Memorandum by the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Rusk) to the Secretary of State


Subject: Improvement in Indonesian Position re Trading with Communist China

Indonesia abstained from voting on the United Nations Political and Security Committee’s resolution of May 17 calling for an embargo against Communist China.1 According to press reports of May 17, Indonesian Foreign Minister Subardjo announced, a few hours before the UN action was taken, that Indonesia would obey the embargo if voted.

This Indonesian action is noteworthy in view of reports from our Ambassador on May 15 indicating that Subardjo and other ranking members of the Indonesian Government were then in favor of instructing the Indonesian delegate to the UN to vote against the embargo; and in view of well-publicized statements made by Subardjo on May 7 and his subordinate, Zain, on May 11 indicating that Indonesia was seriously considering selling 50,000 tons of rubber to Communist China.

I believe that the abrupt reversal in the Indonesian position, although it will no doubt receive a hostile press in Indonesia, is a clear diplomatic gain for the U.S. and is attributable primarily to your conversation with the Indonesian Ambassador on May 14, and to the cogent and well-timed representations made by Ambassador Cochran on this matter in Djakarta. The Ambassador, incidentally, reports that he held a buffet dinner for the Indonesian Cabinet and Chiefs of diplomatic missions in Djakarta on the evening of May 17, which he believes helped to relieve the tension resulting from the embargo discussions.

  1. Documentation is scheduled for publication in volume vii.