2/In telegram 46 to Kuala Lumpur, July 20, the Department instructed the Embassy to inform Razak or other appropriate officials at the Ministry of External Affairs of the U.S. decision to grant an export license for tropospheric scatter fixed communications systems to be installed at Djakarta, Bandung, and Palembang and to stress that the Department had determined that the equipment would not assist in Indonesia's military confrontation against Malaysia. (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 21 INDON)

Ambassador Dean thanked the Secretary for his presentation. He said that the Embassy had previously been informed of the situation by FE.


128. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, July 28, 1965, 6:30 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, DEF 21 INDON. Secret. Drafted by Judd and approved in S on August 8. The memorandum is part 1 of 2. The discussion took place in Rusk's office.

Sale of U.S. Communications Equipment to Indonesia


The Secretary
Thomas M. Judd, EUR/BNA

Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador
Nigel C.C. Trench, Counselor, British Embassy

Ambassador Dean said he had been instructed to convey to the Secretary the British Government's unhappiness about the U.S. decision to permit the sale of communications equipment for use by the Indonesian Army. The Ambassador said he understood the U.S. problem but the British were faced with the situation of trying to prevent other friendly countries from supplying military equipment to the Indonesians. The French were getting ready to sell three helicopters, using the action of the U.S. as an excuse. The Dutch were about to sell twenty Fokkers. HMG was also having a lot of trouble with the Japanese. The British had demonstrated that they practiced what they preached when they cancelled the Decca contract some time ago.

Secretary Rusk went over the reasons for the U.S. decision which he had previously given to the Ambassador. He stressed the limitations on the program and the desirability of aiding the Indonesian Army to obtain a secure means of internal communication.

The Secretary went on to say that this sort of problem existed elsewhere. We were not happy with some of the things the British were doing. For instance, British shipping to Cuba. It was difficult to deal with each one of these cases on an ad hoc basis. Perhaps we should discuss the general problem in an attempt to arrive at a broad policy agreement. The Secretary said we would be glad to talk with the British to see if a basis could be found for a general agreement.

Ambassador Dean said he thought HMG would be interested in such talks. Perhaps Sir Burke Trend, Secretary of the British Cabinet, could take up this matter on his current visit to the U.S.

There was further discussion of our proposal to permit the sale of communications equipment to the Indonesian Army. The Secretary then mentioned that the Pakistanis were apparently sending C-130 spare parts to Indonesia from supplies originally furnished by the United States. We had taken this matter up with Pakistan. In view of the nature of the problem, it would probably be inadvisable for the British to make any approaches to the Pakistanis.

Ambassador Dean said that he had been unaware of this situation. He agreed that it would probably not be a good idea for the UK to talk with the Pakistanis./2/

/2/In another meeting on August 2, also in Rusk's office, the Secretary told Dean that "the British should probably wait to see what happens. There is a good chance the Indonesians will not go through with the purchase of the equipment." (Memorandum of conversation, August 2; ibid.)


129. Memorandum From the Director, Far East Region (Blouin) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton)/1/


Washington, August 3, 1965.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, Indonesia, 000.1-291.2 (092. Indonesia). Secret. Drafted by D.E. Neuchterlein of OASD/ISA/FER.

Further Deterioration in Relations with Indonesia


Ambassador Green reports from Djakarta that the United States should prepare for a break in diplomatic relations with Indonesia./2/ Although he does not believe a break is imminent, he says the "heat is again being turned on us" and that preparations should be made for this eventuality. This assessment was made in a few hours before a Communist-led mob stoned the U.S. Consulate in Medan.

/2/In telegram 190 from Djakarta, July 31. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US)


The strong anti-U.S. demonstrations which have taken place since Green's arrival in Djakarta, the blunt words which Sukarno leveled at the United States during the Ambassador's presentation of credentials, and the increasingly vitriolic anti-American and anti-Green statements in the Indonesian press apparently have convinced the Ambassador that his initial efforts to improve relations between the two countries have met with sharp rebuff./3/ Relatedly, the Indonesian Government has turned down a request for the research ship Atlantis II to conduct a marine survey in the Banda Sea, which Indonesia claims as its territorial waters. Sukarno is pressing ahead full speed with plans to set up a rival to the United Nations known as the CONEFO (Conference of Newly Emerging Forces) next year, and his latest boast that he will explode an atomic bomb in November has caused the Embassy to speculate that Peking may detonate a bomb in Indonesia in order to bolster Sukarno's prestige among the Afro-Asian nations. A growing campaign is being waged by the Indonesian Government, or important elements in it, to convince the public that Indonesia is under imminent threat of attack from the United States. A forged document was recently made public by the foreign minister which "proved" that the British and American Ambassadors in Djakarta were conspiring on plans for an invasion of Indonesia.

/3/As reported in telegram 188 from Djakarta, July 31. (Ibid.)

Conclusion and Recommendations

It appears that the conclusions reached by the Bunker Mission, namely, that a large reduction in the American presence in Indonesia would produce a better climate in which to conduct US/Indonesian relations, are being proved fallacious and that time may be running out on U.S. efforts to placate Sukarno. Perhaps our moderation in dealing with Indonesia has misled Sukarno to believe that the United States is not prepared to defend its interests. There are nearly 100 million people in Indonesia who by all logic and past history should be pro-American. I am convinced they are truly afraid of Communist China but have the delusion that they (Indos) are clever enough to handle them and/or are convinced that the U.S. will back down and leave the Communist Chinese in a commanding position.

Therefore, it might be appropriate to consider what measures we should take to make clear our determination to use the international waters around the Indonesian islands and also to counteract the political impact of the possible detonation of an atomic bomb in Indonesia. The following steps might be taken:

1. Reopen with State the question of sending one or more Navy ships through the Indonesian Straits "unannounced" to demonstrate our refusal to accept the Indonesian claim to these as territorial waters.

2. Encourage the Atlantis II to carry out that part of its survey in the Banda Sea which is clearly outside Indonesian territorial waters and make it clear we will not stand for any harassment.

