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

4112. Deptels 32071 and 3213.2 Immediately on receipt of reference telegrams I sought appointment with Foreign Minister and he received me at his home at 5:30. When he learned subject to be discussed, he telephoned Prime Minister who asked us to come to his home at once. There I carefully presented all points reference telegrams.3

Both Foreign Minister and Prime Minister expressed appreciation for prompt response, informing me that question of military planning as well as action against PKI would be discussed at special executive cabinet meeting with Nasution present at 9 a.m. tomorrow. Under head of interesting coincidence, prior receipt reference telegrams today, army headquarters telephoned to make appointment for me to see General Nasution at 8 a.m. tomorrow—hour before his meeting with Prime Minister.

Foreign Minister said my news could not have been better timed—that pressures were building up and tomorrow’s meeting might have been critical. PKI was engaged in feverish activity designed to push GOI into irrevocable anti-American position. This information would enable Djuanda and himself to put shoe on other foot. Both Djuanda and Subandrio were obviously greatly relieved by indication adjustment US position.

Prime Minister, while expressing gratification at reassurance and offer of help from US, said that Indonesian Government would not be willing to consider offer which carried conditions with it affecting internal operations of country; that Indonesia, in other words, would not bargain away its independence of action. Indonesia Government would [Page 147] follow course it believed sound for country; if that course enabled US to help, so much the better. He believed that this would prove to be case.

I said I understood this thoroughly and that I was not putting forward proposition with conditions but simply informing them what we would like to do and were prepared to do. At same time I was indicating ways in which they could be helpful to us in creating situation that would enable us to do what we would like to do by satisfying US public opinion.

Prime Minister acknowledged distinction with smile and then proceeded to say that he was planning two moves in near future: (1) reshuffle of government and (2) more positive actions to curb PKI. He said he could tell me confidentially that he as well as army was very much concerned about current activities of PKI. With large part of effective military forces now outside Java, as Minister of National Defense, he was seriously concerned as to capability of forces left on Java to maintain security if Communists stepped up activity as reports indicated they were planning to do. He was not only thinking of coup but of disruption of economy through strikes, boycotts, et cetera. Parenthetically, he said that he had instructed military to crack down on any action taken by Communists against foreign interests. Prior receiving reference telegrams I had made representations to both Foreign Minister and Prime Minister on subject Aidit message to me. (On this point he could assure me specifically that PKI would not be permitted to take any action against American property or personnel). Subject of how to handle Communists and capability of military on Java would be discussed with General Nasution at tomorrow’s meeting.

On subject reshuffle cabinet, Prime Minister said he still hoped to get Hatta into cabinet but could not be sure. There were two reasons for this uncertainty:

(1) Hatta’s own rigidity and (2) fear of some army leaders that he would favor Sumatrans to such extent that control of army might actually pass to rebels. Sultan of Jogjakarta, however, was certain to be included in cabinet either as Minister of National Defense or Minister of Economic Affairs. New cabinet would be anti-Communist in orientation and its objectives would coincide with US objectives. Sukarno agreed with general concept, he said, but task would not be easy with many conflicting groups and interests and he counselled patience. He might not succeed but he would do his best.

In commenting on arms offer, he carefully avoided direct reference to settlement current conflict (probably because of sensitivity to conditions expressed or implied) but touched on point obliquely by saying that he could assure me that no arms from US would be used against dissidents.

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Prime Minister also expressed deep appreciation for decision on rice which was urgently needed, as well as for message from Foreign Minister Yeh of GRC,4 and other information from US Government. Although US could not assure him that bombings would stop, he appreciated assurance that Clark Field was not being and would not be used as base for aid to rebels.

I informed Prime Minister of appointment with Nasution tomorrow morning and he concurred in suggestion I should supply him with highlights of reference telegrams. He thought this would be mutually helpful. I also mentioned both SEATO and modern weapons invitations. Although it was impossible for GOI to send military representatives to SEATO exercises for reasons previously reported, Prime Minister’s initial reaction to possible second invitation from Admiral Stump5 was favorable again depending on timing and availability of personnel. He suggested I discuss it with Nasution tomorrow.

Will advise results Nasution interview soonest.

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–758. Top Secret; Niact; Limit Distribution. Transmitted in two sections.
  2. Document 81.
  3. Telegram 3213, May 6, referred to a “supplementary message” from Jones that had been sent “through other channels” and to a message that the U.S. military attachés in Indonesia were authorized to pass on to certain Indonesian Army leaders. Neither of these messages has been found. The telegram authorized Jones to meet with either Djuanda, Nasution, or Subandrio and explore with them the approach laid down for the attachés. It also instructed him to emphasize point 11 of telegram 3207, “pointing out to Djuanda that in order take definite measures assist Government we need concrete demonstration Indo Govt intention deal effectively with Communists.” (Department of State, Central Files, 756D.00/5–658)
  4. Jones summarized his conversation with Subandrio in Indonesia: The Possible Dream, pp. 136–137.
  5. See footnote 3, Document 81.
  6. To attend the “modern weapons” demonstration.