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

1525. After discussion this morning of Indo-Dutch matters (Embtel 15182) Djuanda and Subandrio turned to domestic political situation.

Djuanda expressed opinion that chances for restoration of effective SukarnoHatta relationship not greater then 50–50. He said nine man committee of Parliament had had several meetings with both men and had worked out formula for Hatta’s return to Vice Presidency. Hatta had agreed to give his decision last Saturday, December 7, but at last minute had requested another week to think it over. He has gone to Bandung to do so and representatives of nine man committee are going there to see him shortly. Whole committee is meeting with Sukarno and Djuanda this afternoon. Djuanda said he could not reveal details of formula, but it does provide for Hatta to become Vice President and then for certain steps to be taken with respect to formation of new government. Djuanda said he had assured members of committee that he and his cabinet would not stand in way of any change and were prepared to resign at any time. Djuanda implied that chief problem to be solved is composition government and whether or not it would stand on three or four legs; i.e., would it include PKI?

In response to question, Djuanda said he believed recent assassination attempt, despite its tragic consequences, had had beneficial effect on both Sukarno and Hatta. It apparently has caused both men to reconsider some of their previously held views and thus made compromise more likely. However, Djuanda reaffirmed belief that chances of reunion not much better than 50 percent.

In speaking of internal situation Djuanda spoke with some bitterness of past role of Masjumi and PSI whose actions in withdrawing all support from Sukarno and government had only resulted in pushing Sukarno further to the left. He blamed himself also for having withdrawn too much from direct political arena in past. He expressed opinion that America had given too much support to Masjumi and had been too obviously supporting anti-Communist activity. He said this only served to exaggerate differences within the [Page 545] country and pushed the moderates like himself more close to Sukarno and the left. Djuanda said he had been and was still working hard to restore the SukarnoHatta partnership in the interest of middle-of-the-road government. However, if extremists in the Masjumi and PSI circles forced the issue and attempted to keep Hatta in opposition, he, and Djuanda, would side with Sukarno.

I said it was mistake to think America was supporting one faction in Indonesia against another. What we are interested in is a strong, politically stable, economically sound government which was truly independent. Subandrio reverted to previous discussion about difficulties with Dutch and raised hypothetical question as to whether or not America would impose any conditions on an Indonesian Government if it should agree to support resumption of talks between Indonesians and Dutch. He particularly asked whether America would wish to change Indonesia’s neutral foreign policy.

I replied that question in those terms had not arisen but from my knowledge of Washington thinking I was certain that there was no desire to have Indonesia change her neutral policy and that reasons for it were understood. I then said that speaking most frankly I knew that Washington was greatly concerned at increasing internal Communist strength and seeming tendency of government under lead of Sukarno to favor this trend. I asked whether, if American Government should do anything along line Subandrio had mentioned, it could expect Indonesian Government to take more forth-right stand against internal increase in Communist strength? Djuanda then said that in all honesty he could not say government would at once take “forthright” stand aganst local Communists, but atmosphere would be created in which government and Sukarno could begin to act more in accord with what he knew our desires to be. Any such action by America would show a confidence in Indonesian Government which would pay dividends. Subandrio added that we must remember that Sukarno’s whole attitude is colored by West Irian question. Anyone who supports him on that is friend, anyone who opposes is an enemy.

Both Djuanda and Subandrio then made further plea for American understanding and, if possible, speedy action to break the present impasse with the Dutch. I made no comment other than to say their views would be reported.

Comment: Most unusual for Djuanda to receive me in presence Subandrio. This may have perfectly simple explanation in fact that I had also requested to see Subandrio upon his return, and this seemed easiest way to kill two birds with one stone. On other hand Subandrio is said by many to be much closer to Sukarno than Djuanda and to have been much more of a leading spirit in West Irian campaign. Djuanda, according to at least one good source, has tried to resign [Page 546] more than once recently. Subandrio therefore may have been present to assure that Djuanda followed the party line completely. Djuanda appeared more cheerful and confident than when I saw him a week ago. It may be he has definitely decided, as he implied, to throw his lot in full force with Sukarno and that fact decision has been made results in psychological relief. I shall attempt to see him alone as soon as possible in an effort to reach a sounder judgment.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/12–1157. Secret.
  2. Document 317.