3. Reconsider our decision to permit Philco Corporation to build a three-site communication system for the Indonesian Army. The Indonesians apparently are delaying any decision in this matter in order to reap a full political harvest from Malaysia's bitter reaction to the United States support for its "enemy". Although I supported the decision and feel the opposition to this sale is largely emotional, I'm leaning toward reneging now, not just because of Commonwealth opposition, but because of continued Sukarno boorishness.

4. Take steps to minimize the political impact if Indonesia should detonate an atomic bomb. Such a detonation is hardly possible without ChiCom help but the Indos have surprised us before. The event would alarm not only the Malaysians but the Fils, too.

F. J. Blouin/4/
Rear Admiral, USN

/4/Printed from a copy that indicates Blouin signed the original.


130. Memorandum From Chester L. Cooper and James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)/1/

Washington, August 3, 1965.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65-9/65. Confidential.

Avoidance of Panic Regarding Indonesia

We have learned of some disturbing views that are circulating on the seventh floor at State regarding U.S. relations with Indonesia. We are at a point where either an initiative by you at today's lunch or a talk with Bill Bundy is probably required.

It appears that the report of the attack on our Medan consulate coincided with a contingency message from Marshall Green discussing third-country representation of our interests in the event of a break in relations with Indonesia--jointly to cause undue alarm at State./2/ The result has been a high-level thrust toward quick and drastic action on the evacuation of dependents and the reduction of staff. There is danger that an impulsive decision may be reached here within the next two days.

/2/The report of the attack on the consulate in Medan is in telegram 3 from Medan, July 30. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 23-8 INDON) Regarding the contingency message, see footnote 2, Document 129.

This high-level concern is shared neither by Green nor by the working level of the Department. As Green reports in Djakarta's 191 (attached/3/), he believes that actions at odds with the Bunker report would be premature at this time. Both he and the experts regard August 17th as the annual critical date. Actions taken by us prior to the 17th would tend to be self-fulfilling.

/3/Dated July 31. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US)

Marshall Green now has the authority to evacuate any dependents any time he chooses. We should let him take the lead on this one and support his judgment. What the seventh floor needs at the moment is to move gently some feet away from the panic button./4/

/4/At the bottom of the memorandum, McGeorge Bundy wrote: "done by call to WPB[undy] who agrees. McGB." Thomson, Ropa, and Cooper updated events in Indonesia in an August 9 memorandum to Bundy. They noted that Thomson was in close contact with FE in State and that harassment had ended with an August 7 attack on the U.S. Consulate at Surabaya where the Indonesian security forces "did their honest best to hold back the mob." Green had rejected closing the Medan and Surabaya consulates and expected a "breather" until Sukarno's August 17 speech. Green was described as "very much on top of the situation" and was proceeding with an orderly, quiet reduction of U.S. Embassy staff. State was "back on Green's wave length--alert, concerned, and ready to move fast if necessary. FE has been informed that the President is also concerned." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Cooper Memos)



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

Djakarta, August 8, 1965, 11:05 a.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 2 INDON. Secret. Repeated to Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Tokyo, and CINCPAC for POLAD.

264. 1. Following are my dominant first impressions of Indonesian political scene. These impressions are shared by senior members of my staff and are reflected in their excellent reports these past several months.

2. Sukarno is deliberately promoting Communism's cause in Indonesia. I concur in view already expressed in this Embassy's reporting that Sukarno, who clearly calls the shots here, is attempting to move all forces in Indo society to left or, more explicitly, to policy orientation similar to that PKI. This is being done at as rapid a pace as seems prudent without creating excessive dissidence or coalition of more conservative elements which might conceivably act as coherent restraining influence. Sukarno is not a "Communist" in a formal sense, but he is certainly attracted to Communism as a means of organizing society and advancing his own Marxist-nationalistic ideology. We may look for Sukarno to continue his efforts to develop a family of more or less "Communist" power elements, of which the PKI proper would be an important but not an exclusive element. This (i) gives Sukarno more freedom to operate, (ii) makes some sort of "communization a la Indonesia" more palatable to other groups by allowing them to continue their existence and even to prosper while being altered in their intrinsic content and (iii) provides a more acceptable image abroad in areas of would-be Indonesian or "NEFO" penetration.

3. Indonesia has become an almost completely closed society. I was aware in Washington that we were taking a propaganda beating but I was not aware of the extent of this anti-U.S. campaign. Pro-Communist Antara News Agency is sole source of foreign news. Indonesian people are receiving steady propaganda diet through speeches of their leaders, press, radio and TV emphasizing seamy side of U.S. domestic life and U.S. "imperialism and aggression" abroad. U.S. efforts to refute hostile propaganda are largely ignored. While many Indonesians say privately that they see merit in our side of story, they are submerged in mass of anti-U.S. rhetoric and distorted news from Antara or from Peiping, Pyongyang, Hanoi and Moscow. No one has the guts to print objective views and this is understandable in Indonesia's political environment.

a. Indonesians have developed art of smearing by insinuation to fine point. Usual formula is to print distorted or manufactured allegation against U.S. or other "imperialist" enemy, refuse to print rebuttal, and then take stand that silence by "imperialists" implies consent. This point clearly indicated by Minister Coordinator for Public Relations Ruslan Abdulgani, who said in speech July 27 that absence of denial by UK and Malaysia to Indo charges of subversion in Sulawesi remind one of old Dutch saying that "those who keep silent consent."

4. U.S. officials in Indonesia are becoming increasingly isolated. Indonesian contacts shy away from us when political climate heats up, and this is the hot season in Djakarta. For our part we do not press to see them since in present atmosphere this would put them in difficult position. DCM, who has been here on and off since 1949 and who, therefore, has many old Indonesian friends, tells me that he leaves it up to these friends in most cases to see him, wanting to avoid putting them on spot by seeking them out. In most cases they stay away.

5. Although I see no immediate physical threat to Americans in Indonesia, I believe there is virtue in further contraction of our establishment here. I lean more and more in favor of withdrawing all university contract Americans. Possibly it would be helpful to convey to Indos impression that we are prepared to pull out completely if conditions worsen appreciably. Perhaps if Sukarno started really to think about it he would begin to realize all the disadvantages and even dangers to him were a break in relations to occur. This is not to deny that there would be disadvantages to us as well, but I feel that Sukarno has come to feel over the last several years that the U.S. has an infinite capacity to put up with Indo harassments and humiliations. If we could shake this belief we might at least buy time. In any case, previous U.S. posture of sweetness and light has been anything but successful in recent past.

