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

2806. At dinner given by Yugoslav Ambassador last night Foreign Minister Subandrio took me aside and said three things worried him and the Cabinet in connection Sumatran situation: SEATO, the Philippines and United States.

Concerning SEATO Subandrio repeated previous allegation that his government has proof of SEATO interference. He said among other proofs he had a photograph of a submarine surfaced off the Atjeh coast. He did not say when this took place. I told him I was not speaking under instruction but I knew that general purpose of SEATO was for defense and SEATO not organized for purpose take action within borders non-member countries. Also SEATO has no military forces. Submarine if sighted would belong specific nation not SEATO. I said I doubted anyone could produce evidence that SEATO as an organization had dealings with Central Sumatra. I said local press is echoing Moscow charges against SEATO but this of course is usual Communist slander. Subandrio then said Russian Ambassador had offered expose SEATO activities publicly but Subandrio told him not to do so as this would merely intensify cold war with Indonesia in middle. I remarked that Russia apparently had not heeded Subandrio’s request.

Subandrio then said that from Indonesia’s experience during struggle against Dutch, he knew many Filipinos would be willing supply men, arms and planes for a price and he hoped Secretary Dulles would use his influence in Manila to discourage traffic with Sumatrans which might have serious consequences for Indonesian-Philippine relations. I suggested he might care to mention this to Ambassador Jones when he arrives next week.

Concerning United States he said we should not aid Sumatrans “because Soviets have substantial interest here and they will not desert us.” I made no reply so he continued talking. Said he had heard report which he did not believe but would like my reaction. Said he was told there were U.S. Marines in Philippines ready at moment’s notice to be dropped by aircraft near oil installations Sumatra to protect American property and people. I said I thought part of this report was probably true. He looked very surprised and I added, “because U.S. Marines for over 150 years have prided themselves on readiness go anywhere do [Page 51]anything at moment’s notice.” We both laughed. I then said this might be opportune time tell him if GOI Army landed Bankalis or near Palembang he could expect me in his office immediately to ask that he instruct GOI commanders give safe passage tankers evacuating oil company dependents all nationalities. I said I assumed he would have no difficulty granting such request. He replied, “Of course I would agree. You could count on it”. I then said, “Well, in that case no U.S. marines would ever be needed, would they?” We both laughed and ended the conversation.

Cottrell
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/2–2858. Confidential; Priority. Repeated to Singapore, Bangkok, and Manila.