112. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia0

3446. From Robertson for Jones. Following basic philosophy which guides us presently in our policy toward Indonesia is for your background guidance and discreet use at times and with persons of your choice. FYI. Following was dictated by the Secretary. End FYI.

We have regard and admiration for the abilities of President Sukarno. President Eisenhower well remembers his visit here, and Secretary Dulles recalls not only that but his visit to Djakarta. The Congress and the American people obtained, and retain, a very favorable impression of President Sukarno.

There is, however, a distinct impression which is not exclusive to the United States, that the Communists are taking advantage of the fact that President Sukarno feels a need for greater authority at the top in the situation that confronts him. The Communists are seeking to impose upon Indonesia a Communist-type “dictatorship of the proletariat” which will end up by taking the Indonesian Republic into the Communist camp and making Sukarno in effect a prisoner.

As pointed out, this is not a United States judgment, it is the judgment of many Indonesians of high responsibility. It is also shared by the free world nations which are Western Pacific neighbors of Indonesia and which want to be its friends.

It is utterly unrealistic for anyone to believe that Indonesia can in tranquillity wend its way into the Communist camp. Once it became [Page 202] clear that that was the course, the now dying embers of revolution would burst out in flames and it would not be possible for the United States, even should it so desire, to restrain the impulses of governments and individuals who are dedicated to freedom and some of whom would feel they were imperiled by the course Indonesia was taking.

Furthermore, the economy of Indonesia is so fragile and is so dependent upon the free world and the West, that it would be impossible for long to maintain a viable government and prosperous society if the economic pattern were to be readjusted to dependence upon the Sino-Soviet bloc.

The United States is exerting itself strongly to permit of an orderly and peaceful evolution of Indonesian policy in a direction which will avoid, and preclude, the danger of the Republic being captured by the International Communist movement. The situation cannot, however, for long stand still. We are hoping to see, concretely, the start of a new trend and some action responsive to our own.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–2658. Top Secret. Drafted by Mein and approved by Robertson. Jones refers to this telegram and quotes from it in Indonesia: The Possible Dream, p. 139. The telegram was based on a May 23 memorandum with a virtually identical text from Dulles to Robertson. A copy of that memorandum is in the Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Chronological File.