202. Despatch From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State 0

No. 904


  • The West New Guinea Dispute and United States Interests

Members of the Embassy Political Section have held a series of discussions over the past several months to consider the West New Guinea dispute in its various aspects and, in particular, to seek an answer to the following question:

Are the interests of the United States best served by our present policy toward the West New Guinea dispute, or would these interests best be served by a change of policy?

[Page 383]

The Political Counselor and the other officers of the Section have jointly come to the following conclusions as a result of these discussions and of independent study of the question raised therein:

Present American policy toward the West New Guinea dispute—that of recognizing the existence of the dispute while neither taking sides nor making positive efforts to effect a solution—has in all probability best served the interests of the United States in the past.
In the light of the changing situation in Indonesia, the other countries of Southeast Asia, and the Netherlands, this policy is less likely to serve the interests of the United States in the future, and may well operate to the increasing detriment of those interests.
The United States should now abandon its present policy toward the West New Guinea problem in favor of a policy of actively seeking a solution to the dispute.
To have a prospect of success, any solution must contain provision for eventual relinquishment of Dutch control over West New Guinea and the eventual attainment of at least partial control over the territory by the Indonesian government.

The remainder of this despatch consists of a brief survey of the background of the West New Guinea dispute and a discussion of the various factors which led to the foregoing conclusions. In a despatch immediately following, the Embassy presents a specific proposal for settlement of the West New Guinea dispute.1

[Here follows the remainder of the despatch; see Supplement.]

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/5–2659. Secret. Drafted by Edward C. Ingraham, Second Secretary of the Embassy.
  2. Document 203.