6. I have been unable to establish any kind of dialogue or even antiphonal autologue with Sukarno in short time I have been here. Process has been inhibited of course by events before my arrival, events following that arrival and perhaps importantly by fact that Sukarno goes into hibernation for three weeks before his annual blockbuster speech on August 17. In fact he raised latter subject with me as first topic in our conversation July 26. Subandrio has avoided any talks with me. Other Indonesians are perfectly pleasant (for example, my wife and I had long pleasant chat with Madame Hartini Sukarno and several cabinet ministers after opening of Book Fair yesterday) but social dealings are as generally reflected in para 4 above.

7. Our style and approach towards Sukarno and company in past years may have been appropriate under circumstances then but I believe time has come to challenge old assumptions, to look at facts anew and to re-examine our posture toward Indonesia. This is process we must do in orderly deliberate manner. We should avoid to extent circumstances permit any sudden changes of policy or crash operations.



132. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Berger) to the Staff Assistant of the Under Secretary of State for Economic Affairs (Johnston)/1/

Washington, August 8, 1965.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 23-9 INDON. Secret. Drafted by Robert P. Myers, Jr., of SPA. Originally directed to Under Secretary Mann, but his name was crossed out and "For James D. Johnston" was typed at the top of the memorandum.

Status Report: Indonesia

I. Green Recommendations on Staffing

A. Green foresees no immediate physical threat to Americans. He recommends a further reduction of U.S. establishment in Indonesia, but urges that this be done in a gradual and orderly manner that will avoid indications of a sudden crash operation.

1. He now leans towards withdrawing all university contract Americans.

2. Green plans soon to submit the Embassy's thinking on basic USG contingency planning to counter a possible increase in Indonesian pressures. He feels the recommendations will be more pertinent if made in the post-August 17 context.

II. Department Actions on Personnel Reduction

A. We have placed a freeze on the movement of all USG personnel to Indonesia.

B. Our Embassy has been instructed to draw up a plan to reduce its staff to the hard core necessary to maintain essential, as opposed to desirable, contacts and reporting. Our Consulates in Medan and Surabaya have been asked to appraise the present danger arising from the anti-American atmosphere, and to assess the utility versus the risk of maintaining a consular presence.

C. On August 6 discussions were held in the Department with representatives of the major U.S. companies with holdings in Indonesia to inform them of our intended course of action and to learn their present views of the situation./2/

/2/Berger, Cuthell, and Francis G. Jarvis, Economic Adviser, SPA, and H. Kent Goodspeed met with representatives of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, U.S. Rubber Company, American Overseas Petroleum Ltd., Esso Standard Eastern, and Mobil Petroleum Ltd. (Memoranda of conversation, August 6; ibid., INCO 15-2)

III. Prospects for August 17

The separation of Singapore from Malaysia may turn the August 17 Independence Day ceremony into a victory celebration, thereby diverting the major thrust of Sukarno's remarks away from the U.S. and USG policies.


133. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Barber) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense (McNaughton)/1/


Washington, August 11, 1965.

/1/Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: 70 A 3717, 400.73 Indonesia. Secret. Prepared by Commander Gorman of the Arms and Trade Control Division.

Indonesian Claims on Nuclear Capability

On 24 July Sukarno stated that Indonesia would build its own atomic bomb in the near future. He added it would not be used for aggressive purposes. Last November General Hartono, Director of the Army Arsenal said Indonesia planned to explode a bomb in 1969. The same officer declared on 2 February 1965, that 200 scientists were working to produce bomb and promised a "surprise" at the Armed Forces Day celebration in October 1965. A third statement by Hartono made 27 July stated that there is a good possibility that Indonesia will test an atomic bomb following the Afro-Asian conference in Algiers this coming November.

Indonesia does not have the capability to produce an atomic bomb without outside assistance. Therefore, Sukarno's behavior may be explained by the following:

1. Just propaganda.

2. Forthcoming test of a Chinese bomb on Indonesian soil with Chinese cooperation.

3. Forthcoming test of a Chinese bomb with "Indonesian `participation' " and attendant publicity.

4. Sukarno may denounce the test ban and withdraw from it.

If 1. above is the case and Sukarno is making a strictly propaganda pitch (our Embassy in Djakarta suspects this), then no comment on the part of the United States is required.

Regarding 2., a test in Indonesia, our Embassy remains doubtful that a detonation will take place. Yet the Embassy allows that if the detonation is to be made almost purely for political purposes and if auxiliary scientific expertise needed to collect technical research data is held to a minimum or dispensed with entirely, it is conceivable that a ChiCom-Indonesian collaboration could successfully meet the deadline. Reporting for the ChiCom side, our Consul General in Hong Kong believes the ChiComs would recoil in horror from conducting a test in Indonesia, mainly on security grounds. AmConGen Hong Kong notes that the ChiCom hypersensitivity on maintaining security with respect to conventional military developments is notorious and without question would be even greater with respect to nuclear weapons. AmConGen Hong Kong doubts that the ChiComs would expect that their role could be kept secret. If it became known this would defeat Sukarno's presumed purpose, i.e. that it was solely an Indonesian nuclear breakthrough.

We can not doubt that Sukarno would like to detonate a bomb in Indonesia. He would believe that it would enhance his prestige among the Afro-Asians and it would, quite frankly, shock the British and their Malaysian allies, along with Australia. It would add tremendous drive to Indonesia's plan to set up the Conference of Newly Emerging Forces (CONEFO) as a rival and eventual successor to the UN. The problem is not whether Indonesia would detonate a bomb if they could but whether the ChiComs will help them. We don't think they will. Nevertheless we have requested DIA to intensify their efforts in watching for indications of a preparation of an Indonesian testing site and association of Indonesians with the ChiCom test program.

If it is indicated that the ChiComs and Indonesians are preparing for a detonation then we should

a) Coordinate early with the British on intelligence.

b) Prepare a pre-emptive statement which would take much of the wind out of the Indonesian sails.

