2. Memorandum of Conversation0



  • Department
    • The Secretary
    • The Under Secretary (part of the meeting)
    • FE—Mr. Robertson
    • FE—Mr. Howard Jones
    • FE—Mr. Gordon Mein
    • EUR—Mr. John Jones
    • INR—Mr. Cumming
    • S/S— Mr. Howe
  • CIA
    • Mr. Allen Dulles
    • Mr. Frank Wisner
    • Mr. Al Ulmer
    • [name not declassified]
  • Defense
    • Secretary Sprague

The Secretary expressed the view that our policy should be as follows, which was generally agreed to be the existing policy:

We should not make any deal with Sukarno or the present government.
We should let it be known that if a reconstituted government without Communist support or influence came into power, it would get our backing.
Meanwhile, we should build up a position of strength in the outer islands and should be ready with assistance we might want to render at a later date on short notice.

In further discussion of point No. 2 above, the Secretary pointed out that we should make known our position “in confidence” and “to friends who might do something about it.” He also said that we should be very clear, both with the Dutch and with any others, that we did not mean that in backing a government we would support all of its policies and in particular its West Irian policy.

[Page 5]

In this connection it was accepted that in seeking to make our policy known we would try not to appear to be completely under Dutch influence. We should also avoid the impression we were trying to force Sukarno out for this would tend to strengthen his position in Indonesia.


The Under Secretary reviewed the present situation in Indonesia including Japanese shipping, food supplies, seizures of Dutch property and the position of Sukarno, Hatta and others. [1 line of source text not declassified]

The Under Secretary indicated that there were differing views of what should be done. Ambassador Allison and his Military Attachés (Djakarta’s 1859)1 and Admiral Stump felt that we should put pressure on the Dutch to hold discussions with the Indonesians; the others felt that we should not take any step in this direction or deal with Sukarno and Djuanda, as Allison also thought we should, until we see whether the situation will stabilize or will shift radically either to the Communists or to the ultra Conservatives.

Mr. Robertson noted that the US-UK working group had had two meetings and generally reflected a similarity of views as between the US and the UK [2-1/2 lines of source text not declassified].

Mr. Robertson explained that Ambassador Allison believes support of the Indonesian position on West New Guinea is a requisite but also the only thing required to get Sukarno over to our way of thinking. He believes that we need only to support this government and the Moderates will prevail.

There was agreement that Sukarno was in fact wholly undependable. The Secretary at one point indicated his view that Sukarno was dangerous and untrustworthy and by character susceptible to the Communist way of thinking.

Mr. Robertson reported that the Dutch position now is that they could not possibly talk with the Indonesians since the blackmail conditions had been laid on by the Indonesians. Johnny Jones noted also that the Dutch position on shipment of any arms would be extremely strong because of the possibility that arms would be used against the Dutch in an attempt forcibly to take over West New Guinea. Gordon Mein noted from his recent trip2 the following:

That no government coming into power in Indonesia could avoid the Dutch-Indonesian problem which now is wider than just West Irian.
The Indonesians still suspect Allison principally as a result of the Communist fabricated “Blitz telegrams” published in Bombay newspapers alleging that Allison had sought arms for elements opposed to the government.3
The Indonesians complained that they had received no support on any issue from the US.
There is urgency in the problem since we may have to deal with the situation before Sukarno returns or on very short notice with any successor government to Djuanda.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/1–658. Secret. Drafted on January 6 by Fisher Howe, Director of S/S. This meeting was held in the Secretary of State’s office.
  2. For text, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, pp. 576578.
  3. Mein was in Indonesia December 14–21, 1957.
  4. See Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, footnote 4, p. 507.