250. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State1

468. Subandrio told me this morning that while he was sure there was much in Sukarno’s August 17 speech which we did not like nevertheless he wanted to point out certain facts which might be encouraging. Foreign Minister claims to have spent four hours with President working on speech with result that all passages which [Page 417] might have given direct aid and comfort to Communists were eliminated. Subandrio said it significant that there were no quotations from Mao Tse-tung or Madame Sun Yat-sen and no praise of Communist Chinese methods. Only person quoted at any length and with approval was Nehru. Subandrio considers these points constitute an improvement over previous speeches but agrees much remains to be done.

First definite inkling of what Sukarno means by “guided democracy” was also given by Subandrio. According to Foreign Minister, Sukarno does not contemplate that guidance will be given by him or any other individual but by principles. As practiced up to present in Indonesia democracy has, in mind of President, seemed to mean only freedom to criticize indiscriminately and freedom to advance individual interests; in other words democracy was degenerating into license and anarchy. The President is trying to get the leaders and the people to act from principle and not personal interest and it is principles which must guide democracy. Subandrio is frank to admit that President does not yet have clear idea of what final form his guided democracy will take.

From discussion of President’s speech Subandrio went on to discuss internal situation as result of Communist election victories. He claims that PNI leaders are at last really awakened to danger of PKI and pointed to recent order from PNI headquarters to Jogjakarta division to repudiate election campaign agreement with PKI as indication of their concern. Roem of Masjumi mentioned same thing to me last night as an encouraging sign. Subandrio also reported that army has become seriously concerned and that government and party leadership are being increasingly bombarded with demands from army to do something to halt PKI.

Foreign Minister then went on to say that in his opinion greatest long run potential danger to Indonesian independence is Communist China. He is particularly concerned at possibilities of economic penetration and control through large Chinese community here. Present Communist Chinese Ambassador is much more active on behalf of his nationals than any of his predecessors and Subandrio said that many Nationalist Chinese here are beginning to switch over to Communists as are many of Chinese who had become Indonesian citizens. Activities of some Chinese businessmen on behalf of Communists is also alarming and one of them has been deported without publicity according to Subandrio. Foreign Minister says he has also called in Communist Chinese Ambassador and protested at attempt of Chinese Communists to send prominent political leaders here in guise of correspondents. Indonesian Communists, according to Subandrio, look to Peking for guidance not to Moscow and he is convinced that Peking is also supplying substantial funds to PKI. On danger from [Page 418] Communist China Sukarno is difficult to convince but Foreign Minister believes progress is being made.

This discussion with Subandrio and talk yesterday with Prime Minister (Embtel 4472) are most encouraging I have had with any Indonesian leaders recently showing as they do consciousness of problems and efforts to meet those problems but it is far too soon to predict a happy ending.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/8–2157. Secret.
  2. Supra.