252. Telegram From the Embassy in the Netherlands to the Department of State1

319. Re Deptel 340.2 Foreign Office officials here have discussed Netherlands position on UNGA consideration New Guinea resolution.3 Some officers voicing serious concern that in view new factors there is very real possibility resolution might gain required two-thirds support. New elements mentioned are enlargement Arab-Asian membership UN (with Ghana and Malaya increments) and drive which Indos will put on to secure support from others, particularly Latin American States, who Dutch regard as holding decisive votes. They have learned that Sukarno is making tour this fall which will take him to Brazil, Chile, Mexico and other Latin capitals. Dutch foresee these visits as golden opportunity for Sukarno to gain Latin support for New Guinea resolution.

As I understand fundamentals of this problem US has five basic interests:

Keeping Indos out of Communist camp;
Continued cooperation with our Dutch ally;
Peaceful and, if possible, amicable relations between Dutch and Indos;
Retention of West New Guinea in hands most likely and able keep it out of Communist clutches and
Best interests of indigenous population West New Guinea.

Bearing of point (1) not for me to measure, but developments recent years and months give little evidence that our “neutrality” has contributed to solution of problem in any significant way. I doubt that Indonesia would go Communist because we acted in accordance our own interests on New Guinea, nor do I think our continued “neutrality” will put us in any better position to aid the real anti-Communist forces in Indonesia. I assume Department would agree that consideration points (2) and (4) would bring us to side of Dutch on this issue. Point (3) more difficult assess, but continued agitation in UN year after year hardly seems best way accomplish desired result. As for point (5), case might be made that Dutch have not [Page 420] done all they could to bring native Papuans from stone-age to modern civilization but I find little evidence that Indonesians better equipped to do this formidable job. It is, of course, not necessary for me to review for the Department probable consequences of Dutch defeat on this issue. However, it may be pertinent to consider that, if New Guinea vote does indeed develop two-thirds support against Dutch, probability is that margin victory would be one or two votes at most. In such event, United States could not possibly avoid being made scapegoat for Netherlands defeat. We need not elaborate on unpleasantries which this situation would produce, not only in bilateral context, but in whole sphere our NATO associations.

In summary, we have real security interests in giving at least some measure of support to the Dutch in the UNGA consideration and I fail find anything but unfulfilled hopes and speculations for not acting in accordance with those interests. Specific tactics in handling question in UN can best be judged in US but I hope that a hard look is first given to determine what we want and hope to accomplish.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/8–2357. Confidential; Priority.
  2. Telegram 340 to The Hague, August 22, informed the Embassy that the Dutch Ambassador had called on the Secretary on August 21 to urge U.S. reconsideration of its neutrality policy and support of the Dutch position concerning New Guinea. The Secretary agreed to review the U.S. position. (Ibid., 656.56D13/8–2257)
  3. A letter of August 16 from the representatives of 21 Asian and African nations to the U.N. Secretary-General requested the inclusion of an item entitled “The question of West Irian (West New Guinea)” in the agenda of the Twelfth Session of the General Assembly; for text, see U.N. doc. A/3644.