Regarding 3., a test of a ChiCom bomb in China, with "Indonesian participation,"--we give this a better chance of being carried out than we do a detonation in Indonesia but we are doubtful it will be done. Besides the problem of security, there is the question of whether or not Peiping really wants another Asian state to claim the status of being a nuclear power. AmConGen Hong Kong believes that Peiping is trying to reduce Asian, and especially Japanese, criticism of its nuclear program and wonders if ChiCom nationalistic and chauvinistic pride might not cause them to take a dim view of an additional Asian country attempts to climb on the nuclear bandwagon. We don't think Peiping wants Indonesia alongside--at least for the present. However, we have asked DIA carefully watch for any Indonesian participation in the ChiCom test program.

If there is an indication of this, we should prepare a pre-emptive statement which would denounce the Indo-ChiCom collaborative effort.

The final case is that Sukarno may denounce the test ban treaty and withdraw from it. There is a good chance that this might happen. State believes that recent Indonesian pronouncements regarding atomic bombs point toward the possibility that Sukarno might regard a denunciation of the test ban treaty as valid and dramatic material for use in his 17 August Independence Day speech. State particularly notes Foreign Minister Subandrio's recent statement to the effect that the only real way of removing the threat of nuclear war is for all nations to have their own stocks of nuclear weapons. We recommend:

a) Watch Sukarno's 17 August speech. In addition to possibility of a test ban denunciation, it may indicate more about a future detonation.

b) Prepare a contingent statement in case Indonesia withdraws from the TBT./2/

/2/In an August 19 memorandum to Barber, (I-25438) Acting Director of the Far East Division of ISA William C. Hamilton, wrote "there is enough of a possibility that Indonesians may acquire an atomic device and explode it for psychological reasons to warrant an investigation by the intelligence community and to prepare a public position." Hamilton suggested consulting the Department of State. (Ibid.) On September 22 Barber wrote Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs Joseph J. Sisco a letter stating that "there was a very real possibility that an atomic bomb will be set off in Indonesia in October, with Chinese assistance." Barber hoped that the United Nations could pass a strongly worded resolution condemning any such test. (Ibid.)

Arthur W. Barber/3/

/3/Printed from a copy that indicates Barber signed the original.


134. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, August 18, 1965, 8:15 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON. Confidential. Drafted by Douglas MacArthur II. Copies were sent to Ball, Rusk's Special Assistant C. Arthur Borg, Read, and William Bundy. The time of the meeting is from the Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book.


The Secretary
Under Secretary Ball
Assistant Secretary MacArthur

Senator Fulbright
Senator Gore
Senator Symington
Senator Pastore

Breakfast Meeting and Informal Discussion of Indonesia

The subject of Indonesia came up briefly at the breakfast meeting this morning attended by the above persons. The Senators were interested in what Sukarno had said in his August 7 [17] Independence Anniversary speech. Under Secretary Ball observed that the US rather than Britain and Australia had been singled out for attack although perhaps the attack was less violent than one might have expected. The speech clearly aligned Sukarno and Indonesia with the Communist World in terms of objectives and purposes.

There was then an inconclusive discussion about the role of the PKI and the army in Indonesia, during which the Under Secretary indicated that Sukarno's activities had considerably aided the PKI's penetration of the government. One of the Senators said that he understood the army would oppose the PKI. The Under Secretary commented that the situation would not arise as long as Sukarno was at the helm. Should Sukarno disappear, and there were rumors that he had been quite ill recently, it was not clear and predictable whether the army would go all out against the PKI or whether the PKI processes of infiltration of the government had reached that point where the army would try to accommodate itself with the PKI in some form of modus vivendi. Much might depend on the kind of action the PKI initiated should Sukarno disappear and this is unpredictable at this juncture.


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

Djakarta, August 23, 1965, 0930Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL INDON-US. Secret. Repeated to CINCPAC for POLAD.

403. 1. Following is my assessment of where we stand following Sukarno's August 17 attack on US.

2. There are widely differing interpretations of speech and its implications.

A. Many, who emphasize what Sukarno might have said or done, consider speech "mild." Australians, British and Indians here hold view, but my Australian colleague (Shann) showed me his report to Canberra which ends on note that despite "mildness" of speech he "does not take much comfort from it."

B. Others view speech as further tightening of inexorable process by which Sukarno, singlehandedly but with support PKI and others, subverts that large, unknowing and basically unwilling part of Indo people and induces them to accept a Communist-oriented state and severance of ties with USG. Subgroup of Indos who share this general view realizes what Sukarno is attempting to do but prefers ignore or downplay his effectiveness in belief they can achieve their own narrow objectives (usually profit) and live until pendulum swings back from extreme left. Latter group includes some of Indo army and many private entrepreneurs.

3. Future events will show which of foregoing closest to truth. We can take some satisfaction from fact Sukarno did not attack President Johnson or mention CIA. However US was only nation singled out for strong attack and I believe we should get across the idea that we are anything but happy about speech and that there are limits to what any nation can take in terms of abuse, damage to property, etc.

4. Process of implementing Aug 17 address will probably be one in which Sukarno's ministers and others will attempt sense what speech means by offering to Sukarno for approval those actions they believe he wants. Significant so far in this respect is campaign to have US Consul Surabaya declared personna non grata (Embtel 365)./2/ Press charges August 21 that American missionaries implicated in recent civil unrest in West Irian may be another example.

/2/Dated August 8. (Ibid., POL 17 US-INDON)

5. We interpret August 17 speech to mean that USG is in for continued difficulty in trying to do normal business in Indonesia. We believe Sukarno again gave clear signal that he will keep heat on US unless and until we change our policies toward Malaysia, Vietnam and elsewhere to conform to his wishes. If not, he threatens action against US business interests and has, in effect, given green light for further "expressions of peoples' will" against official US installations.

6. By same token we believe speech indicates Sukarno not now ready for break with USG. Relating future of American business enterprises to Malaysia rather than to Vietnam may mean he still hopes get some mileage from US on Malaysia now that Singapore has withdrawn. Subandrio implied as much during my call August 12 (Embtel 318)./3/ We may as result have some slack, but probably not much.

