82. Memorandum of Conversation0


Copenhagen, Denmark, May 5-7, 1958


  • United States
    • The Secretary
  • Netherlands
    • Foreign Minister Luns


  • Indonesian Designs on West New Guinea

Foreign Minister Luns thanked the Secretary for his exposition on Indonesia during the restricted NATO Council meeting,1 but urged that the US make more emphatic to the Indonesian government that there would be no tolerance of an armed attack on West New Guinea. The Foreign Minister said that he was convinced that if the Indonesian government knew this in advance, there would not be any such attack.

The Secretary replied that he was not entirely sure that an attack would in the long run be bad because if it took place it would expose the disregard by the Indonesian government of the provisions of the UN Charter. Also the Secretary thought that the permissible reaction to such an attack would be such as to give a bloody nose to the Indonesian government.

Foreign Minister Luns said he thought the Dutch could do that, that they were good fighters and the Indonesians were not, as shown by the fact that a handful of the Dutch had been able for many years to exercise complete control and authority over the many millions of Indonesians.

  1. Source: Department of State, Secretary’s Memoranda of Conversation: Lot 64 D 199. Secret. Drafted by Dulles. The meeting took place at Christiansborg Palace.
  2. In Secto 49 from Copenhagen, May 7, Dulles reported on the restricted NATO Council meeting of May 7. The following summarized his statement on Indonesia: “In meantime, Secretary reported on situation in Indonesia, citing increasing tendency of Sukarno to follow more dictatorial methods with support of Soviet bloc. He reviewed action in Sumatra and the Celebes and political situation in Djakarta. He indicated that these events as well as those in Middle East show Soviet has new techniques in supplying military and economic aid to back dictatorial leaders. It was a form of indirect aggression which is very difficult to deal with under established international law.” (Ibid., Central Files, 396.1–CO/5–758)