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

220. Department pass CINCPAC. CINCPAC also for POLAD. Foreign Minister asked me to call this afternoon to discuss two matters primarily: (1) Continued bombings of North Sulawesi and (2) Iraq situation.

Re bombings he said three places in North Sulawesi—Wori, Kema, and Pitung—had been bombed last night by B–26. He has been requested to report to Cabinet meeting tonight on this matter and particularly US attitude regarding it. Cabinet would discuss preparation of appeal to UN against foreign aggression, he said. He deplored this because of its effect on US-Indonesian relations at a time when these relations were improving but he said reaction of President, Prime Minister and majority of Cabinet was so strong that he was afraid unless bombings [Page 242] stopped decision would be taken. He did not imply US involvement; he did recognize that part of evidence would be submission Pope diary and other exhibits which would have unfortunate effect here. Among other evidence which he had not mentioned before were labels from crates containing arms showing shipment from Taiwan via Clark Field. He added that President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Chief of Staff and himself were meeting tomorrow to consider this whole question.

I repeated what I had said on earlier occasions, that US Government deplored continuing air raids and what appeared to be evidence military assistance to rebels originating outside Indonesia. I also told him that in response to earlier request (Embtel 83)1 further representations had been made. He reiterated what he had said earlier, that GOI military controlled all airports within Indonesia from which B–26 could operate. Therefore plane must be serviced on foreign territory. I said we would appreciate any information as to probable location of airport of origin. As he was aware, US Government was doing its best to discourage outside assistance from whatever source.

He reverted to earlier request that Secretary Dulles make some statement (Embtel 4946).2 I pointed out that my response constituted in effect a statement by Secretary since he had authorized me to provide the Foreign Minister with such assurances on his behalf. Subandrio said that important thing about statement on part of Secretary was effect on Indonesian people generally as well as upon President Sukarno in particular. If Dulles made public statement it would be taken as gospel here. Witness tremendous effect May 20 statement had upon situation.

I responded along lines of Deptel 39353 and emphasized that it would appear somewhat gratuitous with world-wide attention focused on Middle East for Secretary to make a statement regarding Indonesian rebellion which everywhere in America was considered as having been concluded. Foreign Minister continued to plead, leading me to conclusion that Sukarno himself had suggested this. I said that I would of course report what he had said but in light of considerations I had mentioned I could not be too optimistic. Foreign Minister indicated global point of view and recognized it appeared as small matter but he earnestly considered it could be helpful to US-Indonesian relations here.

Re Iraq said Cabinet would raise question with him tonight as to recognition of rebel regime and he inquired as to US attitude. I told him I had no information as to Iraqi situation except what I had heard on radio [Page 243] and that this obviously came from rebel source. I counseled “wait and see” attitude. He indicated this was line he would take but requested that I obtain as soon as possible for his information analysis of situation as US saw it and an indication of our position. He would appreciate my calling him at any time in office or at home in view of urgency of matter and seriousness of crisis. He had already been informed that US naval vessels were in Arabian Sea. I promised that I would advise him soonest. I again raised question of when I might see President and informed him of conversation Embtel 186.4 He had no information but would advise me.

There has been mutual cooling off between President and PKI in recent weeks, Subandrio said. This presents US with real opportunity. “We cannot save Indonesia from Communism without President,” he said. “And we must have help from US.” I countered with observation this was Indonesian not US problem—that we wanted to help but it was up to them. Foreign Minister agreed. “But you must lead us—you must push us,” he said. President has idea US and perhaps Russia too is adopting “wait and see” attitude toward Indonesia. This is no good. They were not expecting dramatic help but they did need to be shown US was not inactive.

This connection continuation of rebel bombings was serious psychological problem to Indonesians. Even Nasution did not understand it. He was saying on subject of communism, “give me the tools and I will do the job.” And he wanted US arms. But he was baffled by bombings which kept resistance going, delayed possibility his using troops for anti-Communist purpose and generally upset schedule he and Prime Minister had in mind.

“Let us not reach an impasse,” Subandrio pleaded. I replied we were just as anxious as he to avoid an impasse. But we had to work this out together. US had to have some indication of GOI intentions. One of purposes of my talk with Sukarno would be to find out what he is thinking about—where do we go from here?

Comment: Indonesian charges before UN of foreign intervention would be most unfortunate at this time in view Middle East tensions. It is possible Foreign Minister was bluffing or tossing out thinly veiled threat, but this is not my judgement. We appear to be gradually sliding backward as result of continued bombings to something resembling situation immediately prior May 2.

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As to request for Secretary to make some statement on continuation of bombings, I recognize validity of considerations raised in Deptel 3935. However in view of recent publicity here on B–29 and B–26 raids, perhaps Department could plant question in Secretary’s press conference which would bring out brief comment that would help us here. I make this suggestion with considerable hesitation because I am reluctant to add to Secretary’s burdens at time when his full attention needs to be concentrated elsewhere. But this might be of considerable importance in preventing deterioration relations with GOI leaders particularly Indonesian military so important to realization US objectives.5

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/7–1558. Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Transmitted in two sections and repeated to Taipei and Manila.
  2. Document 132.
  3. Dated June 29. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/6–2858)
  4. Dated June 30. (Ibid.) See Supplement.
  5. In telegram 186, July 14, Jones reported that during an outing for the Diplomatic Corps the previous day he told Sukarno that he was “very anxious to have a talk with him.” Jones and Sukarno agreed to meet at Bogor Palace rather than in Djakarta indicating that they could talk longer there without interruption. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.11/7–1458)
  6. Telegram 163 to Djakarta, July 19, explained that an unsolicited public statement by the Secretary on bombing raids appearing in the U.S. press would be certain to raise other questions that might be more harmful than the original statement would be helpful. Jones should inform Subandrio of the above and let him know that the United States was again approaching governments of neighboring countries regarding continued bombing missions. (Ibid., 756D.00/7–1558) See Supplement.

    In telegram 320 from Djakarta, July 23, Jones reported that he called on Foreign Minister Subandrio that afternoon and apprised him of the Department’s reaction to his suggestion that Dulles make a statement about the recent bombings. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/7–2358) See Supplement.