179. Telegram From the Embassy in the Netherlands to the Department of State0

1287. Paris for USRO. Department pass CINCPAC for POLAD. Re Department telegram 1182,1 repeated London 7091, Djakarta 1402, Canberra 252, Paris Topol 2575.

1. Met with Foreign Minister Luns this afternoon at 5 o’clock for 50 minutes to carry out instructions contained reference telegram. I had prepared in advance summary list of program as outlined paragraph 2 reference telegram, which also showed changes in program as given Luns in November. I left copy of this list with Luns so he would have items and figures correctly stated.

2. Luns quickly noted and commented on increase in amounts over November program. Needless to say, these increases did not arouse great enthusiasm and merely served to emphasize his depressed [Page 346] state of mind when he realized this program was still continuing. There is no need to report Luns detailed comments and reaction as all of these have been reported before and Department is fully familiar with them. He did specifically request me, however, to express to Secretary his great and profound disappointment that US saw fit:

To continue this program at all;
To increase the size of it;
To push it right at this point when everyone seemed to be agreeing that there was potential military threat against Netherlands New Guinea; and
That Dutch are still not given any opportunity to make suggestion or to comment on this program before it is given to Indonesians.

Luns expanded to some degree on this last point, indicating that although Department might not wish to consider any Dutch comments or suggestions, perhaps some day Department might find a Dutch suggestion that might be reasonable and helpful. Luns still feels strongly that US is not playing fair if it does not give Dutch opportunity to comment on this type of program before it is finally decided upon, even though Luns recognizes full well that his comments may have no effect whatsoever. I pointed out to Luns he would have had information on this current program day earlier if I had not been in London, but Luns said this would have made no difference as advance notice period of four days to Dutch was hardly adequate or even respectable if US had any real or sincere intention of getting Dutch reaction ahead of time.

3. I again pointed out that augmentation program was pursuant to August 13 sales agreement and use of equipment governed by provisions of that understanding. I further emphasized criteria set forth in Department telegram 7822 (repeated Djakarta 893, Paris 1727, Canberra 141) order keep present program in proper perspective. I added that Department was still keeping in mind Dutch views re this program and once again went over US assurances to Dutch, including statements made by Secretary to Subandrio in Washington. I emphasized again that we felt we had gone long way in reassuring Dutch and that, of course, we would not stand idly by if Indonesia should endeavor to attack West New Guinea. I also pointed out to Luns that of course we would keep Dutch informed concerning any items of military significance which would go to Indonesia under export license from the US. I believe that going over this background with Luns had salutary and stabilizing effect on his thinking and it was wise to recall these various statements [Page 347] and assurances to his attention, considering lapse of time since November.

4. I also emphasized to Luns fact we did not plan to issue press release either in Washington or Djakarta and hoped that public knowledge of it would not become available at least until after Subandrio’s Australian visit.3 Luns has assured me that nothing would be leaked from The Hague, or any statement made concerning it. Once again I thanked Luns for his appreciation and understanding and his efforts to handle this program on restrained basis, both within government and with Dutch press and public opinion.

5. Would appreciate advance notice of content and timing any public announcement which may ultimately be planned by US or Indonesians.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/2–659. Secret. Priority. Repeated to London, Paris, Djakarta, and Canberra.
  2. Telegram 1182, February 4, informed Young that Eisenhower signed a Presidential Determination the previous day approving the augmented military assistance program in Indonesia. It instructed the Ambassador to see Luns as soon as possible and inform him of the new program and how it had been altered from the program outlined to him in November. (Ibid., 756D.56/2–459) See Supplement.
  3. Telegram 782, November 12, 1958, instructed Young to inform Luns about the recently approved U.S. arms sale program to Indonesia. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.5–MSP/11–1258)
  4. Foreign Minister Subandrio was scheduled to make a 6-day visit to Australia February 10–15.
  5. On February 6 Deputy Assistant Secretary Foy Kohler briefed Ambassador Van Roijen on the recently approved modifications in the U.S. military assistance program for Indonesia. (Memorandum of conversation, February 6; Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/2–659)