21. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State 0

2689. In accordance Department’s instructions, I called on Foreign Minister Dr. Subandrio at 11:30 a.m. on February 21 and expressed substance Department telegram 2246.1 The Foreign Minister replied that he understood the United States position and accepted it. He said he appreciated United States reciprocation of his remarks concerning the friendship and confidence existing between the two governments and he was certain that his government appreciated all of the help and support which the United States had provided to Indo in the past.

However, he regretted that the United States apparently did not recognize the present problem as being one of internal security in which it could assist.

He said that everyone should understand that young countries normally pass through very troublesome early years and Indo is no exception. He said the United States successfully met a challenge to its authority during our Civil War and he believed that Indo was now in similar situation. He said the central government had never objected to political opposition but even understood and sympathized with the demands of the regions for a larger share of the national wealth. However, the present effort of the dissident government is led by older military commanders who think 90 percent in political terms and only 10 percent in military terms. He said they were selfish, mercenary individuals who are using their military positions for illegitimate ends and they must be crushed by the central government. Otherwise the country will be torn apart by other separatist movements led by unprincipled military men. He said the problem, therefore, should be divided into the military portion on the one hand and the political-economic portion on the other. He said President Sukarno had decided to attack the military problem first and to use every effective means to destroy the rebel military opposition. After that, the President will address himself to the political and economic problems. He said Dr. Hatta had agreed with the President on this analysis of the problem and had declined to enter the government until the military portion had been solved. I then asked how much time he expected this would require. He said they all understood that it will not be easy, and that the military solution may not be forthcoming soon, but However long it takes it must be the first step. I asked him if he anticipated immediate use of military force against the dissidents and he said the timing would of course depend upon military plans.

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He then said he would like to have me know that his government did not appreciate the intervention of SEATO in the present situation. I expressed surprise and asked him if he were sure of SEATO intervention and he said, “We have proofs of this.” I then asked him what form this intervention took and he said, “Moral help and encouragement at least.” He said that agents of the Sumatra colonels had been in touch with SEATO representatives. I again expressed surprise and asked him if he believed that this encouragement came from official SEATO sources or from individual SEATO members. He said, “Oh, I do not mean that there have been any public pronouncements by SEATO as such.”

He then switched the conversation and said he regretted the United States decision but his government would now proceed to secure arms in India and elsewhere on an urgent basis. He said this will be done on strictly commercial terms with no strings attached. He concluded by saying he appreciated my call and the Department’s frankness in setting forth the United States position on this matter of arms.2

Cottrell
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/2–2158. Secret; Priority.
  2. Document 19.
  3. In telegram 2428 to Djakarta, March 3, the Department informed Cottrell as follows:

    “Request you see Subandrio and referring his allegations SEATO intervention Indonesian internal situation, state US as member SEATO cannot remain indifferent such statements from Foreign Minister and request he submit proof he claims have of such intervention. You should also point out to Foreign Minister that blaming SEATO for present difficulties his country, is Communist line being pushed by Peking and Moscow broadcasts, and that we are disturbed by Foreign Minister’s apparent willingness lend credence to such obviously unfounded and erroneous allegations.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/2–2158)