133. Memorandum From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rice) to the Deputy Director of the United States Information Agency (Wilson)1


  • Plan to Counter Afro-Asian Anti-American Propaganda

This is a belated reply to your memorandum of May 17, 1963,2 to Mr. Hilsman putting forth certain suggestions for countering Afro-Asian anti-American propaganda.

We considered your suggestion for sending a protest to the Indonesian Government about the accusations of the Afro-Asian Journalists’ Conference regarding United States actions in Cuba, Laos, Korea and South Viet-Nam. Governor Harriman had already made very strong representations to Indonesian Ambassador Zain about the resolutions which incorporated these accusations (Department’s Telegram 1014 to Djakarta, May 11, 1963)3 and we intend to hand Ambassador Zain a [Page 344] pro memoria embodying our representations in writing on his return from Europe. I am sure you are aware that our Embassy in Djakarta sent an excellent follow-up to its original protest to the Indonesian Government about the Afro-Asian Journalists’ Conference (Djakarta’s Telegram 1885, May 24, 1963 and Department’s Telegram 1072 to Djakarta, May 24, 1963).4

It has appeared questionable to us, however, whether it would be desirable for the United States to publicize our own démarches to the Indonesian Government. Such publicity at this juncture might jeopardize our aid program in Indonesia which we have a deep interest in carrying forward in pursuit of our fundamental objective of maintaining Indonesia’s independence.

Moreover, I am sure you will agree that subsequent developments, particularly the hopeful prospects emerging from the Manila Conference of the Foreign Ministers of the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaya,5 indicate that a public campaign by the United States aimed at the Indonesian Government would not be advisable. We, of course, have no objection to a continuing USIA campaign to keep the correct story before the world of United States’ actions regarding Cuba, Laos, Korea, and South Viet-Nam, but without bringing Indonesia into the picture in any denigrating fashion.

We agree with your suggestion considering the Asian Journalists’ Conference proposed by the Malayan Government, and shall cable our Embassy in Kuala Lumpur for its reactions to your idea that the posts in the area might be quietly circularized for suggestions as to reliable and objective journalists who might be invited by the Malayan Government to the conference. Our last information (dating from late March) indicates that this conference is aimed by the Malayan Government at setting public opinion straight with respect to Malaysia, and that the conference is scheduled rather vaguely for some time this summer rather than specifically June as earlier reports stated. Our staffs can keep in touch with each other regarding further developments about this conference.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 306, DIRCTR Sub Files, 1963–69, Bx 6–29 63–69: Acc: #72A5121, Entry UD WW 257, Box 8, FIELD—Far East (IAF), 1963. Confidential. Drafted by J.A. Mendenhall (FE) on June 21 and cleared by Usher, Bell, and Manell. Mendenhall initialed for all clearing officials. A copy was sent to IAF. In the upper right corner of the memorandum, an unknown hand wrote: “State D/S.” Below this notation, Wilson wrote: “no action req’d. DW.”
  2. See Document 126.
  3. Not found.
  4. Neither found.
  5. The conference took place from June 7 to June 11, during which the Foreign Ministers of Malaya, Indonesia, and the Philippines agreed to work toward unity and to resolve various problems between the three nations, including plans to form the Federation of Malaysia. (“Unity Urged as Manila Talks Open On Proposed Malaysia Federation,” The Washington Post, June 8, 1963, p. A13)