/3/Dated August 13. (Ibid., POL INDON-US)

7. August 17 speech and other recent events also indicate we probably cannot have much direct impact on Indonesia's policymaking through normal diplomatic exchange as long as Sukarno is in control. As a result of his own complexes, Marxist political views and suspicions arising from 1958 events and later, Sukarno has clearly identified US as enemy. No Indonesians influential in governing processes are likely to stand up to him even if he should push relations with US to breaking point. We also cannot realistically expect to have decisive influence on other power groups, such as mil although it important we maintain contact with them.

8. Although prospects for short run gloomy, there is very useful role for USG to play in Indonesia. Following are among things we can and should do as long as we can stay here with dignity:

A. Maintain whatever contact possible with military and other elements in power structure, looking toward post-Sukarno period.

B. Maintain basic diplomatic and hopefully consular presence here, again looking toward time when we may be able operate more effectively.

C. Continue do useful political, economic and especially intelligence reporting. While Washington best judge, we believe it important maintain full flow reporting to build basic background in event diplomatic relations broken and also fill gaps created by Indonesia's drastic reduction in contacts with free world.

D. Identify Indonesia maneuvers and aspirations to Afro-Asian and Latin American countries and, either directly or through third countries, subject these to cold light of publicity.

E. Attempt to get some objective news reporting info Indonesia through VOA, Embassy news bulletins, and other means. Effect these efforts likely to be limited, but Indonesians now almost completely cut off from free world news sources and it essential we do what we can to fill gap (Embtel 384)./4/

/4/Dated August 21. (Ibid.)

F. Attempt dialogue with Sukarno. Despite fact we basically aiming at post-Sukarno period, I will attempt establish dialogue with Sukarno but I hesitate to reach any conclusions right now on whether Sukarno prepared to continue this kind of relationship, or if he is, how productive such a line of effort would be. Experience over past year suggests it has definite limitations.

9. As I see it, we need, by trial and error, to find correct balance of carrot and stick. Petulance or overreaction by USG would probably drive Sukarno to extremes. Under reaction on our part makes us look foolish to our friends abroad and to some Indonesians. I believe we struck about right balance in August 17 celebration. I attended speech, palace reception, film show on Indonesia's accomplishments, and opening of development exhibition but stayed away from cultural evening (North Vietnamese performed) and parade. Sending modified Presidential message of congratulations on 20th anniversary was just about right.

10. It difficult now to come up with precise recommendations on size and nature of our mission here. While Dept and Embassy seem to be fully agreed on reduction of mission along lines of para (a) of Embtel 302,/5/ how far we should go with regard to (b) and re other issues will become more apparent in coming weeks. Indocom is one sensitive problem which could affect our relations in short run. University contracts are another and I am pleased with Dept's approach para 2 Deptel 196./6/ Since we cannot overload the line, I would prefer delay final decision on future university contracts at least until Philco issue decided. For the present I can only urge that we maintain flexibility in order to be in best position cope with situation. I have asked our Consuls in Medan and Surabaya to come to Djakarta for discussions later this week. Following these discussions and probable further developments by Indos we will be in better position make firm recommendations.

/5/Dated August 12. (Ibid., PER 4-1 DJAKARTA)

/6/Dated August 20. (Ibid., EDX-31 INDON)



136. Editorial Note

On August 23, 1965, James C. Thomson, Jr., Donald Ropa, and Chester L. Cooper of the National Security Council Staff sent the President's Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy a memorandum highlighting the principal events and issues for U.S. policy and relations with Asia for the previous week. The report on Indonesia, written in unmistakable Komer style, follows:

August 17th has come and gone with relatively little change in Indo/U.S. relations; Sukarno was milder than many had anticipated, although Marshall Green seems a bit shocked by his first full exposure to the Bung's [Sukarno's] Marxian rhetoric. George Ball has stimulated a new State effort at the old question of Whither Indonesia?, and this can be educational for all hands as well as putting the brake on any 7th floor tendency towards impulsive action. Thomson is keeping his nose under this tent. (Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Cooper Memos)

The reference to Ball's re-examination of U.S. policy towards Indonesia is elaborated upon in William Bundy's foreword to Marshall Green, Indonesia: Crisis and Transformation, 1965-1968, pages x-xii. Bundy recalls that Ball convened in late August 1965 "an impromptu meeting of about a half-dozen officials in his office." Ball asked wasn't it true that in terms of size and importance "Indonesia was objectively at least on a par with the whole of Indochina?" The consensus of the meeting was that it was. Ball then asked was not "a far-left, if not a totally communist, takeover there, on existing trends, only a matter of time, with immense pincer effects on the position of the non-communist countries of Southeast Asia?" Bundy recalls that the consensus held that the scenario described by Ball was inevitable. Then Ball asked was there something that could be done to slow or counter this trend. The consensus was, "there was not a single friendly element or favorable factor that could be effective, even if it were wise to seek to galvanize it." In discussing Indonesia at an historical conference at Annapolis in 1995, Bundy also recalled that Ball asked the Central Intelligence Agency's representative if the Agency could use its assets to reverse this trend in Indonesia. Bundy recalled that the representative replied the Agency did not have good assets in Indonesia and was unable to make much of an impact.


137. Special National Intelligence Estimate/1/

SNIE 55-65

Washington, September 1, 1965.

/1/Source: Department of State, INR/EAP Files: Lot 90 D 165, SNIE 55-65. Secret; Controlled Dissem. The Central Intelligence Agency and the intelligence organizations of the Departments of State and Defense, and the NSA prepared this estimate which was approved by the members of the U.S. Intelligence Board on September 10, except the representatives of the AEC and FBI who abstained on the grounds the topic was outside their jurisdiction. A note on the covering sheet indicates that this SNIE supplements NIE 54/55-65 (Document 126).


The Problem

To estimate the chances and implications of a Communist takeover in Indonesia within the next two or three years.


