Eisenhower Library, Eisenhower papers, Whitman file

No. 252
Memorandum of Discussion at the 161st Meeting of the National Security Council, Washington, September 9, 19531

top secret
eyes only


Present at the 161st Council meeting were the following: The Vice President of the United States, presiding; the Secretary of State; the Secretary of Defense; the Director, Foreign Operations Administration; the Director, Office of Defense Mobilization. Also present were the Secretary of the Treasury; the Acting Director, Bureau of the Budget; the Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff; Robert R. Bowie, Department of State; Douglas MacArthur, II, Department of State; Elbert P. Tuttle, Department of the Treasury; the Director of Central Intelligence; the Deputy Director of Central Intelligence; the Assistant to the President; Robert Cutler, Special Assistant to the President; the Acting White House Staff Secretary; Gerald D. Morgan and Bryce Harlow, White House Staff; the Executive Secretary, NSC; and the Deputy Executive Secretary, NSC.

Following is a summary of the discussion at the meeting and the chief points taken.

. . . . . . .

7. U.S. Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Indonesia (NSC 124/2; NSC Action No. 872–b; Memo for NSC from Executive Secretary, same subject, dated September 3, 1953, enclosing Progress Report, dated August 27, 1953, by the Secretary of State and the Acting Secretary of Defense on “United States Objectives and Courses of Action With Respect to Indonesia”, Current Supplement to Indonesian Section of Progress Report on NSC 124/2, August 5, 1953)2

Mr. Cutler stated that this report on Indonesia was of extraordinarily high quality and interest. It had been prepared for the information of the Council because of the accession to power of a new government in Indonesia. Mr. Cutler added that a new policy with [Page 385] respect to Indonesia was in course of preparation and would shortly be presented to the Council.

Mr. Flemming3 observed that upon reading the report he had reached the conclusion that our State Department felt that we had a three-year binding purchase agreement on tin with the Indonesian Government. ODM was not clear as to whether this agreement was binding for two or for three years. It was extremely important that the obscurity be clarified, in view of present stockpiling planning on tin. We were already absorbing more Bolivian tin than the stockpile needed, and if additional amounts of tin were to come from Indonesia, a decision needed to be made.

Mr. Bowie4 indicated agreement that this problem should be settled. So far as he knew, the State Department did take the view that this Government was involved in a three-year contract, and he pointed out the unfortunate repercussions if the United States seemed to be welching on a contract. He indicated that this issue should be clarified in the forthcoming new policy paper on Indonesia.

Mr. Stassen5 then inquired as to the status of the Indonesian Government’s request for a United States military mission. He indicated his view that such military missions were very desirable, particularly in unstable nations.

Mr. Cutler pointed out that we had had to move carefully in this matter for fear of offending our Dutch friends, whose military mission would be replaced.

Mr. Stassen commented that if we sent a U.S. mission to Indonesia our Dutch friends might well be offended, but they would not go Communist.

Mr. Bowie and Admiral Radford6 both indicated that up to now the United States had not received a formal request for such a military mission to Indonesia, although Admiral Radford had added that we would be very glad to send such a mission if it were requested.

. . . . . . .

The National Security Council:7

Noted the reference Progress Report on the subject by the Secretary of State and the Acting Secretary of Defense.
Noted the report by Mr. Cutler that the NSC Planning Board had withdrawn the recommendation contained in the last paragraph of the reference memorandum of September 3, 1953.8

. . . . . . .

S. Everett Gleason
  1. Drafted on Sept. 10 by S. Everett Gleason, Deputy Executive Secretary of the NSC.
  2. For text of NSC 124/2, see Part 1, p. 125. Regarding NSC Action No. 872, see footnote 3, supra. The progress report, without Lay’s covering memorandum of Sept. 3, is supra.
  3. Arthur S. Flemming, Director of the Office of Defense Mobilization.
  4. Robert R. Bowie, Director of the Policy Planning Staff, Department of State.
  5. Harold E. Stassen, Director of the Foreign Operations Administration.
  6. Adm. Arthur W. Radford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff since Aug. 15, 1953.
  7. Subparagraphs a and b constitute NSC Action No. 903.

  8. The recommendation had been sent that the NSC direct the Psychological Strategy Board to prepare a psychological strategy plan for Indonesia.