128. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 0

3901. For the Ambassador from the Secretary. Indonesian leaders have repeatedly told you that they would not be able to conduct military campaign and take action against Communist threat simultaneously but that upon conclusion military campaign definite action against Communists would be taken. We assume therefore that since Army has announced Menado has fallen and since military campaign now concluded something will be done going beyond the insignificant Cabinet reshuffle announced June 25.

Governments of neighboring countries have been repeatedly expressing to us their concern at growing influence and ambitions Communist Party and increasing activities Sino-Soviet bloc in Indonesia. They feel this endangers them. We believe we should let Sukarno know of this concern on part neighboring countries and seek determine from him nature his plans now that military campaign over and obtain from him assurances on which we might rely in defining our attitude.

You should therefore seek appointment with Sukarno soon as possible and speak along following lines.

Some governments in Far East have recently approached US Government and expressed grave concern at growing strength and influence of Communist Party in Indonesia and at increased activities Sino-Soviet bloc in area. They fear that with successful conclusion of military campaign against rebels the Communist threat might increase thereby jeopardizing their own security and independence and ultimately that of the entire area. This concern on their part appears to us to be genuine and justifiable unless the government of Indonesia is prepared in fact to arrest the growth of influence of PKI which seeks bring Indonesia’s political and military structures more and more under the domination of International Communism which will then in turn seek to subvert neighboring countries.

We would like to be able to indicate to these governments that we have confidence that the Indonesian authorities will take the necessary internal measures to check the growth of Communist power and thus to prevent Indonesia from being moved into the Communist camp and effectively losing its independence.

It must be clear to all who study international affairs that PKI is an instrument of Sino-Soviet imperialism and that it takes its direction [Page 233] from leaders of Sino-Soviet bloc and their Communist parties. Recent statements by Nehru that Communist Party in India is guided from without applies equally to PKI and every other Communist Party that follows the International Communist line. It has been demonstrated time and again, most recently by Soviet action in Hungary and by its present policy toward Yugoslavia, that International Communism is intolerant of genuine independence. The President should realistically recognize it as a fact that there cannot but be some reaction on the part of those, Indonesians and neighbors of Indonesia, who see in rising Communist influence prospect of alien domination. They are not, in fact, going to be placidly acquiescent in that.

The President should know that US policy proceeds from the premise that Indonesia should be a vigorous independent member of society of free nations. We assume that this is also the President’s desire. Our policy led us to give support to the desire of Indonesia for independence in the postwar period. Our policy in this respect has never wavered and under it we have given moral, political and economic support to government of Indonesia so long as we could feel confident that such support was helping Indonesia to be independent. In further implementation of this policy US Government would be prepared, if the government of Indonesia takes definite measures toward eliminating Communist threat, to extend additional substantial economic aid and such military aid as would seem appropriate to maintain internal order as against any Communist subversive threat.

The US seeks for itself nothing whatsoever from Indonesia other than that it should be genuinely independent nation. We are sure this is also the desire of the other countries in the area. We would therefore welcome knowledge of concrete measures which the Indonesian Government contemplates taking and also an indication of what the US might do to assist Indonesia in maintaining its freedom and independence. This would put us in a position to enable us to reassure Indonesia’s neighbors who bring to us their concern which we also share.

We are not seeking to align Indonesia with SEATO as occasionally charged. We fully respect the decision of any government to avoid international alignments, even though we ourselves believe that collective security is the best security. History of US relations with Indonesia, as well as with India, Burma and Afghanistan bear ample testimony on sincerity this policy.

SEATO itself has no objective other than mutual defense. It is not and cannot become an instrument of interference in the domestic affairs of any nation.

FYI. You should let Nasution and Djuanda know of this approach to the President to strengthen their hands in their discussions with him [Page 234] for definite action against Communist threat. Also, to strengthen further Nasution’s and Army’s position we are taking steps listed Deptel 3858.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/6–2758. Top Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Mein, O’Sullivan, and Dulles and approved by Robertson and Dulles.
  2. See footnote 1, Document 127.