345. Memorandum of Conversation0


  • Quadripartite Talks on Indonesia-Malaysia Problem


  • Australia
    • Sir Garfield Barwick, Minister of External Affairs
    • Sir Howard Beale, Ambassador
    • Mr. J. K. Waller, First Assistant Secretary, Department of External Affairs
  • Great Britain
    • Sir David Ormsby Gore, Ambassador
    • Mr. Frederick A. Warner, Southeast Asia Department, Foreign Office
    • Mr. Anthony A. Golds, Far East and Pacific Department, Commonwealth Relations Office
  • New Zealand
    • Mr. George Laking, Ambassador
    • Mr. Alistair McIntosh, Secretary, Department of External Affairs
  • United States
    • The Secretary.
    • Governor Harriman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    • Mr. Hilsman, Assistant Secretary for Far Eastern Affairs
    • Mr. Bell, Director, Office of Southwest Pacific Affairs

The Secretary suggested that the paper presented for consideration seemed to lack balance and suggested an opening paragraph on the primary U.K. responsibility for Malaysia. It was agreed that the paper should be amended. (A new paragraph was drafted at the working level and has been approved by the Secretary.1 We are informed that the U.K. and Australia have also agreed to the new draft. At this writing we have not heard from New Zealand. Copy of agreed paper attached.)

The question of what the Tunku should be told about the quadripartite meetings was raised by the Secretary. The British Ambassador said that he was still being pushed by the Foreign Office on this subject and they were quite insistent that the Tunku be informed of the quadripartite meetings. It was finally agreed that the British would inform the Tunku that during the course of Sir Garfield Barwick’s visit to Washington matters relating to Malaysia and the Indonesian policy of confrontation had been discussed and the British and New Zealand Ambassadors had been invited to participate. The Secretary expressed the view that anything passed to the Tunku should be presented in a way which did not lead him to believe that he had a blank check. The British agreed to emphasize that our discussions were purely informal. They also would not give the Tunku any reason to believe that the current talks were part of any formal or regularly continuing procedure. It was further agreed that any information on measures which the United States might take should be passed to the Tunku by the U.S. However, we did not at this time plan to give the Tunku a run-down on what we were prepared to do.

It was agreed that the British would pass the substance of paragraph 5 to the Tunku and possibly discuss paragraph 6.

The Secretary asked at what point this dispute might go to the United Nations. Mr. McIntosh said his Government did not want the [Page 755] matter brought to the UN at this stage. Mr. Warner said there had been rather brief mention of this on the working level but no conclusions reached. The Commonwealth countries seemed to feel that the time had not come to get the matter before the UN. The Secretary did not disagree but did remark that we might want to go to the UN before we get actively involved.

Governor Harriman said the group had agreed that Thanat should pursue his present efforts and that we hoped Thanat could get something moving. If Thanat were to be successful in getting some movement, we all should stay out of it and let him handle the matter.

Governor Harriman mentioned that General Nasution had a standing invitation to visit the United States and that we had recently had indications he might decide to pay us a visit. Mr. Hilsman remarked that we hoped General Taylor and others would be able to exercise a moderating influence on Nasution (the British had earlier stated they did not think a Nasution visit to the U.S. would be useful but appeared to have modified their position on this).

Governor Harriman said that although there was no definite plan yet, consideration was being given to having General Taylor return to the U.S. from his scheduled visits to CENTO, Pakistan and India via Singapore.

Attachment 2


Washington, October 16–18

Representatives of Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States met in Washington from October 16th to 18th and reviewed the present situation arising from Indonesian confrontation of Malaysia.

The Australian, New Zealand and United Kingdom representatives reaffirmed that military and economic support for Malaysia was primarily a Commonwealth responsibility. The United Kingdom representative [Page 756] described the military measures being taken by the British Government to deal with armed Indonesian subversion in the Borneo territories, and informed the meeting of their intention to maintain these efforts at such a level as the situation might require.
All sides agreed that the time was not yet ripe for a tripartite meeting among Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The United States side agreed to consider various measures which would indicate a positive U.S. support for Malaysia:
The sale by the U.S. of military equipment to Malaysia on credit terms.
Invitations to Malaysian leaders to visit the United States and visits to Malaysia by U.S. leaders.
U.S. naval visit to Malaysia.
The United States agreed that:
Should an appropriate opportunity arise, it would publicly reiterate its support for the independence and integrity of Malaysia.
It would further encourage U.S. investment by announcing the extension of the investment guarantee agreement to the whole of Malaysia and by conducting investment feasibility surveys.
The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand agreed to continue to urge on the Tunku a policy of restraint and moderation in his public statements and actions.
It is considered that the time is not yet ripe for a tripartite meeting among Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. Against a backdrop of steady, quiet support for Malaysia, we should all express the hope that Thanat should continue his initiative with care and precision, if he considers it advisable, looking toward the establishment of conditions mutually agreed among Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines which would permit the holding of a meeting as soon as practicable. In the course of his efforts, Thanat should strive to achieve whatever measures might alleviate the current impasse. We would appreciate his analysis of the situation as it develops, including any usefulness of Maphilindo, and would be receptive to suggestions for whatever support he might desire from any of us. The substance of this paragraph would be passed to Thanat by the Australian Government.
It was agreed that quadripartite meetings to follow closely developments in the Indonesia-Malaysia dispute should be held in Washington or London as events seem to make them appropriate.
  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 3 MALAYSIA, Secret; Limit Distribution. Drafted by Bell and approved in S on October 23 and M on October 25. According to Rusk’s Appointment Book, his next meeting took place at 9:52 a.m. (Johnson Library)
  2. Working-level discussions, held October 16–17, are summarized briefly in telegram 2552 to London, October 19. (Department of State, Central Files, POL INDONMALAYSIA)
  3. Secret. Commenting on the agreed paper, a copy of which he sent to McGeorge Bundy Forrestal wrote in a note of October 18: “This is the dismal result of three days with the Malaysian allies. Komer will be depressed.” (Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, Malaysia, 10/63)