139. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Indonesia


  • The Secretary
  • The Undersecretary
  • FE
    • Mr. Robertson
    • Mr. Parsons
    • Mr. Mein
  • INR
    • Ambassador Cumming
    • Mr. Bartlett Wells
  • Defense
    • Mr. Irwin
    • Admiral Stroh
    • Captain Robbins
  • CIA
    • Mr. Allen Dulles
    • Mr. Frank Wisner
    • Mr. Alfred Ulmer
    • Mr. FitzGerald

Before considering the memorandum submitted by Mr. Robertson on July 301 recommending several courses of action which might be taken by the United States, the Secretary was given a short briefing on current developments in Indonesia. Ambassador Cumming reviewed especially recent activities by the dissidents.

Mr. Irwin stated that the Department of Defense felt that the U.S. should attempt to build up Nasution’s strength as an anti-communist step in Java since he has displayed good-will toward us and his prestige in the government has increased. Mr. Irwin pointed out that Nasution has said that he agrees with the objectives of the rebels although not with the methods used by them in attaining those objectives. He would therefore also seem to be the logical person through whom a reconciliation of the various factions in Indonesia might be attempted.

After a short discussion of the situation in Indonesia the Secretary 1) said there appeared to be general agreement that we should go ahead with the actions listed in Tab A of Mr. Robertson’s memorandum of July 30 (copy attached). Mr. Robertson pointed out that Admiral Stump had recommended phased delivery of the military package. Mr. Herter said that it was important also that the actions taken be developed in such a way as to permit Nasution to get the maximum benefit from them. In the light of this discussion the Secretary added at the end of the first sentence [Page 256] of Paragraph 1 (a) of the Courses of Action “on phased basis and on military level so far as practicable”. He approved the courses of action with that change. 2) said there should be a minimum of publicity and that our actions should be played down as much as possible. 3) asked Mr. Allen Dulles to prepare a study of the present status and strength of the dissidents.

Admiral Stroh stated that Admiral Burke, who had planned to be present at the meeting, favored pointing our actions as much as possible toward Nasution in line with the opinion expressed by the Department of Defense. Mr. Robertson stated that he agreed with this but that it should not be overlooked that this is primarily a government-to-government problem and that it is impossible to keep the government completely out of the picture.

Mr. Allen Dulles suggested that some effort might be made to bring the dissidents and the anti-communist forces in Java together.

Mr. Irwin said that CINCPAC and Defense recommend that in addition to the package of $7 million military equipment bridges also be made available to Indonesia and that the original package be augmented. He said that Defense would need three things: 1) a 451 determination2 to proceed with the $7 million package; 2) a 451 determination for approximately $2-1/2 million for bridges; 3) the Secretary’s approval for an increase in the amount of military equipment to be made available to Indonesia. He said that a letter concerning this increase was on its way from the Department of Defense to Mr. Robertson.3

The Secretary said that he had no information on the bridges and hesitated to make a decision on the basis of an oral request. Mr. Robertson said that this would be submitted to him in writing in due course.

Mr. Robertson raised the matter of consultations with other governments, recommending that we inform the UK and Australian Governments here immediately and that Ambassador Bohlen be authorized to keep the Philippine Government informed of developments. As to informing the Dutch Government, he recommended that they be told as the actions were implemented. The Secretary agreed.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/8–158. Secret. Drafted by Mein. Robertson initialed the memorandum, indicating his approval.
  2. Document 138.
  3. Reference is to the Mutual Security Act of 1958, approved on June 30, 1958, which provided the President with a special “contingency fund.” For text, see 72 Stat. 261.
  4. Reference is to a letter of July 31 from Irwin to Robertson. That letter, along with a letter of July 23 from Sprague to Dillon, gave Department of Defense concurrence in Ambassador Jones’ recommendation that the United States initiate a program of token and limited military assistance to the Indonesian Armed Forces and suggested specific military equipment that could be offered to the Indonesians for that purpose. The letters are in Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Records: FRC 64 A 2170,092 Indonesia.