197. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State0

3193. Department pass DEPTAR for ACSI. CINCPAC also for POLAD. Deputy Assistant Secretary Defense Knight, Admiral O’Donnell saw ACS Nasution, Foreign Minister Subandrio, Defense Secretary General Hidajat during one-day here April 18.1

Nasution described plans return to 1945 Constitution, said army did not intend permit political parties create diversion by holding long talks. Expressed opinion parties would accept but pointed out all had [Page 375] voiced some objection. Re PKI mentioned rank and file had refrained from participation government-sponsored rallies to support 1945 Constitution.

Under new government Cabinet would be reorganized along lines of general staff with several deputy prime ministers responsible for specific area of interest.

In response to Ambassador’s questions, Nasution said he did not believe PKI would be represented in new Cabinet but would seek retention of sympathizers, mentioning Prijono, Hanafi this connection. Described Prijono as Murba member, Hanafi under Communist influence, but these two unable cooperate. President Sukarno “biggest politician of them all” understands this and plays off Communists against Murba and vice versa.

Communists working hard gain control new national front but would not be successful. Army influence in new front would be sufficient prevent PKI penetration.

PKI working to split Sukarno from Nasution, Nasution from commanders, non-Communist political parties from each other. Communists now causing slow-downs on estates and railroads. Communists doing best infiltrate army. Asked whether anything would happen during forthcoming absence of President, Nasution said certain elements may try cause serious situation to develop but army is alert and ready to react against such effort.

Subandrio took line US could be more effective by having positive program rather than placing too much emphasis on anti-Communism. He and his government anti-Communist, Indonesian democracy based on Pantjasila. Communists had cleverly avoided open opposition to these principles, had identified own objectives with these principles.

Foreign Minister said Sukarno would succeed in plan to bring back 1945 Constitution. Principal non-Communist parties more or less in agreement to this end. PKI realized this contrary to their interests but had not come out publicly against it.

Hidajat told visitors it would be necessary to wait and see how 1945 Constitution was implemented before determining whether it would mean improvement. Gave impression his wife, Deputy Chairman of Consembly, not too enthusiastic for change but probably would support.

Said Indonesians happy with military aid program but he felt navy and air force have been neglected. Navy does not want aircraft carriers or guided missiles; want small patrol craft. Admiral Subijakto had reported to him would take two or three years to train people for equipment they have recently purchased.

  1. Source: Department of State, 756D.00/4–2059. Confidential. Also sent to CINCPAC.
  2. Knight and O’Donnell accompanied Dillon to the SEATO Council meeting and the Far Eastern Chiefs of Mission meeting at Baguio. Separate memoranda of their conversations with Nasution, Subandrio, and Hidajat were transmitted to the Department under cover of despatch 871, May 14. (Ibid., 756.00/5–1459) See Supplement.