85. Editorial Note

On May 8 at the 365th meeting of the National Security Council, Allen Dulles opened his intelligence briefing with an analysis of Indonesian developments:

“The Director of Central Intelligence indicated that the dissident forces on Sumatra had been reduced to guerrilla activity. While the dissident leaders, both military and political, had not been captured, the prospects for effective guerrilla warfare were not very good. In the northern Celebes, on the other hand, the dissidents had been having quite a few successes since they had taken the air base at Morotai. Their bombing attacks have stirred great anger and apprehension in Java., Charges have been made that U.S. and Chinese Nationalist personnel have taken part in these air raids. On the other hand, the government seems to have no definite intelligence or information to back up this charge. Incidentally, it had been reported that four Soviet instructors had been killed in one of these dissident bombing attacks.

“Mr. Dulles pointed out that a few feelers had been extended at lower Army levels in Djakarta. The Army was the most anti-Communist branch of the armed services, as the Air Force was the most Communist-penetrated. [Page 149] Certain Army officers had been in touch with our Military Attaché. While there had been no real progress as yet in these conversations, Mr. Dulles was not without some hope that they would ultimately amount to something. In any event, our Ambassador was pursuing the matter diligently. Meanwhile, there are increasing reports of the arrival of Soviet military matériel—MIGs, some transport planes, and a few light bombers. These aircraft have not yet seen action, and probably wouldn’t for some days, until training was completed. Mr. Dulles thought that Secretary Herter might wish to make a comment at this point.

“Secretary Herter replied that it was hard to assess the true situation in Djakarta. However, it seemed that Sukarno was as determined as ever to run the show as he wished, i.e., with the support of the Communists.

“The President observed that if the Indonesian Army could really work effectively, it could completely neutralize the Communist-inclined Air Force by simply seizing the airfields.” (Memorandum of discussion by Gleason, May 9; Eisenhower Library, Whitman File, NSC Records)