19. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia0

2246. Your 2402.1 You may reply to Subandrio along following lines:

U.S. is gratified by atmosphere of friendship trust and confidence which has become progressively more characteristic of U.S. Indonesian relations during recent years and will seek to maintain this atmosphere. U.S. and Indonesia not only have no basic conflicts, as Subandrio has stated, but share same basic objectives. History U.S.–Indo relations bear testimony U.S. desires for Indonesia what Indonesians desire for themselves, to build strong, prosperous, democratic, unified, and independent state.
U.S. recognizes Indonesia’s need for arms and military equipment to maintain internal security and has demonstrated since 1950 its willingness to assist in meeting this need. Arms were supplied under the Constabulary Agreement of August 19502 and were provided for in the Cochran–Subardjo Agreement3 which unfortunately did not come to fruition. Since 1950 some 400 Indonesian Officers have been trained in U.S. Service Schools and this program is continuing at increased levels in the current fiscal year. Military equipment for internal security purposes has been and is currently being supplied to the Civil Police under ICA Police Training Program.
List of Indonesian military requirements submitted late July 19574 represents hundreds of millions of dollars worth of equipment, and price and availability study list this size and complexity takes normally from four to six months. Agreements for sales of military equipment in such quantities are both technically complex and politically sensitive and cannot be concluded rapidly.
U.S. has been reluctant take emergency action comply with more recent informal urgent requests for arms. This reluctance does not stem from any change in U.S. policy towards Indonesia nor represent a departure from basic U.S. policy of preparedness make available arms to maintain internal security and safeguard Indonesian independence.
U.S. has been constrained by uncertainties arising from serious civil and military differences within Indonesia and by fear that at this time supply of arms might jeopardize rather than enhance chances for peaceful resolution current internal difficulties and might encourage younger less responsible elements resort to violence. Further, while recognizing long-standing need for modernizing Indonesian military establishment, immediate action to remedy this situation did not appear essential element in reaching solution current pressing problems.
Price and availability study on list Indonesian requirement continues and Indo Govt will be informed when completed. U.S. does not intend to engage in competition with Soviet bloc to supply arms to Indonesia. Choice of sources of arms and military equipment is matter of vital long-range political strategic and military importance which Indonesia will decide in terms its own national self interest. U.S. would hope that this decision would be reached only after careful and sober consideration.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/2–458. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Francis Underhill, cleared with Murphy, and approved by Walter Robertson.
  2. Telegram 2402, February 4, reported on a discussion between Subandrio and Chargé Cottrell about obtaining U.S. arms for Indonesia. (Ibid.) See Supplement.
  3. For text of this agreement, concluded on August 15, 1950, see 2 UST 1619.
  4. For documentation on this abortive agreement, by which the United States sought to conclude a military assistance agreement with Indonesia under the terms of the Mutual Security Act, see Foreign Relations, 1951, vol. VI, Part 1, pp. 729 ff. and ibid., 1952–1954, vol. XII, Part 2, pp. 245 ff. H. Merle Cochran served as American Ambassador in Indonesia December 1949–February 1953; Achmad Subardjo was the Indonesian Foreign Minister.
  5. The Indonesian list was given to the Embassy on an informal basis on July 23 and transmitted to the Department under despatch 42 from Djakarta, July 25, 1957. (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.56/7–2557)