319. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State 0

1012. Pres Sukarno during farewell talk with him today denied categorically that he had expansionist designs or ambitions, was Communist or controlled by Indo Communist Party, or was considering embarking on military adventure.

Sukarno was upset over report of Zablocki1 which was summarized in Antara this morning, commented on and seemed genuinely hurt by fact committee had reached conclusions re Indonesia without visiting country and referred to successful visit of West German Pres Luebke as illustration extent to which visit here changed people’s views of Sukarno and Indonesia.

Sukarno also raised question of CIA activities in Indonesia and said he had been given evidence of CIA plan to topple him and his govt [1-1/2 lines of source text and footnote not declassified]. I denied this categorically and asked Sukarno what evidence consisted of, pointing out likelihood of provocation.

[8-1/2 lines of source text not declassified] I pointed out that Sukarno had had ample evidence that Pres Kennedy and present administration in Washington were interested in helping, not hurting GOI. If there were such activities, I would be aware of them. There were none, I repeated. Sukarno acknowledged he was convinced that Pres Kennedy and US Amb were not working against him. However, he was aware from the past that CIA often participated in activities of which the Amb was not aware and which even perhaps the White House was not aware. I replied that this was not true in Indonesia, indeed, if it ever had been true, it was no longer true under present administration. [3-1/2 lines of source text not declassified]

I told Sukarno I was glad to hear his positive denial of any expansionist ambitions because, as he would appreciate, I would be faced with the task of explaining Indonesia and where it was heading when I [Page 693] returned to Washington. Indeed, I desired to ask him to share frankly with me his short-range and long-range objectives in order that I could present his views clearly upon my return. I emphasized that many people in Washington were genuinely puzzled about Sukarno’s intentions and that the US Govt faced a real dilemma because while on the one hand we wanted to help Indonesia, on the other he was making it extremely difficult for us to do so. I said that I would like to see the next two months bring about an easing of tensions and an alteration in the situation such as to permit Pres Kennedy to visit Indonesia, something I knew he wanted very much to do but which was unfortunately impossible at the present time.

Sukarno said his long-range objectives I know perfectly well—to establish a just and prosperous society in Indonesia—to develop his country. The Pantjasila, which he had written himself, was the basis of his philosophy. As for short-range objectives, he had two in current situation: (1) to insure implementation of Manila agreements2 and (2) to reorient Indonesia’s trade pattern so that most of services rendered in Singapore in the past would be handled by Indonesia itself. Regarding the first, he was quite willing to recognize Malaysia if UN survey in accordance with procedures agreed at Manila came out favorably to Malaysia. I reminded him that he had been talking about crushing Malaysia ever since (and before) UN survey had been completed and that this was not conducive to reduction of tensions in area. He admitted this but referred to his Jogjakarta speech and said that this was the position on which he stood—he was ready to accept Malaysia on this basis. He emphasized his position was not the product of expansionist designs but that as always he took the part of people who were struggling for freedom and unless he was convinced that people of Kalimantan wanted Malaysia, it would be difficult for him to accept it. UN survey, curtailed as it was and not in accordance with Manila agreements, could not be accepted as genuine ascertainment of will of people.

I had argued this with him so many times before that it seemed unprofitable to pursue this further, and I turned to another topic, that of internal affairs. I asked him whether he was planning to reshuffle his Cabinet in the near future and whether I could be sure he would not include Communists in the new Cabinet. Sukarno replied that he was not planning to reshuffle his Cabinet in the near future although he would of course have to do so some time. When he did, he could assure me there would be no Communists in the Cabinet.

[Page 694]

I adverted to basic questions of policy in area and said it seemed to me that both our countries had everything to gain and nothing to lose by close relations with each other. I pointed out that since Pantjasila was in harmony with American philosophy and that our basic regional interests should be identical (mutual interest in containing ChiComs), it seemed to me that over the years relationships between our two countries should grow ever closer. This, I emphasized, made it of great importance to ease current tensions and resolve problems which created them. Sukarno said in effect that he was ready but how about Tunku. I replied I was hopeful that Kho initiative would succeed.

I referred to Indonesian show of force on Kalimantan border, said I would undoubtedly be asked about Sukarno’s intentions with respect to use of this force, and asked him frankly to tell me what he had in mind. He assured me that he did not plan any military action. If he continued to oppose Malaysia, he would do so through peaceful means, he indicated.

Interview ended with statement by Sukarno that he was counting on Pres Kennedy coming to Indonesia. He repeated that he would give him “the grandest reception anyone ever received here.”

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 15–1 INDON. Secret; Priority; Limit Distribution.
  2. Reference is to a mission report by the Chairman of the Far East and Pacific Subcommittee of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Clement J. Zablocki, which noted Sukarno was “emotionally unstable” and motivated by crowd reaction. The report also noted that Sukarno’s reliance on the PKI limited his freedom of action and decision and that his success in obtaining West Irian encouraged him to regard Borneo as another West Irian. The report suggested Sukarno’s expansionism was a way of masking Indonesia’s sagging economy and questioned continuing U.S. aid to Indonesia, no matter how small. (Telegram 591 to Djakarta, November 22; ibid.)
  3. As a result of the “summit” meeting of Sukarno, Philippine President Macapagal, and Malaysian Prime Minister Abdul Rahman in Manila, July 31–August 5, 1963, the three agreed to ask U.N. Secretary-General U Thant to send teams to the Borneo territories of the prospective federation of Malaysia to appraise the wishes of the inhabitants on self-determination. Malaysia, Philippines, and Indonesia also sent observers with these teams.