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

871. Djakarta’s 15681 and 1573,2 The Hague’s 698.3 Department agrees desirability not let doors partially opened by Tunku close without U.S. effort encourage further discussion of issue which serving useful purpose of exposing views various interested parties and of focusing attention on liabilities inherent prolonged failure find satisfactory solution.

Believe our interest best furthered now by quiet and private expression our desire that the Tunku’s mission not be abandoned. Accordingly, unless Chiefs of Mission perceive objection, following action should be taken:

For Kuala Lumpur: Ambassador should seek appointment with Tunku to reiterate our pleasure at his high-minded effort and to urge that his disappointment and chagrin at Subandrio’s rejection of UN inspection commission not cause him to cease efforts, as Subandrio remarks not outright rejection Tunku’s basic concept of trusteeship toward which Indonesians have indicated some flexibility. You may wish point out that Subandrio’s subsequent statement that he has not yet received report from Tunku also suggests Indonesians do not wish close matter finally. If you think desirable, you may add your understanding [Page 570] our Ambassador Djakarta suggesting Indonesian Govt keep channel open to Tunku. In event Tunku adamant his current usefulness at end, you should urge him not make final, despairing public statement, rather, that quiet withdrawal would avoid bitterness and provide springboard for future efforts should circumstances warrant. Essential you avoid any comment on substance various proposals, stressing merely our desire keep communications channel open.

For Djakarta: Ambassador should seek early opportunity suggest discreetly to Djuanda or Subandrio that abrupt alienation Tunku not in best interests Indonesia, that conciliatory gesture now would gratify fellow Asian who clearly concerned welfare of area. You may, in your discretion, observe that Subandrio statement in Singapore may be interpreted by other Asian nations, unfamiliar with intricacies WNG issue, as unreasonable attitude toward UN, that further exchange with Tunku might provide opportunity reach more understandable position.

For The Hague: Ambassador should take appropriate opportunity convey to Luns our satisfaction cordial Dutch reception Tunku, commenting this connection that we hope sincere effort by Asian leader can, with continued Dutch cooperation and openmindedness, lead to reduced tension and Cold War exploitation this issue.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.9813/12–260. Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Lindquist and approved by Parsons. Also sent to Kuala Lumpur and The Hague and repeated to Canberra and London.
  2. Telegram 1568, December 1, reads as follows:

    “Now that first round over in Tunku mediation effort WNG believe something to be gained by US encouragement both sides maintain open mind toward further efforts. My understanding Dutch and Indo positions is tolerance for further mediation tenuous at best. Open US encouragement might tend moderate impact of pressures on both sides reject further mediation. Important, from US point of view, would also be possibility, through such action, of escaping from box Sukarno has put us in as unwilling assist settle WNG issue. I would appreciate Department’s view.” (Ibid., 656.9813/12–160)

  3. In telegram 1573, December 2, the Embassy reported that Subandrio informed Jones on November 30 that he regretted the necessity of issuing a statement that dismissed the Tunku’s proposal for sending a U.N. mission to West New Guinea. Subandrio stated that Indonesia dismissed the Tunku’s mediation efforts because of mounting tensions with the Netherlands over West New Guinea. In addition, Indonesian officials believed that he did not sufficiently understand their position on West New Guinea and had conducted “public diplomacy” on the issue. (Ibid., 656.9813/12–260) See Supplement.
  4. In telegram 698, December 2, Young stated that the Netherlands was prepared to discuss its problems with Indonesia at any time and any place, as long as the Indonesians realized they were not prepared to give up sovereignty over West New Guinea. Young failed to see how the United States could openly encourage mediation on West New Guinea, without jeopardizing its policy of neutrality. (Department of State, Central Files, 656.9813/12–260) See Supplement.
  5. In telegram 1683 from Djakarta, December 10, the Embassy indicated that it welcomed the Department’s suggestions in telegram 871 and concurred with the Department’s desire to keep the Tunku’s mediation effort going. (Department of State, Central Files, 656.9813/12–1060) See Supplement.

    In telegram 286 from Kuala Lumpur, December 12, Ambassador Byington reported that he spoke with the Malayan Prime Minister as instructed, and the Tunku’s immediate reaction “was one of skepticism.” He also expressed his feelings of unhappiness with both the Netherlander and the Indonesians. (Department of State, Central Files, 656.9813/12–1260) See Supplement.