145. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the Netherlands0

286. As you have seen from Deptel 345 to Djakarta,1 rptd The Hague 269 and Djakarta’s 628 to Department, rptd The Hague 18, original package of military equipment contained four helicopters and one 173-ft. sub-chaser. In addition package included six LCVPs (36 feet long). 90% total package consisted equipment for Indonesian Army, but these three items were included as marginal items for use with Air Force and Navy when needed in order to avoid putting Nasution too much on spot with his Air Force and Naval colleagues and to avoid creating impression he is US chosen instrument. US Mil Rep and Ambassador consider that program is already building up considerable suspicion and intrigue against Nasution by Navy and Air Force. In order alleviate Navy pressure Department has decided permit delivery of six LCVPs. These vessels already on way from Philippines and scheduled arrive Surabaja August 21. Preparation for their reception already made. We learned only this morning of arrival date which is much sooner than we expected.

Delivery of sub-chaser and helicopters will be postponed for several months. FYI. CINCPAC being instructed not to effect delivery of sub-chaser to Indonesia prior 1 Dec. End FYI. However, it will probably be necessary to deliver these items at some point as required to reduce inter-service rivalry and pressure on Nasution.

You should see Luns as soon as possible to inform him of these three items. You may say that you had just been told about them and use above material as you think desirable. In deciding to go ahead with six LCVPs Department has not overlooked Dutch protest of last winter when there was question of furnishing similar craft to Indonesian police under ICA assistance programs. Navy assures us these vessels will not increase Indonesian offensive capabilities.

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We know that Dutch will be greatly concerned by Sukarno August 17 speech.2 Preliminary reports of what he said are indeed disturbing and we shall examine text when received most carefully within context present tactics toward Indonesia. It should be remembered, however, that present tactic is not directed toward Sukarno but towards elements in armed services (principally in Army) and in Government who have showed some evidence that they would be prepared to take steps to reverse pro-Communist orientation Indonesian Government. We have hoped and we still expect that these elements will serve eventually to bring some helpful influence to bear on Sukarno himself.

In view outstanding performance in persuading Luns accept 90% of package deal we leave your judgment tactics presentation these items to him, fully cognizant that this will be much more difficult. If in your judgment strength of Luns’ reaction requires some public statement on West New Guinea you are authorized to inform him that Department agreeable his using statement along following lines: “Prior to signature of agreement Department of State obtained from Indonesian authorities satisfactory assurances that items of military equipment and material purchased by the Indonesians from US would not be used against West New Guinea.” Such a statement may cause us serious difficulties in Indonesia. We would hope that Luns would use it publicly only if he considers that there is real necessity.

We shall, of course, inform the NAC of these three items when we make statement at next regular session.3

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/8–1958. Secret; Niact. Drafted by Cameron and approved by Elbrick. Repeated to Djakarta and CINCPAC.
  2. Telegram 345, August 16, requested Ambassador Jones’ explanation of what has been done to four helicopters that were originally included for Air Force in list of military equipment for Indonesian armed forces. “While info provided Dutch correctly referred to program ‘primarily’ for Army,” the telegram read in part, “they have no knowledge four helicopters and the 173 foot subchaser included in package. We greatly fear progress made in gaining Dutch acceptance our policy and current program would be jeopardized if these two parts package either a) delivered or b) made public now.” (Ibid., 756D.5–MSP/8–1458) See Supplement.
  3. See Document 146.
  4. Ambassador Young met with Foreign Minister Luns on August 19 to inform him of the three additional items in the U.S. military equipment agreement with Indonesia. (Telegram 292 from The Hague, August 19; Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/8–1958) See Supplement. Upon instructions from Luns, Netherlands Chargé Baron van Voorst called on Elbrick on August 22 to express his government’s “serious dissatisfaction” with the U.S. decision to supply Indonesia with military equipment that could be used against West New Guinea. A memorandum of this conversation, drafted by Cameron, is in Department of State, Central Files, 756D.58/8–2258.