171. Memorandum From the President’s Deputy Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Rostow) to President Kennedy 0


  • Main Points for Sukarno Visit (Supplement to the authoritative State Department summary)1
Personal. The red carpet treatment, in human terms, should not merely include personal warmth but willingness to discuss—as one statesman to another—your domestic objectives and international perspectives. Some form of assurance should be given that we are his “friend”; that is, not engaged in hostile action against him. Details include gifts of a portrait and a book; family comment on Indonesian art books; introduction to family. The chopper—to be delivered later—is on hand at our end. Colonel McHugh is informed to be ready to discuss with Sukarno’s staff.
West Irian. We believe the status quo of West Irian should not be maintained. The Dutch understand this. We are anxious to hear Sukarno’s views. As for ourselves, we have been considering the possibilities of a Malayan trusteeship which would, in an orderly way, phase out the Dutch presence. (There are some 8,000 Dutch administrators and a total of approximately 18,000 Dutch nationals in the area, aside from 2,500 Dutch troops.) It is our view that it would be most unfortunate if an attempt were made to settle this problem by military means. Flexibility on all sides will be required if we are to meet the legitimate interests of all parties and the interests of the Papuans. During the trusteeship we would expect that Indonesia would have normal access to the territory. You might inquire what Sukarno’s views are about the possibility of coming to a direct understanding with the Dutch in future months. You may state that it is your view that the Dutch are increasingly flexible on the matter of West Irian, although, as Sukarno is aware, strong feelings are involved on both sides. We have no direct interests aside from the tranquility of the area and the avoidance of the kind of confusion and difficulty which we have all seen in the Congo. We are prepared to be helpful if all interested parties so wish. You should not commit yourself at this time on the length of the trusteeship or on the question of ultimate Indonesian takeover. The Indonesians are very sophisticated on this issue, and if transitional measures of the Malayan type are proposed, Sukarno is unlikely to press you further, although he may express his own views.
Economic aid. You might explain the new policy of working on long term with countries which create economic development programs. You might express an interest in their new 8-year plan. You might say that we are prepared to help them in a substantial way in bringing that plan to life. We believe the long run independence, as well as economic strength of Indonesia will depend substantially on their development effort. Specifically, you might suggest that the Indonesian government might wish some outside experts—governmental or nongovernmental—to discuss their plan with them in the manner in which the India and Pakistani plans have been discussed by both the Oliver Franks mission and the World Bank. We would also be pleased to receive here members of the Indonesian government concerned with economic development matters. (For your information, it is our hope that the two senior officials of Sukarno’s government who are seriously interested in economic development—Djuanda and Saleh—will come here this summer.) In line with our general policy, no specific figure of aid should be suggested until more serious discussions have taken place.
Military aid. We hope that Sukarno has found our modest military aid program useful. He may wish to expand it by our providing a team to work with the Indonesian army in a “civil action” program. We have in the U.S. a tradition in the Army Corps of Engineers of this kind. We have trained personnel and know-how: Army engineers, medical specialists, administrative specialists, etc., to help the Army make a contribution in the field of engineering, public health, public administration, transportation, communications, etc.
Mr. Allen Pope . The maximum that we can do is to express the hope the Indonesian government might see fit to be lenient to Pope, as a gesture of good will.
American oil companies. We understand that the 8-year plan depends heavily on the development of foreign exchange through the export of oil and other natural resources (notably timber and fisheries). Given the development of strength by the Indonesian government and the changing attitudes of the oil companies, we should think that their presence would represent no threat to Indonesian sovereignty. The experience elsewhere is that such foreign enterprises can make a constructive contribution to economic development in newly independent countries, within the framework of their programs. But this is, of course, a matter wholly for the Indonesians to work out with the oil companies. (For your information, the issue of private companies in Indonesia has been hotly debated for many years. It could go either way.)
Laos. It is our hope that all of us together may make good on the Asian scene the concept which both sides have accepted of an independent, neutral Laos along Austrian lines. The subject of Laos might be the occasion for you to express your generally benign view towards neutralism [Page 382] when neutralism is really neutral. Our objective in the world is simply to see the new nations maintain their independence and develop their societies along lines truly of their own choosing, conforming to the will of the majority and not a minority. We shall continue to aid nations—such as Viet-Nam—whose independence is threatened.
Should Cuba arise, a suggested line (in conformity with Stevenson’s UN approach) is that Castro, unlike Sukarno, has betrayed a truly nationalist revolution in Cuba with grave consequences for the military and political situation in this area.
On other items in the black book, the State Department’s line seems O.K., with two minor exceptions. In Taiwan it would be best to indicate that we seek to discourage them from disturbing actions in friendly states, although our influence has its limits. On disarmament, the case for our concern with inspection could be more clearly put.
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Indonesia, Vol. I, 4/61. Secret.
  2. Document 170.