92. Memorandum From the Officer in Charge of Indonesian and Pacific Island Affairs (Haring) to the Director of the Office of Philippine and Southeast Asian Affairs (Young)1


  • Meeting on April 8, 1955 with G—Mr. Murphy to discuss EUR recommendations for revising US policy on the Western New Guinea issue2

The following Departmental officers participated:

  • G—Mr. Murphy and Mr. Goodyear,3
  • S/P—Mr. Bowie and Mr. Schwartz,4
  • C—Mr. MacArthur,
  • IO—Mr. Key and Mr. Popper,5
  • EUR—Mr. Barbour
  • FE—Mr. Robertson and myself.

On the grounds that there might be some possibility of influencing the Indonesians to minimize the West New Guinea issue, and [Page 147] that we are losing the support of the Australians and Dutch, EUR felt we should take the occasion of the review of our policy toward Indonesia to move off the neutrality position. Mr. Barbour said that neutrality favored the Indonesians especially in that it implied that we felt a dispute existed as to the area. He wished to have a position that would be helpful in our relations with the Australians and the Dutch before the next UNGA and that would forestall deterioration of our NATO, ANZUS, and other relations where we work so closely with these countries. He conceded that neither the Dutch nor the Australians were likely to go so far as to withdraw from these activities with us and that their other interests might outweigh immediate considerations on the New Guinea problem, but that as a continuing irritant on which we failed to respond to them we were damaging our relations with them with effects on “our whole European complex”.

Mr. MacArthur noted that what we do vis-à-vis Indonesia has vast implications to keeping that country of 80 million out of Communist hands and even wider implications as to the whole FE area which is already turbulent.

Mr. Robertson described the neutral policy which had been successfully held thus far as the best possible course we could follow. He said he knew the Australian and Dutch Ambassadors here very well and that they seemed to understand our position and the other issues involved. It is in their own interest that an inflammatory issue, such as West New Guinea, not blow up and incite the Indonesians to move away from the relatively favorable developments we expect to come out of their forthcoming national elections. Nothing could more damage the Dutch and the Australians than to have the Indonesians more unsettled and go toward the Communists for support; New Guinea interests would be insignificant in comparison to those problems.

Mr. Robertson said he saw no need for a US hand in the matter at all; the Dutch by signing Article II of the RTC 6 conceded that there was a dispute, and if our position of neutrality actually suggested that a dispute existed it was no more than the Dutch themselves said when they signed the Article; we do not have to take a position that no dispute exists and we can look to revision of the US policy on New Guinea when and if the Communist threat or other factors cause us to do it.

[Page 148]

There was common agreement among G, S/P, C, FE, and IO that no approach should be made to the Indonesians at this time and that we should not be revising our policy at this time.

G—Mr. Murphy suggested prefacing the draft paragraph with the words: “Since general elections are due in Indonesia in late 1955, we should await their outcome, in the meantime,” maintaining our neutrality, etc.

EUR—Mr. Barbour indicated he would like to discuss that suggestion with others in EUR.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656C.56D/4–1155. Top Secret.
  2. See the enclosure, supra.
  3. John Goodyear, Special Assistant to the Deputy Under Secretary of State.
  4. Harry Schwartz, member of the Policy Planning Staff and NSC Planning Board Assistant.
  5. David H. Popper, Director of the Office of United Nations Political and Security Affairs.
  6. Reference is to the Charter of Transfer of Sovereignty (from the Netherlands to Indonesia), one of several agreements included in the Round Table Conference Agreement, which was accepted at the Round Table Conference at The Hague, November 2, 1949, and went into force on December 27, 1949. For text, see 69 UNTS 3.