The Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs ( Rusk ) to Mr. John D. Small, Chairman, Munitions Board, Department of Defense

Dear Mr. Small: I wish to ask you to facilitate, by issuance of a Defense Order Priority to the Willys-Overland Export Corporation, [Page 608] the procurement of the following materiel requested by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Indonesia:

1,700 Universal Jeeps CJ3A 4 x 4
1,250 Personnel carrier jeeps 4 x 4
25 Fire Engine jeeps 4 x 4

In a note of February 7, 1951, the Republic of Indonesia requested the assistance of the Secretary of State in obtaining steel allocations necessary for the production and procurement of these, as well as other, vehicles.1 It did not prove necessary that a Defense Order be secured for the procurement of vehicles other than the jeeps. The Economic Cooperation Administration, as claimant agency for Indonesia, has recently discussed with members of the Munitions Board the issuance of a Defense Order for the enumerated jeeps.

The Economic Cooperation Administration has now indicated to the Department of State that it would be desirable for this Department to express its active interest in support of the Indonesian request. The following extracts from the Indonesian Government note referred to are in my opinion an accurate statement of the Indonesian need, and I endorse them:

“In this connection, it may be pointed out that the procurement for the Ministry of Defense of the transportation equipment referred to above is a matter of the greatest urgency, since the maintenance of law and order in Indonesia depends to a very considerable extent on its use. The structure of the Indonesian forces and their task of maintaining security in Indonesia requires that the troops should have a high degree of mobility, and in order to attain such mobility, it is essential to provide the troops with motorized equipment such as specified above. In turn, the maintenance of peaceful conditions is a prerequisite for the stabilization and promotion of economic activity.

“In the past, conditions of insecurity caused by roaming, illegal bands have severely interfered with production in general, and in particular with the production and export of strategic raw materials, such as rubber, et cetera . . .”

As you know, our requests for further assistance from the Government of Indonesia in treating strategic materials problems have recently met resistance primarily because that Government, while wishing to assist us in meeting our import requirements, has asked that the Government of the United States in turn assist Indonesia with the latter’s import requirements. It is particularly desirable that we take affirmative action in the immediate future on this month-old case before General Thomas B. Wilson of the General Services Administration leaves on his rubber buying mission to Indonesia. It would, in fact, be preferred that the Indonesian Government be notified [Page 609] of favorable United States action on the Indonesian request during General Wilson’s negotiations in Indonesia.

It has been suggested that the Government of Indonesia should apply directly to the Department of Defense for the procurement of these vehicles, and for a Defense Order for their production, as reimbursable procurement under Section 408(e) of the Mutual Defense Assistance Program legislation.2 The Department of State believes this proposal to be unnecessarily complicated and probably impractical, because our exchange of notes with the Indonesian Government on military assistance is confined to materiel for the constabulary and the present request is made on behalf of the Ministry of Defense.

I recognize that the United States Government cannot be expected to and should not customarily use defense priorities as a convenient method of meeting foreign government requests for assistance. I should like, however, to request exceptional consideration, if such it be, for the Indonesian requirement for jeeps in view of the small amount of steel involved, the verifiable defense need of the Indonesian Government, and our own need to improve our bargaining position for Indonesian strategic materials.

Sincerely yours,

Dean Rusk
  1. Not printed.
  2. Approved July 26, 1950; 64 Stat. 373.