18. Editorial Note

On February 13 at the 355th meeting of the National Security Council, Allen Dulles discussed developments in Indonesia in his intelligence briefing:

“The Director of Central Intelligence pointed out that Colonel Hussein, dissident leader on the island of Sumatra, had broadcast a demand on February 10 that the Djuanda Government resign within five days. The Government had rejected the demand and ordered the discharge of Colonel Husein and the other chief leaders of the dissidents. If, continued Mr. Dulles, the dissidents stick to their earlier demands, they should proceed to set up a rival government. However, they are showing reluctance to take this step, and conversations between them and the Central Government are more likely. Mr. Dulles said that it was extremely hard to predict the outcome of the crisis in Indonesia. Sukarno was expected to return to Java in a few days, and it is thought that he will try to pull his forces together. Hatta, who should have been the leader of the reorganization forces, has been reluctant to act in Sukarno’s absence. He is proving unwilling to head the dissident movement or to take over the government. This is the existing situation. We may expect a renewed crisis in another ten days after the Central Government makes its decision.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason, February 14; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)

After the NSC meeting Dulles and Herter discussed Indonesia, among other matters, during a telephone conversation. According to a memorandum of that conversation, prepared in the Under Secretary’s office, the discussion regarding Indonesia was as follows: “CAH told the Secretary that the President did not attend the NSC meeting this morning, but after the meeting CAH and Allen Dulles spoke with the President to bring him up-to-date on the covert side of the Indonesian matter.” (Eisenhower Library, Herter Papers, Telephone Conversations) No record of the conversation among Herter, Allen Dulles, and Eisenhower has been found.

On February 15, dissident leaders in Padang, Sumatra, proclaimed an independent Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia (PRRI). Sjafruddin Prawiranegara was named Prime Minister.