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

2092. Joint AliChou statement2 is culmination of trend which has been developing gradually in Indonesian foreign policy under present government. It must also, however, be considered as a logical, though to me unexpected, culmination of the leftward trend of President Sukarno’s own thinking which came into open with his Palembang speech last November,3 as well as evidence of the high price he is willing to pay to fulfill his emotional irredentism re Irian. With respect last point, impetus his ambitions concerning Irian given by unanimous recommendation of Bandung Conference4 may have played part in joint statement. On other hand the very fact that A–A Conference did give support to Indonesia should have made unnecessary specific support of Red China.

With regard to Indonesian foreign policy aspect, we should recall that last year when on his Delhi visit Ali broached question of a [Page 151] non-aggression pact with Red China (Embtel 5265) the reaction in Indonesian political circles, including some elements PNI, was not favorable. Further unfolding of Ali’s mental processes was provided by his statement to me (Embtel 14096) minimizing subversive danger of Chinese Communists in Indonesia and exaggerating the menace of “KMT agents”…. On eve of Bandung Conference, Ali described US policy on Taiwan as “negative” and said his reaction to US appeal for non-use of force in Taiwan Straits was one of disappointment (Embtel 17877). The significance of the dual citizenship treaty,8 which many informed observers here regard as containing no real advantage for Indonesia but constituting a valuable propaganda tool for Peking (Embtel 17959) was the next important step leading to the joint statement issued yesterday.

If additional proof were needed of Ali’s dangerously ignorant fuzziness of mind and opinions re world affairs, it is provided by a statement he made to a reliable American journalist morning April 28 that he thought the states of Eastern Europe were “really free and independent”; Ali next roughly compared their relationship to Soviet Union with relationship between UK and Australia, etc.

A determined and successful effort was made by the anti-Communist countries at Bandung to suppress the five “coexistence principles”10 on grounds that their adoption as such by conference would support Communist propaganda, that China would not sincerely carry out the principles and that joint subscription to them by free world countries and Communist states would be misleading and have a lulling effect on public opinion. Ali’s endorsement of these principles,11 which could not have been made without President Sukarno’s support, therefore must be regarded as a demonstrative step towards closer relations with Peking and toward a more leftist foreign policy.

[Page 152]

In light of contemporary events in the Taiwan area and in the more specific context of my conversation with Ali reported in Embtel 1787, paragraph numbered 4 of the joint statement12 can only mean that in return for formal Red Chinese support of Indonesian claims on Irian, Sukarno and Ali have put into writing and published to the world Indonesian support of Chinese Communist claims on Taiwan. By implication they also support the as yet un withdrawn Chinese assertions that they will “liberate” Taiwan by force.

I believe we cannot under-estimate the value of the joint statement to Peking as endorsement of Red China’s foreign policy. Nor do I believe we should under-estimate the strength it will directly give Indonesian Communists and indirectly the PNI and associated parties in forthcoming election campaign: It is proof that Communists have powerful connections abroad and that they are riding on “wave of future”. On the other hand, judging by their rejection of non-aggression pact idea and their open criticism of dual citizenship treaty, Indonesian opposition parties can be expected to attack the statement severely on ground that it is a departure from Indonesian independent foreign policy. (I am seeing Natsir13 privately April 30 and will try obtain his views this matter as well as on domestic political situation.14)

Since the joint statement affects us and is foreign policy question and since, properly handled, it can also be an important campaign weapon against the present government by such parties as Masjumi and PSI, I would suggest the following course of action: (1) That I be authorized to seek from Prime Minister Ali or Sunario, either on instructions or on my own initiative, clarification of the meaning of paragraph 4, pointing out that an initial interpretation would seem to indicate Indonesian support of any action Red China might take in Taiwan area including [use] of force; (2) That we be cautious in our own comments over VOA and elsewhere until Ali has had an opportunity to give me an explanation; (3) That in meantime we point out to our own press in Washington as background the possible serious implications of the statement and especially paragraph 4, both as regards leftward orientation of Indonesian foreign policy including encouragement to domestic Communist party and support to Chinese actions against Taiwan; (4) That if Ali’s explanation is evasive or unsatisfactory that I be called home for brief [Page 153] period consultation without public explanation. Indonesians will get the point without our having to get embroiled with them publicly.

Foregoing represents views of all Embassy officers including … and PAO.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/4–2955. Secret; Priority.
  2. Reference is to a joint statement issued on April 28, by Ali and Chou at the conclusion of a visit by the latter to Djakarta; for text, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 469–470.
  3. Reference is to Sukarno’s speech in Palembang, Sumatra, on November 9, 1954. Telegram 740 from Djakarta, November 10, 1954, reported that Sukarno had charged that some of the opponents of the Ali government were in the pay of foreigners and declared that anyone in favor of social progress should oppose capitalism. The telegram commented that the speech marked an abandonment of Sukarno’s position above domestic politics and an “unequivocal endorsement” of the existing government coalition and the Nationalist Party. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/11–1054)
  4. The communiqué issued by the Conference on April 24, supported Indonesia’s position in the West Irian dispute, urged the Netherlands Government to reopen negotiations, and expressed the hope that the United Nations would assist in finding a peaceful solution. For text, see AFP: Basic Documents, 1950–1955, vol. II, pp. 2344–2352.
  5. Telegram 526 from Djakarta, September 30, 1954, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 656D.93/9–3054)
  6. Telegram 1409 from Djakarta, February 25, reported on a conversation that morning between Cumming and Ali, not printed. (Ibid., 793.00/4–1355)
  7. Telegram 1787 from Djakarta, April 13, not printed. (Ibid.)
  8. A treaty between Indonesia and the People’s Republic of China, providing that Chinese in Indonesia holding dual citizenship should choose one or the other, was signed at Bandung on April 22. For text, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1955, pp. 465–469.
  9. Telegram 1795 from Djakarta, April 14, not printed. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.08/4–1455)
  10. The five principles, as set forth in a Sino-Indian communiqué of June 28, 1954, were: mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, nonaggression, noninterference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence; for text of the communiqué, see Documents (R.I.I.A.) for 1954, pp. 313–314. In an April 23 speech at the Bandung conference, Chou had proposed seven similar principles; the text of his speech is ibid., 1955, pp. 420–425.
  11. The statement referred to in footnote 2 above stated that Sino-Indonesian relations were based on the five principles listed in footnote 10 above.
  12. Paragraph 4 reads: “The two Prime Ministers declare that it is the inalienable right of the people of any country to safeguard their own sovereignty and territorial integrity. They express deep sympathy and support for the efforts of either of the two countries in safeguarding its own sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
  13. Mohammad Natsir, Chairman of the Masjumi Executive Council.
  14. Cumming’s conversation with Natsir was reported in telegram 2097 from Djakarta, April 30. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/4–3055)