9. Letter From the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Robertson) to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (Irwin)0

Dear Mr. Irwin: The Secretary has asked me to reply to your letter I–17128/7 of December 26, 19571 in which you recommend that action be initiated requesting the President, pursuant to Section 401 (a) of the Mutual Security Act of 1954,2 as amended, to make the necessary determination so that token military assistance may be provided to Indonesia.

I agree that the U.S. should be prepared to extend quickly to Indonesia military assistance should it be decided to do so, and that we should continue contingency planning for such a course of action. I feel, However, that it would be premature to seek a 401 (a) determination at this time. Such action will, of course, be kept under continuing consideration, and, should we decide to proceed with token aid, could be undertaken if it appeared necessary in the light of the Indonesian response to notification of U.S. preparedness to make arms available and the internal political situation at that time. In any event, the Department of State would wish to be certain that any arms made available by the United States would not be used in support of Indonesian claims to West New Guinea.

Sincerely yours,

Walter S. Robertson
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 756D.5–MSP/12–2657. Top Secret. Drafted by Francis T. Underhill and cleared with Mein, C. Douglas Dillon, Robert Barnes, and J. Wesley Jones.
  2. Printed in Foreign Relations, 1955–1957, vol. XXII, pp. 566567.
  3. For text of the Mutual Security Act of 1954, approved by the President on August 26, 1954, see 68 Stat. 832. The Mutual Security Act of 1955 added section 401 (a); for text of that law, approved by the President on July 8, 1955, see 69 Stat. 286.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.