117. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State0

4544. For Assistant Secretary Robertson from Ambassador Jones. To ascertain Gen. Nasution’s views re possible US visit ARMA made discreet inquiry through staff officer who reported Nasution said he was prepared leave for US any time but only if it were possible during such visit to sign agreement obtain military equipment.

Nasution also said he would be glad see me later this week if I cared to call assuming I had something of substance to discuss with him. I think now might be an opportune time to follow up my previous conversation (Embtel 4116)1 ascertain Nasution’s current thinking and make sure he understands real basis of US support to GOI as outlined urtel 34032 to Admiral Stump and also limitations urtel 3409.3

I believe timing is right for this kind of talk with Nasution because (A) PNI are coming out publicly with anti-PKI stand (see Embtel 4431)4 and will step up political opposition to Commies; (B) imminent Cabinet change expected weaken Commies; (C) Sukarno’s recent mild speeches and attitudes are reportedly viewed with alarm by PKI; (D) improved US-Indo relations are obstructive to Commie objectives and; (E) end of rebel armed resistance when army takes Menado means troops will return to Java to strengthen anti-Commie forces.

All above developments may cause Commie reaction which army must be prepared to meet and continue to control if GOI pursues harder line against Commies.

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In this interview it may be useful to lead Nasution into discussion of Commie reaction and his estimate of army requirements to maintain internal order against this threat. We can then consider supply of these requirements under the above rationale to coinside with Cabinet changes and resolution military campaign in Sulawesi.

In addition to exploration of above subject with Nasution it would be very helpful if I were able to be immediately responsive to request of Foreign Minister (Embtel 4503)5 that we supply non-combat engineering bridging equipment to army on priority basis for restoration of land communications in Sumatra. This material is similar to items which appear on master list of arms and equipment long pending and orginally called for equipping twelve combat engineering companies. If Department can authorize me to say that we will deliver this kind of material as quickly as possible after Nasution specifies what he needs, I am sure it would go long way with Indonesian army, which has not yet received any material among export licenses recently approved for other branches of Government and armed forces. It would also help offset effect Pope case and have the distinct advantage of showing Nasution that we are not merely talking about support but are actually prepared to provide it.

Department views would be appreciated before Friday.6

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/6–3358. Top Secret; Niact.
  2. Document 86.
  3. See footnote 1, Document 114.
  4. Document 111.
  5. In telegram 4431, May 28, the Embassy reported that the PNI Central Board issued a statement in Djakarta on May 27, “which, although not naming PKI, amounts to attack on Communist Party.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–2858) See Supplement.
  6. Dated May 31. (Department of State, Central Files, 256D.1122–Pope, Allen Lawrence/5–3158)
  7. The Department replied in telegram 3613 to Djakarta, June 5, which reads in part as follows: “Believe further conversations with Nasution along lines suggested by you would be helpful especially in assessing his thinking and plans. Although no specific gesture toward Army has yet been taken by us all steps which have been taken contribute to army’s apparent objective strengthening hands of anti-communist and pro-U.S. elements.” (Ibid., 756D.00/6–358) See Supplement.