I. Prospects for a Communist Takeover

1. Sukarno is the unchallenged leader of Indonesia and will almost certainly remain so until death or infirmity removes him from the scene. He is developing in Indonesia an authoritarian government of the "national-front" type on which the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI) exerts the strongest influence, though under his own continued domination. The past year or two have been characterized by rapid progress toward this objective. The PKI now claims 3,000,000 members and is by far the best organized and most dynamic political entity in Indonesia. With Sukarno's support, the Communists and their sympathizers have come to occupy a major position in the central government and in numerous provincial and local administrations. Whatever its present influence on Sukarno, it is clear that the PKI finds Sukarno's policies, both domestic and foreign, compatible with its own interests. It does not create these policies, but provides specific suggestions on method and timing which Sukarno finds acceptable. His own predilections, skillfully played upon by the PKI, have brought his foreign policy into close harmony with that of the Communist states of Asia.

2. Communist fortunes in Indonesia will probably continue to prosper so long as Sukarno stays in power. As in the past, however, he will probably move cautiously in expanding PKI participation in the government so as to avoid creating excessive domestic unrest or encouraging a coalition of non-Communist elements. If Sukarno lives, it is probable that in two or three years the Indonesian state will be sufficiently controlled by the Communists to be termed a Communist state, even though Sukarno remains the acknowledged leader. It will probably not be possible, however, to detect any precise moment at which the Communists "take over," unless Sukarno chooses to proclaim it. We believe that domestic political considerations and his desire to bequeath his personal political concepts to Indonesia will lead him to refrain from such an announcement. Conceivably, the PKI leaders could become powerful enough to threaten Sukarno's own dominance, but since his policies are likely to remain along lines generally favorable to them, they are unlikely to take risks in order to seize power.

3. In the event of Sukarno's early death or incapacity, the PKI drive to power would probably be slowed for a time. Though there would be considerable political turmoil and perhaps some violence, the successor government would probably be headed at first by a coalition of familiar non-Communist military and civilian names. The PKI could probably not be denied an important share in this government, both because of its established position and because the military would probably be reluctant to risk civil war to initiate a roll back of the Communists. On the other hand, the party would no longer benefit from Sukarno's patronage and would have to rely entirely on its own strengths and capabilities, which though considerable would probably be insufficient to encourage an open challenge to the military. Hence, we believe that the PKI would not attempt to seize full power by force in the months following Sukarno's death if that occurred at any early date.

4. The longer Sukarno lives, the better will be the position of the PKI after his death. Another two or three years of his rule are likely to weaken anti-Communist elements in the army and elsewhere to the point where, at his death, the Communists would have a good chance of taking over full power. We do not exclude other possibilities, however, such as the emergence of a coalition of anti-Communists leading to a protracted stalemate or to a conflict which could break up the Indonesian state.

II. Implications

5. Sukarno's Indonesia already acts in important respects like a Communist state and is more openly hostile to the US than most Communist nations. Much of the damage that an avowedly Communist Indonesia could do to the Western position in the Far East is being done (e.g., "confrontation" of Malaysia and subversion and infiltration in the Philippines) and neither Sukarno nor any probable successor government is likely to abandon efforts to weaken the West in this area.

6. Nevertheless, the overt accession to communism of a country like Indonesia--large, populous, rich in resources, and strategically situated--would have an important impact on other countries in South and East Asia. Peking would be especially gratified by the triumph of one of its closest associates and, for a time, would probably offer close cooperation in the Malaysian area. Both Peking and Hanoi would be encouraged in their struggle with the US in Vietnam, while the confidence of Laos, Thailand, and South Vietnam would be undermined. The advent of a Communist state on the Indian Ocean would make India increasingly nervous.

7. Given Indonesia's limited military capability and its many strategic vulnerabilities, a Communist Indonesia would pose only a potential threat to the Western position in Southeast Asia and to important world sea and air lanes. The threat of a Communist Indonesia would be felt most immediately in Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia, and would lead their governments to make urgent demands for substantial US and Commonwealth military support.

8. The conservative Malaysian government would despair of a satisfactory settlement of its dispute with Djakarta. Furthermore, it would expect intensification of Indonesian efforts to subvert the peninsular Malays, and increased cooperation between Djakarta and Peking in arming and training dissidents on the Thai-Malayan border and in northern Borneo. Singapore would face an intensified effort to subvert its Chinese population. Both governments would face increased pressure by all left-wing political and labor groups. The Commonwealth presence would probably make it possible for moderate governments in the two states to survive for the period of this estimate, but over a longer period the existence of a Communist Indonesia would cause their chances of survival to diminish.

9. The Philippine Government, already concerned about Indonesian infiltration of the southern islands as well as Djakarta's clandestine political activities in Manila itself, would show real alarm. Irritants in its relations with the US would probably be submerged for a time in a sense of common danger. The Australians would fear for East New Guinea and their lines of communication to Europe and the Far East.

10. As a major Communist state led by a markedly independent and self-reliant party, Indonesia would become the object of more intense Sino-Soviet rivalry. Moscow would probably increase its military and economic assistance in hopes of encouraging the development of a second Asian Communist power center to compete with Peking. For its part, the PKI would probably take a friendlier attitude toward Moscow in the interest of material gain. Peking would, of course, increase its efforts to tie Djakarta even more closely to Chinese policy in the Far East. But it is likely that PKI foreign policy decisions, like those of Sukarno, would stress Indonesian national interests above those of Peking, Moscow, or international communism in general. The pursuit of these national interests would be more likely to lead to friction with the Chinese Communists than with the Soviets. Thus, Indonesia's formal accession to communism, while immediately strengthening the Communist side, would contribute over the longer run to transforming the Communist world into a looser association of sovereign states.

11. A Communist Indonesia would probably not become of major military significance to either Moscow or Peking during the period of this estimate. An Indonesia openly led by the PKI might ask for security guarantees from Moscow and Peking, and such requests might, in the circumstances, be difficult to reject. We believe that the PKI leaders would be sufficiently nationalistic to refuse to grant air or naval bases or missile sites to either Moscow or Peking, though it is possible that they would permit one or both to use existing Indonesian bases for logistical purposes, thereby greatly extending the range, for example, of their submarines. In any bargaining with Moscow or Peking on the subject of bases or missile sites, the Indonesians would undoubtedly be favorably impressed by offers of nuclear weapons in exchange. It is extremely doubtful, however, that Moscow would make such an offer, and, over the next two or three years, unlikely that Peking would be in a position to do so.

