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

1217. CINCPAC also for POLAD. Codel Pilcher.1 Called on Sukarno November 17 and had frank spirited exchange of views. Subjects discussed included relations with Red China and Chinese in Indonesia, [Page 449] Eisenhower visit to Asia,2 West Irian and Indonesia association’s future.

Asked by Judd3 his present views on Red China, Sukarno said he very impressed by many things there, e.g., cleanliness; absence flies and sparrows and great construction works. On other hand, he was opposed dictatorship and felt Red Chinese used “the whip,” in which he did not believe. Asked whether Chinese people happy under regime, Sukarno said he could only judge by what had seen. In his own limited experience, crowds greeting him were smiling and enthusiastic. When it was suggested that this represented effective organization rather than genuine feelings, Sukarno replied “you can bring out crowds against their will but you cannot prearrange a smile,” with which Judd disagreed. He noted same mobilization of people to kill flies and birds had built great wall. Masses can be coerced into slavery as in Tibet. Sukarno said Tibet reports so contradictory he unable to make up mind as to truth. Said, in any case, China should be admitted UN since it unthinkable discuss Tibet question, without Chinese participations. More than 600 million people were left out thereby. Judd pointed out Chinese Communists could not be admitted without amendment UN charter. Ambassador noted China had in past and could again be called in on specific issues such as Tibet without being granted membership.

When asked about possibility putting West Irian under temporary UN trusteeship with expectation it eventually becoming part of Indonesia, Sukarno noted that East Irian was being turned into an Australian colony under so-called trusteeship and refused agree this type solution. Later asked that US give “one simple sentence in support on the justice of Indonesia’s claim to West Irian.” Said when in US he had talked to American “little people” who had unanimously supported Indonesia’s claim to Irian. Only few leaders, he said, prevented US from supporting Indonesia. Perhaps, he chided, this was “left over text book British colonial thinking.”

Sukarno added that US like tight rope walker trying to balance its support of West in Europe with support Asian nations in East. He said such policy was, in reality, impossible.

Turning to the forthcoming Eisenhower Asian visit, Sukarno demanded know why President not coming to Indonesia. He said he often invited him and that Indonesia was really very close India. Judd noted that US Government considers Far East to begin at Burma and therefore this visit not to Far East area. Expressed certainty that if President [Page 450] planned trip to Far East, Indonesia would be among countries visited. Noted Eisenhower could not visit one Far East country without visiting several, e.g., Philippines, Thailand, Korea and Japan.

Sukarno emphasized Indonesia’s economic future lay in leftist middle road. Categorically denied being communist.

Codel stressed that with patience and mutual understanding, US and Indonesia could continue friendship. Sukarno agreed Indonesia required understanding its problems and allowance time to work out own solutions. Suggested 50 years required solve these problems and during that time, nationalism would be dominant force Indonesia as well as other undeveloped nations.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 033.1100–PI/11–1759. Confidential. Repeated to Canberra, London, The Hague, and CINCPAC.
  2. Representative John L. Pilcher (D.–Georgia) was in Indonesia as the head of a Congressional delegation visiting Asia. Additional documentation on the Pilcher delegation is ibid., 033.1100–PI.
  3. President Eisenhower was scheduled to depart on December 3 on a trip to 11 countries, including India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan.
  4. Representative Walter H. Judd (R.–Minnesota), a member of the Pilcher delegation.