238. Memorandum From the Commander in Chief, Pacific (Felt) to the Joint Chiefs of Staff0
- U.S. Relationships with the Indonesian Armed Services (C)
1. Following are CINCPAC’s views concerning relationships between the United States and Indonesian armed services. This report is based on a report by Lieutenant Colonel Harry C. McKenzie, former Chief, Air Force Section, Military Technical Advisory Group (MILTAG), Djakarta.
- During the past year, the U.S. program of military aid to Indonesia has had a salutary effect in the Indonesian Army. United States and Indonesian Army personnel now mingle in an atmosphere of friendship and mutual respect as opposed to the reserve and suspicion which prevailed in 1958. The Army high command now appears to be staunchly pro-American and firmly opposed to the Communists, international as well as local. A similar, although less pronounced, trend is noticeable in the Navy. In spite of generous assistance from the Soviet Bloc, the orientation of the Navy appears definitely to be swinging toward the United States. These trends are believed to have been influenced to a considerable degree by the U.S. military assistance program and by the honesty and sincerity of U.S. Embassy and MILTAG personnel in their dealings with their Indonesian counterparts.
- In the Air Force, however, the program has met with little or no success. During the year, offers of assistance to the Air Force have included training for 100 students; one and one half million dollars worth of communications equipment; technical assistance in the area of search and rescue; and visits of Air Force personnel to USAF installations in the United States. No part of any of these offers has been accepted to date and not one letter or official communication concerning them has been received by MILTAG.
- The Indonesian Air Force is believed to be seasoned heavily with Communists and the three most influential leaders, the Chief of Staff, the Deputy Chief of Staff, and the Intelligence Chief are notorious [Page 464]sympathizers, if not card-carrying Communists. They do not recognize MILTAG and have worked actively to have that group, and particularly the USAF representative, discredited. Discussions with their representatives concerning aid offers have been clouded with vacillations, misinterpretations and other dilatory tactics obviously designed to render progress impossible. There is no reason to believe that relationships between the USAF and the Indonesian Air Force will improve as long as the current leadership remains in command of the latter.
- As a result of the lessons learned in a year of fruitless efforts on the part of the USAF representative in MILTAG, Chief MILTAG, with the concurrence of the Embassy, has recommended that, subsequent to the recent expiration of the USAF representative’s tour, his billet be left vacant until such time as the Indonesian Air Force leaders indicate a desire to promote closer relations with the USAF or to avail themselves of U.S. aid offers. It is the consensus here and in Djakarta that by leaving the space vacant, Indonesian Air Force leaders may be more amenable to U.S. advice and assistance, should they come to fear that the US. aid program may become closed to them. Further, it is believed that the possibilities of a rapprochement with the Indonesian Air Force will be more favorable by keeping the space available than by eliminating the position entirely.