178. Telegram From Secretary of State Dulles to the Department of State0

Secto 8. Paris for USRO. In talks with Secretary afternoon February 4, Selwyn Lloyd raised two problems with respect to Indonesia: (A) danger Indonesian attack on West New Guinea creating situation in which West would have to line up with Dutch thereby pushing Indonesians toward Communists (which he said concerns both Luns and Menzies), and (B) pressure on Her Majesty’s Government because of unemployment to fill Indonesian orders for arms (which he said might include 10 million pounds worth of small naval ships), and necessity finding some formula which would permit supply of arms but at same time involving moral obligation to see they would not be used against West New Guinea. Lloyd proposed (1) US-UK intelligence discussion on assessment danger Indonesian attack on New Guinea and implications; (2) NATO discussion arms supply problem.

Secretary suggested possibility Netherlands Government is in domestic political predicament over costly and unprofitable retention West New Guinea. Dutch want us to share burden. We wish avoid actions which might spoil improved situation in Indonesia. We agree Indonesian small scale infiltration and guerrilla operations in West New Guinea possible, but military equipment supplied by us no real factor in [Page 345] such operation. Secretary said he was leery of undertaking vague “moral” obligations. US has been explicit in talking to Indonesians. He had told Subandrio that if Indonesians used force US would be against them.

Secretary agreed to joint intelligence study in Washington of Indonesian intentions limited to Britain and United States to prevent leaks. Secretary said he had discussed arms supply to Indonesians at December NATO meeting expounding same position he had earlier put to Subandrio. Secretary was noncommittal on Lloyd’s suggestion of further NATO discussion.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/2–559. Secret. Repeated to The Hague, Canberra, Djakarta, and Paris. Dulles was in London as part of a 6-day trip to the United Kingdom, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany, February 3–8.