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

83. CINCPAC also for POLAD. In absence of Foreign Minister who is on 4-day leave, Secretary General Suwito summoned me at 9 o’clock this morning to inform me that 4-engine bomber at 12:55 local time July 6 had flown over Donggala in north central Sulawesi (west coast) from west to east and dropped oil drums on roofs of houses in small village of Wani. Latter is located between Taiwaeli and Laeba (map coordinates 0039 south 11949 east). Amount of damage still under investigation.

When I pressed him for details he said he had none but would supply them as soon as obtained. I expressed amazement because I could [Page 238] not conceive what could be purpose of such raid. Suwito said GOI did not know, but in strictest confidence he would tell me that Major Samba was hiding in village of Donggala or vicinity and that GOI speculation was that drums were to supply oil and gas for rescue plane.

What distressed Indonesian Government was that this represented continuance of outside interference. Prime Minister, he said, was very much upset this morning because there was no place in Indonesia not under control of GOI forces from which 4-engine plane could operate. This meant plane was either based in Taiwan or Philippines but GOI believed it to be Taiwan. Whether purpose of raid was to cause damage or to rescue rebel leader made no difference to GOI, he said—both cases constituted continuance of foreign intervention.

Coming at this time, he said, event was particularly unfortunate. GOI would do everything possible to prevent incident reaching newspapers but this was not easy with this incident added to B–26 actions of June 15 and 27. He did not imply that US Government had anything to do with this but requested that we do everything possible to suppress further actions of this character. Should story get out, he emphasized, nothing could prevent Communists from exploiting situation in such a way as to cause serious deterioration in US-Indonesian relations and destroy much of what had been accomplished in last two months.

He described plane as probably B–29, whereupon I pointed out there were no B–29’s in this part of world and that I would appreciate further details of aircraft description if possible. Since drop took place at noon one could assume good visibility this time of year. My own guess was that if in fact this was 4-engine aircraft it was probably DC–4.

Suwito said that what distressed Prime Minister was that this kind of thing should still continue after rebel forces had been defeated. Since big plane of this kind could easily be identified and must be serviced at sizable airport, GOI recognized that effort of this character could not take place without cognizance of government of whatever territory involved. In interest of improving US-Indonesian relations he pleaded that US exert all possible pressure on governments in area to prevent further occurrences, mentioning again particularly GRC on Taiwan and Philippine Government.

[Page 239]

Comment: In view Taipei despatch 7391 of June 4 there seems no doubt that plane came from Taiwan. At this stage of improving relations here continuance of this kind of thing makes no sense. Possibility of Communist takeover of Indonesia can be greatly enhanced if mutual effort to improve relations can be nipped in bud. Following on heels of Pope case I can think of nothing more likely to accomplish this than publicity on these incidents which will inevitably follow their continuance. It is impossible to convince Indonesians that US does not have sufficient influence in Pacific to stop this kind of thing if we wish to and if this continues they will believe it to be case of right and left hand regardless of how strong our assurances to them may be. They know GRC could not exist without US support and consequently will continue to believe US lending tacit support to this kind of thing unless incidents cease.

Taipei despatch 739 indicates GRC see advantages continue limited support Indonesian rebels. I regard continued rebel resistance as providing absolutely no leverage whatsoever in moving Indonesians towards anti-Communist position. On contrary such action only exacerbates situation and ties down GOI army preventing its return to Java where it has and we believe will continue exert pressures against Communists. Therefore I recommend Department authorize Ambassador Drumright outline our views to Foreign Minister Yeh and seek withdrawal GRC support to rebels.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/7–558. Top Secret. Drafted by Looram of WE. Dulles was in Paris for talks with French leaders July 3–5.
  2. In despatch 739 Ambassador Drumright reported a conversation he had on June 4 with Foreign Minister Yeh during which the Foreign Minister summarized a conversation he had in Taipei with Indonesian insurgent leader Colonel Warouw 4 or 5 days earlier. Warouw had appealed for military assistance from the Republic of China and Yeh told Drumright “that the Chinese are continuing to assist the Indonesian dissidents. He said that an unspecified quantity of small arms made in Chinese arsenals had recently been dispatched to the dissidents.” (Ibid., 756D.00/6–458) See Supplement.
  3. In telegram 20 to Taipei, July 8, the Department asked Drumright to discuss with Foreign Minister Yeh the points raised in telegram 83 from Djakarta, “urging him for reasons discussed by Jones to discourage any further raids against Indonesian forces if they are in fact being staged by ChiNats.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/7–758) See Supplement.

    In telegram 118 from Djakarta, July 9, Jones reported that during a call on Djuanda that morning he informed the Prime Minister that the United States deplored the air raid by a four-engine plane reported in telegram 83. The Ambassador said the United States also deplored what appeared to be evidence of military assistance to the rebels originating outside of Indonesia. “He expressed appreciation,” Jones noted, “and seemed convinced that I meant what I said and was not merely going through motions.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/7–958) See Supplement.