13. Editorial Note

On February 6 at the 354th meeting of the National Security Council, Allen Dulles discussed Indonesian developments during his intelligence briefing:

“Turning to the situation in Indonesia, Mr. Dulles said that if there was to be a climax in Indonesia, we were on the point of reaching it; but one has to be very skeptical about the Indonesians and about any climax. As a people, the Indonesians often do a lot of talking, accompanied by very little action; but it seems that the dissidents will join in submitting an ultimatum to the Djakarta government on the 7th of February. In brief, the ultimatum will say ’clean up or clear out’. Meanwhile, an envoy of the dissidents has been in contact with Sukarno in Tokyo. Reports of this meeting seemed to be in character with what we know about Sukarno. He is alleged to have wept; but after the envoy had departed, Sukarno had sent instructions to Djakarta to make no change in policy. Accordingly, his tears may have been of the crocodile variety. The date of Sukarno’s return to Indonesia has now been set for February 15.

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“Meanwhile, there have been some negotiations between the Central Government and the dissidents on Sumatra. The latter have now in readiness a complete new Cabinet for Indonesia. Mr. Dulles thought it likely that the ultimatum would be presented by the dissidents, and that the government would then suggest further negotiations. Sukarno would then return, after which anything could happen—possibly a blow-up. The great problem is where the Army stands, particularly the forces in Java. These forces seem divided in their loyalty between the dissidents and the Central Government. The military capabilities of the dissidents have recently improved, although they profess to fear greatly an air attack from Java.

“The Sultan of Djogjakarta has arrived in Washington, allegedly to take part in a conference on tourism. This was very queer conduct for the Sultan, but a great many Indonesian fence-sitters are busy getting out of the way until the situation clarifies. Mr. Dulles concluded by predicting the possibility that, whatever happened, the outer islands would split off from Java.” (Memorandum of discussion, drafted by Gleason, February 7; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

On February 4 and 5, the Sultan of Djogjakarta had a series of meetings with Department of State officials during which he offered his assessment of current Indonesian developments. Memoranda of these conversations are in Department of State, Central File 756D.00.