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

2192. Limit Distribution for Henderson and Robertson. Department’s 1881.1 If information in reference telegram had been received immediately in response to my 19432 or before Department had publicly announced my reassignment, news of which reached Djakarta some three or four hours before reference telegram, it might have been possible to save government considerable embarrassment.

Reference telegram shows misunderstanding my position on Indonesian policy. At no time have I recommended immediate military or economic aid to Sukarno. I have recommended negotiation and carefully controlled token deliveries. I do not recall my recommendations for additional economic aid to Sukarno. My last recommendation in this regard, [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] was that if a new and, from our point of view, satisfactory Indonesian government should come into being we should be prepared to grant it military and economic aid. I further recommended that immediate opening of negotiations with present government might forestall purchases by it of military equipment from iron curtain countries, but I said that deliveries could be delayed until we saw results of present political activities in Indonesia. I also stated my belief that any Indonesian government, which came into power, whether or not dominated by Sukarno, would demand return of West Irian and that we would eventually have to face that issue as part of over-all Dutch-Indonesian relationship. However, I have never advocated immediate handing over of West Irian to Sukarno and my last message on that subject3 pointed out I believed there was possibility this issue of Dutch-Indonesian relations could be handled in [Page 14] first instance through economic talks and that US would not at this time have to give up its neutral position. I also told Mein that, as I had previously made known to Department, I believed much of Embassy-Department differences might be straightened out if I could be recalled to Washington for consultation, and I expressed hope this could be done after arrival new DCM. It will be recalled that I specifically requested such recall last August but it was not then permitted. I greatly regret that I was given no opportunity to discuss this matter personally with the Department before final action was taken.

With respect to first sentence Department’s 1881, I had thought my message regarding New Year’s reception at Palace would show that government leaders were no longer avoiding me but on contrary making every effort, short of public denial of Blitz articles, to indicate continuing confidence.

Statement that I did not approve Department’s tactics in present situation is correct but I remain of opinion that if I had been given opportunity for personal consultation this might have been worked out.

I regret this misunderstanding but in all fairness I believe the record should be put straight.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 123 Allison, John Moore. Confidential.
  2. Telegram 1881 to Djakarta, January 20, reads in part as follows:

    “First sentence Deptel 1644 referred to your message to Robertson through Mein to effect that Department should start thinking about possibility you might have to be replaced Djakarta since you encountering difficulties seeing leaders and your usefulness becoming limited as result recent campaigns against you, including Blitz telegrams, attempts implicate you in recent developments Indonesia, etc. This estimate your position, plus facts as previously reported by you and confirmed by Mein that you were disappointed Department could not concur your recommendation that US support Indonesia claim West New Guinea and extend immediate military and economic aid to Sukarno, and that you did not approve Department’s tactics in present situation, were reasons for your assignment to Czechoslovakia.” (Ibid.) Telegram 1644 is quoted in Document 4.

  3. See Document 4.
  4. Reference is most likely to telegram 1495 from Djakarta, December 9; for text, see Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, pp. 537539.