87. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to Secretary of State Dulles, at Copenhagen0

2. For the Secretary. I earnestly hope that you can disavow or at least soften by public statement UP story Copenhagen front page all Djakarta papers today to effect that you warned yesterday that an Indonesian attack on West New Guinea would have “most serious consequences” for Southeast Asia and whole Western world. Full text story follows:

Begin verbatim text:

“United States Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, warned yesterday that an Indonesian attack on Western New Guinea (Irian) would have most serious consequences for Southeast Asia and the whole Western world, a high conference source disclosed last night.

Dulles, the source said, brought up Indonesia during a secret session of the NATO Council yesterday morning. He was said to have pointed to the Communist danger and intimated that Washington was “deeply disturbed” over developments in that area.

“He was quoted as saying he felt bound to bring this to the Council’s attention.

“Netherlands Foreign Minister Joseph Luns, the source disclosed, then gave the Council a full report on developments in Indonesia according to the latest information reaching the Dutch Government.”

End verbatim text.

I had no sooner finished dictating above when I was summoned by Foreign Minister, who stressed seriousness of this statement coming at this time. He said as soon as it had been published he received telephone calls from both President and Prime Minister who were inclined to react at once with strong statement attacking United States. Foreign Minister pointed out this was third-hand information and urged that they wait until he had opportunity to consult American Ambassador. He also told them he could not believe that United States would deliberately exacerbate United States-Indonesian relations after having just made strong gesture in behalf friendship in Ambassador’s approach to Prime Minister on subject Indonesian arms request and rice for Indonesia.

I informed Foreign Minister that I believed he was correct in his assumptions and that I doubted Secretary had made any such statement in [Page 154] context in which it was published. Indeed, as soon as I had read story, I had dictated telegram seeking accurate information and would advise him as soon as I had a response.

Foreign Minister pointed out that they were doing best to play down issue of West New Guinea. I believe this to be accurate, particularly at this time when strenuous efforts being made to heal wounds.

In this highly emotional situation here in which Indonesian Government on verge of charging United States as aggressors reference to West Irian is most inflammatory. As you aware, West Irian is most sensitive subject on which all Indonesians are united. Juxtaposition remarks of Luns also unhelpful except that Foreign Minister concluded from this that Dutch obviously had violated confidence secret meeting.

It would be most helpful to us here if you could say something to effect source badly distorted your remarks and then make statement designed calm Indonesians.1

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D.13/5–958. Confidential; Niact. Repeated to the Department of State as telegram 4134, which is the source text.
  2. In Tosec 75 to Paris, May 9, Herter and Robertson informed Secretary Dulles that it would be helpful if he could make a statement or direct Jones to make a statement that could be released in Djakarta regarding the UP story on West New Guinea. (Ibid.) See Supplement. In telegram 8 from Paris to Djakarta, May 9, (repeated to Washington as Secto 64), Dulles authorized Jones to tell Subandrio or Djuanda that the UP story “is obviously fabrication since I made no remarks of any kind regarding a possible Indo attack on New Guinea.” (Department of State, Central Files, 656.56D13/5–958) In telegram 5157 from Djakarta, May 10, Jones expressed appreciation for the Secretary’s prompt response and indicated he informed the Foreign Minister who indicated the information would be “most helpful.” (Ibid., 656.56D13/5–1058) See Supplement.