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

4063. Deptel 3184.1 Prime Minister received me at his home tonight, his manner more grave and serious then I have seen before.2 Foreign Minister Subandrio was only other person present. Prime Minister seemed to fear that relations between US and Indonesia were at cross roads and that next few days might determine outcome.

He started out by saying that he had originally hoped that capture of Padang and Bukittinggi would make it possible to bring about political settlement in conflict with rebels. Foreign bombings however had introduced new element which had so aroused Indonesians that government was determined to push on with military campaign. He knew that there was internal conflict in Minnehasa and until bombings took place government had simply planned to blockade Menado and let matter settle itself over period of time. Now this was no longer possible. He had made every effort to draft his statement of April 30 in such a way that no specific accusations were made against us but he implied he knew we were involved and could not understand our motives. It now looked to GOI as if purpose of US was to split Indonesia in two in order to insure that one part of Indonesia at least would remain non-Communist. This would be tragic for everybody, he said. It would be playing into hands of Communists who had been delighted by predicament in which bombings had placed both GOI and US. PKI was making capital of this, he said, endeavoring to induce President and cabinet to take steps from which there would be no return and President himself was so furious that it was with greatest difficulty Djuanda had been able to persuade him not to make speech openly attacking US. His references to splitting Indonesia in Bandung speech3 were mild compared to his original thinking.

I broke in at this point to assure Prime Minister that US had no such objectives, that US objectives with regard to Indonesia were what I had [Page 140] repeatedly told him they were—a united Indonesia able to stand on its own feet and maintain its own freedom and independence. US did not desire fragmentation of Indonesia which we felt would not be in interest of Indonesia, US or free world. We were of course most concerned about growth of communism in Java and fact that no steps apparently were being taken to do anything about it. Prime Minister said he, Dr. Subandrio and others realized that something must be done about it and he was glad to be able to tell me that the PNI in its meeting in Semarang had decided to take positive steps. He said he would be conferring with Deputy Prime Minister Hardi and others in next few days to work out specific positive program. He also said he hoped that Hatta could be induced to join government but that whether Hatta did so or not, we could be sure steps would be taken to curb growth of communism. At least this would be case unless US involvement in current struggle provided PKI opportunity turn Indonesian leadership against America.

Prime Minister said he had just received advice from his Indonesian Embassy in Manila to effect that new preparations were being carried out at Clark Field for additional plane and MTB assistance to rebels.

Foreign Minister interjected at this point observation that Serrano had said he was planning protest to Ambassador Bohlen against use of Clark Field to mount program of assistance to rebels. He did not know whether this had yet been done.

I expressed shocked surprise that Clark Field would have been directly involved in operation of this kind and asked whether he had specific evidence. Prime Minister replied that he had reports of observers from Indonesian Embassy Manila. I indicated this was hard for me to believe but I would transmit allegations to my Government.

Prime Minister continued by making strong appeal for action by US Government to halt bombings and further aid to rebels. He hoped Secretary could say something to indicate US intention to do what it could. This he said would help immeasurably to clear air and enable those within government who were endeavoring pour oil on troubled waters to continue this course. Further bombings would provide Communists with such leverage that it would be impossible for non-Communists and friends of America to hold line.

At this point I pulled out of my pocket paraphrase of Deptel 3184 which I had received shortly before leaving chancery and said I had some news for them which was responsive to Foreign Minister’s earlier appeal this subject. After I had finished reading substance of reftel Prime Minister nodding appreciatively said that more threatening area at moment seemed to be build-up at Clark Field in Manila and he hoped that something could be done about this.

[Page 141]

Prime Minister repeated very earnestly that he felt future of US-Indonesian relationships depended on US responsiveness to his appeal. He indicated America’s friendship was so important to Indonesia that he was willing to overlook American past participation but he pleaded for hands-off in future and let Indonesians settle their own internal conflicts.

Prime Minister concluded his comments by saying that he recognized this was very unusual procedure for him to make appeal of this character to Ambassador but that he felt he could do so on basis our personal friendship and that this was perhaps only way in which matter could be resolved.4

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–658. Top Secret; Niact; Limited Distribution. Transmitted in two sections.
  2. In telegram 3184, May 3, the Department informed Jones that he could tell Subandrio: “Our Ambassador in Taipei has been instructed to inform GRC of substance his charges that aircraft involved recent air raids came from Taiwan and were piloted by citizens GRC and his request that U.S. mediate with GRC in behalf Government Indonesia to prevent future assistance to Indonesian rebels.” (Ibid., 756D.00/5–358)
  3. Jones summarized this conversation with Djuanda in Indonesia: The Possible Dream, pp. 133–134.
  4. See footnote 4, Document 78.
  5. In telegram 4079 from Djakarta, May 6, the Embassy reported: “On basis several conversations at Parliament reception last night, Canadian Chargé today told Embassy officer he concluded widespread consensus members of Parliament is that air activity on rebels’ side would not be possible without at least tacit US approval. He believed this attitude indicative that US-Indonesian relations gravely jeopardized particularly since GOI had made no effort, as he thought it should, to draw distinction between official US policy and whatever action individual American adventurers might be involved in.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–658)