221. Memorandum of Conversation0

SUBJECT

  • Suggested United States-United Kingdom Talks Regarding Possible Indonesian Attack on West New Guinea

PARTICIPANTS

  • The Viscount Hood, Chargé d’Affaires, British Embassy
  • Mr. Merchant, Deputy Under Secretary, G
  • Mr. Rewinkel, Deputy Director, BNA

During the course of a conversation on other subjects Lord Hood referred to a conversation in Geneva on July 15 between Secretary Herter and Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd when Mr. Lloyd suggested that it might be useful for the United States and the United Kingdom to consider together what steps they might take in the event of an Indonesian attack on West New Guinea.1 Lord Hood recalled that both our Governments have assured the Dutch of support in the event of an attack but that the nature of such support had not been spelled out other than to suggest that it might well be political and in the field of logistics. Selwyn Lloyd wondered whether we might not consider having talks, either in [Page 424]Washington or elsewhere, on what the United States and the United Kingdom might be prepared to do. Lloyd felt, however, that such talks should be held without the Dutch.

Mr. Merchant stated that we would look into the matter. He commented that the Dutch have been pressing us to hold talks with them but that we have thus far resisted. He said we felt the Dutch have somewhat exaggerated fears concerning the possibility of an Indonesian attack. At the same time we feel that the Indonesians seem to have been taking seriously what we have been saying to them and that the evolution of the Indonesia Government, particularly as regards its general attitude towards the West, has been encouraging. Mr. Merchant stated in conclusion that we would consider the British suggestion and be in further touch.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656C.56D/8–2259. Secret. Drafted by Milton C. Rewinkel, Deputy Director of the Office of British Commonwealth and Northern European Affairs, and cleared in draft by Merchant.
  2. See Document 214.