147. Memorandum From Secretary of State Rusk to President Kennedy0


  • Visit of President Sukarno to the United States

We have been informed by Ambassador Jones in Djakarta that President Sukarno of Indonesia will make another world tour this spring, during which he is expected to visit the United States and, on the invitation of Premier Khrushchev, the Soviet Union. The Ambassador strongly recommends that President Sukarno be invited to meet with you in Washington during his visit in the United States.1

The Indonesian Foreign Minister has told our Ambassador that Sukarno believes the United States is opposed to him personally and that [Page 312] it is, in fact, “plotting” against him. These feelings, supported in Sukarno’s view by the failure of President Eisenhower to accept repeated invitations to visit Indonesia, by our refusal to support Indonesian claims to West New Guinea and by the open hostility of the United States press, have played an important part in influencing him to closer and more cordial relations with the USSR. The visit of Premier Khrushchev to Indonesia in February 1960, the continuing Moscow support of Sukarno’s desire for recognition as a leader of the Afro-Asian Bloc and Soviet support of Indonesian claims to West New Guinea, underlined by a recent military equipment purchase agreement between the two countries of very large proportions, have also fostered his tendency to seek support for his program from the Indonesian Communist Party.

On the other hand, he has given, in his congratulatory messages to you following the election and upon the occasion of your inauguration and also in conversations with the Ambassador, strong evidence of a desire for closer cooperation with the United States. He has clearly indicated to the Ambassador his hopes that the United States will take a new view in its relations to him and to Indonesia. I believe it is very much in our interest to foster these feelings whenever we are in a position to do so in view of the fact that Sukarno is in nearly absolute control of Indonesia’s destiny for the time being.

We have been informed that Sukarno plans to make a two-day visit to the United States, tentatively scheduled for April 24–25, and that he hopes to be able to meet with you. I believe we should seize this opportunity to support his desire for a warm personal relationship with you and to encourage him to closer cooperation with us. Accordingly, I recommend that you authorize the Ambassador to initiate discussions looking toward a short informal visit to Washington by President Sukarno.2

Dean Rusk3
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, 798.11/2–1461. Confidential. Drafted by Linehan and cleared by Parsons, Bell, Roger W. Tubby, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, Angier Biddle Duke, Chief of Protocol, and Hare.
  2. In telegram 2352 from Djakarta, February 13. (Ibid., 611.98/2–1361)
  3. Telegram 1297 to Djakarta, February 21, instructed Jones to deliver an invitation for Sukarno to visit Washington to renew his friendship with President Kennedy. (Ibid., 798.11/2–2161)
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.