12. In the short term, Indonesia's formal accession to communism would have a heavy impact on world politics. It would be seen as a major change in the international balance of political forces and would inject new life into the thesis that communism is the wave of the future. But while Communists around the world would be encouraged, and their opponents disturbed, this event would not by itself cause other nations to follow suit or even necessarily to alter their foreign policies.

13. The longer term impact of a Communist Indonesia would depend primarily on the degree of success or failure which the PKI met as it moved to energize and unite the Indonesian nation. If these efforts succeeded, Indonesia would provide a powerful example for the underdeveloped world and hence a credit to communism and a setback for Western prestige. It is much more likely that the early years of a Communist Indonesia would be occupied with consolidating political control and resuscitating the Indonesian economy and that, during this period, Indonesia would be more liability than asset to the Communist powers.


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

Djakarta, September 1, 1965, 0400Z.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 15-1 INDON. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to CINCPAC.

486. 1. Sukarno was friendly and relaxed throughout my forty-five minute call at his office Aug. 31. Most of our conversation was small talk and story telling, but was not without its serious moments and verbal fencing. I doubt that anything was accomplished beyond establishing some rapport with the man who controls the destiny of this country. At no point did he raise old favorites like Malaysia, Vietnam, Congo, etc. He was on his good behavior. No others present.

2. Sukarno inquired whether I really understood nationalism in Asia and sentiments of Asian people. I assured him I did, that nationalism is a force we respect in developing national consciousness and unity, that we fully support Indonesia's territorial integrity and welcome its economic advancements and self-reliance, that I nevertheless recognize that I have much to study and learn about Indonesia just as any Indonesian would wish to study and learn more about the United States. For this reason I felt strongly about the need for close dialogue, student exchanges, free circulation of information about each other's countries, etc.

3. Sukarno then spoke of basic principles behind Indonesia's revolutions and reminded me of Sun Yat-sen's dictum to effect that it is easy to speak and to act in regard to another nation but it is most difficult to understand it. Sukarno then inquired whether we really understood the forces of revolution and change in this part of the world. I said I thought we did although, here again, America and Indonesia still had much to learn about each other. We too are a country in revolution--not just technically and scientifically, but politically as well, as witness way Pres Johnson facing boldly up to problem of promoting complete racial equality and improvement of lot of negroes.

4. In expressing hope that ways could be found for improving Indo-US relations, I mentioned that a major obstacle was Indonesian actions against American properties and our concern over safety of our people (I alluded to missionaries in this regard). Sukarno replied that popular feeling against the United States, including demonstrations, was bound to continue as long as American newspapers and magazines printed defamatory articles about Indonesia and its leaders. This led to discussion along lines so familiar to my predecessor. I pointed out that Indo actions as well as statements against US engendered a lot of anger back home. At same time I recalled no instance where our President or anyone in high authority had shown anything but restraint and understanding in their statements about Indonesia. Sukarno seemed to brush this aside. He displayed genuine concern about critical articles regarding him and Indonesia appearing in American publications, specifically mentioning Time, Life, Newsweek (probably because they have wide circulation in Afro-Asian countries), and he asked me several times whether something could be done to halt these injurious representations of Indonesia to the world. He cited Time article about Queen of Cambodia as prime example of bad American journalism. I replied that this article was mild compared to what Prince Sihanouk had said over Khmer radio about President Kennedy shortly after his death. I quoted those infamous words. Sukarno was visibly shocked but he merely said with feeling: Kennedy was a great man.

5. Conversation was interlarded with many stories and lighter touches. In conclusion, I expressed hope we could keep in close touch and that I knew he preferred informality which I did too. As we walked to door, Sukarno and I agreed that we would only tell the press that this was a courtesy call in course of which we had a general discussion. This he relayed in both Indonesian and English to the considerable group of newsmen and photographers outside. (Morning Indonesian press quotes Sukarno along these lines.) Sukarno escorted me to car and cordially waved goodbye in full view of those present. I smiled too, but vaguely wondered when the next low blow would come.



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

Washington, September 10, 1965, 8:08 p.m.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 23-8 INDON. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Cuthell, cleared by Berger and McGeorge Bundy, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Manila for FELG and CINCPAC for POLAD.

435. 1. Department has given careful consideration to current situation in Medan and Surabaya, including recommendations your 598 and 609,/2/ has concluded that what we faced with is culmination concerted campaign by PKI and probably others to bring about closing of our consulates, with collusion or tacit approval by Central Govt. We recognize possibility that GOI motivation may be complicated by desire use pressure on consulates as weapon against us, that it may find role of consulates as "whipping boy" useful to head off internal confrontation, and that it may lack ability control extremist actions in provinces.

/2/In telegrams 598 and 609 from Djakarta, both September 10, Green urged that Rusk call in Indonesian Ambassador Palar to protest demonstrations against U.S. Consulates and to "make it painfully clear to him that any serious attacks against our properties or persons will force the US to take important decisions re its relations with Indonesia." Green recommended that Rusk imply that the United States might close its consulates, or even the Embassy, and require Indonesia to do the same. (Ibid.)

2. We suspect GOI attitude may be composite of foregoing, but regardless of motivation GOI has created situation which is making our position untenable, and we do not see significant chance for improvement. We believe any further deterioration will introduce serious danger to personal safety of Americans in provinces, though perhaps not in Djakarta.

3. With this in mind, we believe time has come to demand explicit and effective guarantee from GOI of security American persons and property in Indonesia from both mob action and harassment by either public or private Indo groups or people. Failing receipt of such guarantee in credible form in very near future, we intend close Surabaya Consulate. Without specifying Surabaya Secretary will make this position clear to Palar today, noting that if we find such action necessary we will have to look into question of continuation of Indo presence here in its present form. Our current thought is that, if Indos do not follow through, we would close Surabaya late next week. Report Secretary's meeting with Palar will follow septel./3/

/3/For the Rusk-Palar meeting, see Document 140.

