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

1591. Parsons from Ambassador. View conflicting reports as to reshuffle of GOI Cabinet in which several Ministries would go to PKI, you may wish to have my own assessment on developing situation.

There is no doubt but what we have been witnessing a closer rapprochement between Sukarno and Soviet bloc in last six months as well as clear predilection on his part to protect PKI. Factors in these developments may be summarized as follows:

Regardless of every effort we have made to convince Sukarno to contrary, he clearly is still suffering from misapprehension US is gunning for him. Major element in this is vast conceit which led him to interpret President Eisenhower’s failure to visit Indonesia when he went to Manila as personal snub.
Massive Soviet effort in economic and military aid now totalling minimum of $750 million currently with much more to come if Soviets can induce Army to accept help.
Khrushchev’s playing up of Sukarno as leader Afro-Asian bloc and potential head third force in world. This cynical but effective pandering to Sukarno vanity is set off in his mind against what he considers US lack of responsiveness if not actual antagonism to himself.
Sukarno’s concept of western colonialism and imperialism combined with his wholly Socialist a la Indo ideas which lead him to swallow line without gagging.
Last but not least, indeed probably most important, is unanimous and vocal Soviet bloc support for Indos claim to WNG.

It now appears Sukarno has struck balance and come up with dual answer of closer association Indo with Soviet bloc externally and natural corollary of inclusion PKI in government here. This of course is no new thing: Sukarno has been aiming in this direction a long time. Our policy has been directed toward building up deterrents to hold him in check.

Principal deterrent of course has been power and anti-Communist posture of General Nasution and Indo Army. We can still hope that this deterrent will be effective. But I would not be discharging my responsibility if I did not provide Department with warning that Nasution may not be able to stand up to Sukarno as issue is being developed and may [Page 568] be presented. Sukarno’s bringing Nasakom concept under tent of Pantjasila (five principles on which Indo political philosophy based) (Embtel 1500)1 means that, specious as such reasoning is, Nasution may be presented with simple proposition, if you are against Nasakom, you are against the Pantjasila. Sukarno may do it with mirrors or Javanese mysticism, but Nasution may be hard put to find his way through morass of mumbo jumbo and explain to people his refusal to go along. In open confrontation Sukarno he has not only to have power, but must be on the right side of issue as Indos see it.

[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] reports [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] indicate decision to include PKI in Cabinet may be announced within next week or ten days. As against this, we have positive statements from Nasution, Djuanda, Subandrio, Leimena, Jani and others who should be in position to know that what we fear and what is so widely rumored will not happen. Indeed Jani says Nasution firmer than ever this point (see ARMA CX 317).2 I am by no means giving up hope, therefore, but I don’t like the smell of things. I have asked for appointment with Sukarno in endeavor to draw him out on his current thinking. I also plan see Nasution when he returns from Sumatra.

On one thing, everyone here is agreed: That if Army is united it has power to do what it will. As I have repeatedly stated, I am convinced Nasution can and will stand up to Sukarno on this issue if issue is clear cut. But if it is foggy or if incidents in connection WNG enable Sukarno to rally country on super-charged nationalistic issue, then there is real question whether Nasution can isolate issue of communism with sufficient clarity to block Bung in what he wants to do.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 798.00/12–360. Secret; Priority.
  2. In telegram 1500, November 26, the Embassy reported that Sukarno’s image of Nasakom, the unity of nationalist, religious, and Communist elements, was becoming increasingly firm. (Ibid., 798.00/11–2660) See Supplement.
  3. Not found.