189. Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to Acting Secretary of State Herter0


  • Export Licensing of Lockheed C–130B Military Transport Aircraft for Indonesia


The Indonesian Air Force has ordered ten C–130B’s from Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, which has applied to the Department for the necessary export license. The Indonesians have asked us for a decision on the export license by April 2, 1959, in part to insure that delivery of the planes can begin October 1960 as presently scheduled.

I believe the license should be issued for the following principal reasons:

Issuance of the license would be consistent with our present policy towards Indonesia. The Secretary’s decision of November 5, 1958, (Tab A)1 approved issuance of export licenses for surplus, propeller-driven, military aircraft. The C–130B’s are new, not surplus, but licensing them for export would appear to be in the spirit of the Secretary’s decision. The C–130B is a propeller-driven (prop-jet), unarmed airplane designed for the transport of military cargo and personnel.
The transaction is a purely commercial one between Lockheed and the Indonesian Air Force. No U.S. Government financing has been requested. The total estimated cost of the ten airplanes is $31 million.
Even if the license is promptly issued, delivery of the C–130B’s cannot begin until October 1960. Delivery of the ten planes is not scheduled to be completed until October 1961.
The C–130B would seem to be particularly well-suited to the needs of a dispersed country such as Indonesia in maintaining internal security. It is designed to provide a high degree of mobility for troops and equipment, and is said to possess unusual ability to land on and take off from rough fields. This plane seems a sensible choice by the Indonesians for their requirements, and is a plane in which they have expressed particular interest.

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Should you authorize issuance of the export license for the C–130B’s for Indonesia, we would plan to inform the Dutch and Australian Governments of our intention to issue the license, in conformity with our standing practice as established by the Secretary in November 1958.


That you authorize issuance of the export license covering ten C–130B’s for Indonesia.2

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.5622/3–2659. Secret. Drafted by Moore on March 25. Mein and Parsons concurred in this memorandum, but EUR did not. In a memorandum of March 27 to the Acting Secretary, Merchant outlined EUR’s position, recommending that action on the licenses be suspended pending a study of Indonesia’s needs and a projection of what future U.S. assistance to Indonesia might be. (Ibid., WE Files: Lot 63 D 106, Indonesia 1959) See Supplement.
  2. See Document 161.
  3. On April 7 EUR withdrew its dissent and Acting Secretary Murphy approved Robertson’s recommendation, initialing his approval on this memorandum. According to a handwritten note on the source text, Herter saw Robertson’s memorandum and registered no dissent.