4. We fully aware value of Surabaya as listening post and that consular district contains number of American citizens, but feel we are too close to end of line to let these considerations outweigh need for action on our part. We also feel that if Indos fail to act and we close Surabaya, GOI will be faced with decision to protect Medan or face seeing it go too. If GOI really wants both consulates shut (at clearly implied price their consulates here) they will produce this result themselves at time their choosing with maximum damage to us. If they do not want both closed, vigorous action re Surabaya may bring about more cautious action re Embassy and Medan. We also recognize chance that Indos will interpret closing as hostile gesture, but believe we must take this chance.

5. In order to have decks cleared and to minimize danger to individuals next week, believe you should bring dependents and any employees who can be spared from Surabaya to Djakarta during next few days, i.e. prior closing, and that Surabaya should complete maximum destruction classified material. Do not suggest, but do not wish foreclose if you think necessary, similar action with Medan at this point. At political level, you should follow line Secretary takes with Palar (septel) with Subandrio, Suwito or any other responsible Indonesian you can find so that we can be sure message gets through.

6. Request info current summary non-Govt U.S. citizens in Surabaya district, your plans for notifying them if Consulate closes, your views on probably academic question protection U.S. Govt property after closure.



140. Memorandum of Conversation/1/

Washington, September 10, 1965.

/1/Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964-66, POL 17 US-INDON. Confidential. Drafted by Goodspeed and approved in S on September 20.

Secretary's Conversation with Ambassador Palar

The Secretary
Ambassador Lambertus N. Palar, Indonesian Embassy
Mr. Samuel D. Berger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
Mr. H. Kent Goodspeed, Officer-in-Charge, Indonesian Affairs

1. The Secretary told Ambassador Palar that he had asked him to come in regarding the serious problem of Indonesia not affording the most elementary rights of legation to diplomatic and consular establishments.

2. The Secretary said that the United States was becoming increasingly concerned about the repeated intrusions in Indonesia on the rights of legation, which have been recognized for many years as fundamental to the elementary proprieties of international conduct. We afford these rights to Indonesian representatives in the United States, and we expect them to be afforded our representatives in Indonesia. The United States must know more clearly what the intentions of the Indonesian Government are. We find the present situation intolerable. If the Government of Indonesia really wants a continuation of diplomatic relations, it must afford adequate protection to our personnel and our installations.

3. The Secretary emphasized that he was not discussing any of the foreign policy issues about which Indonesia and the United States have different opinions. Rather, he was referring to the structure of diplomacy by which foreign relations are carried out. The most basic requirement of this structure is that diplomatic representatives be protected and allowed to conduct their business without harassment. The Indonesian Government is not providing this protection.

4. Ambassador Palar said he regretted the attacks on our establishments which had taken place. He attempted to explain them by saying that Sukarno allows demonstrations so that he may respond to the wishes of the people, and that unfortunately sometimes the demonstrations get out of hand, particularly outside of Djakarta. Sukarno's strength, he said, is that he never goes beyond what he knows the people of Indonesia want.

5. The Secretary responded that the United States does not underestimate the leadership qualities of President Sukarno, which have been manifested in many ways. In this matter, however, we have not heard him tell the Indonesian people to respect the right of legation. What we have heard him say would tend to encourage demonstrations, not restrain them. We do not believe that President Sukarno is helpless in the face of public opinion. Our impression is that he is the leader of Indonesia, who shapes and molds public opinion in his country.

6. The Secretary emphasized that it is of the utmost importance that the highest level of the Indonesian Government understands that if Indonesia wants relations with the United States, it must correct the situation which has developed and which has now become dangerous. If the Indonesian Government allows mass demonstrations to continue to the point where we can no longer operate and where the safety of our people is involved, we shall have to examine the position of Indonesian installations in the United States. Before departing, Ambassador Palar said that he was embarrassed by what is happening in Indonesia and that he had no excuse for it. He would convey the Secretary's request to his Government immediately./2/

/2/According to telegram 329 to Djakarta, September 17, Palar called on Rusk on that day to "reaffirm GOI intention honor rights of legation." Palar stated that the Indonesian Government would allow and, on occasion encourage, demonstrations, but it had issued strict orders to the police to prevent violence. (Ibid., POL 23-8 INDON)


141. Memorandum From James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson/1/

Washington, September 14, 1965, 8:30 p.m.

/1/Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 14, Sept 1-22, 1965. Secret. There is an indication on the memorandum that the President saw it.

Developments in the Far East

This is the second of the series of daily regional reports of possibly newsworthy items.

[Here follows a report on Vietnam.]


The going here is rough and will probably get rougher. The riots against our consulate at Surabaya caused Secretary Rusk to dress down the Indo Ambassador and demand assurances of protection for U.S. lives and property./2/ Foreign Minister Subandrio has now given Ambassador Green such assurances; but we remain skeptical, and the Indo Communist Party may well be mounting a new offensive to force us out of our two consulates (and eventually out of the country altogether). An Indo-U.S. break would be a major victory for the Communists; relations are far harder to re-open than to break. But the Indo Government may hold the key./3/

/2/See Document 140.

/3/In a September 23 memorandum to the President, which Johnson saw, Cooper and McGeorge Bundy informed the President that Indonesian harassment of U.S. Consulates continued and the Department of State was considering closing them unless Indonesia took steps to protect them. Bundy and Cooper noted that Green believed closing the consulates under PKI pressure would "only whet the appetite" of anti-American forces and the Embassy would be the next target. Bundy and Cooper noted that the Department of State was under considerable pressure to reduce official representation in Indonesia to a minimum, and "the prospects for continued diplomatic relations with Indonesia become dimmer every day." (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 14, Sept. 1-22, 1965)

Our main objective remains to ride out the long storm with battened hatches (reduced diplomatic staffing) in an effort to play for the long-term post-Sukarno stakes. [We have solid new reports of Sukarno's deteriorating health.]/4/

One item that caused concern in the press and on Capitol Hill is now dead and buried: the Indo Army has rejected a U.S. company's offer (Philco) to buy Government-licensed equipment for three sites of a fixed-site telecommunications project. Because of our still friendly relations with key Army leaders, we would prefer to see this piece of news soft-pedalled.

[Here follow reports on "Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and Communist China."]

/4/Brackets in the source text.

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