100. Note From the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Green) to the Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs (Bundy)1
I think it would be sheer folly to have any presidential meeting with Sukarno except under terms we have previously approved. I don’t want to belabor a point on which I gather you are agreed but here are a few considerations:
- Sukarno is bent on a course of action from which he will not be dissuaded. Momentarily he might smile and do a few pleasant [Page 213]things but he would maintain his current course. This would be less than helpful to our President both at home and abroad.
- A presidential meeting would be an open invitation for others to emulate Sukarno. It would show that the bad boys are the ones that get the attention. It would have decisively serious impact on countries like Korea, Vietnam and perhaps even Thailand and the Philippines as far as the Far East is concerned. God knows how the Africans would react.
- We are anxious to have the British and Australians play a firm military role in Southeast Asia. We are also anxious to have their support for our actions in Vietnam, Laos and elsewhere. Merely to suggest a presidential visit to the British might be most harmful.
- To favor Sukarno with a presidential invitation at this time would convince Sukarno all the more that he can play his pro-Communist iconoclastic role in world affairs without fear of reaction from the Americans nor indeed from the British since he would figure that the Americans would now exercise a restraining influence upon the British and Australians.
Jones’ easy ambiance with Sukarno is helpful but it has not and will not influence Sukarno’s course of action. Nor will our aid or lack of aid influence Sukarno. What sets limits on Sukarno’s course of action are:
- Internal factors which are beyond our capability to influence;
- Afro-Asian criticism of his confrontation policies, of his quitting the UN, etc.
- Soviet reactions (e.g., Moscow can scarcely anticipate with pleasure another UNSC meeting on confrontation).
A presidential visit at this juncture while the above factors may be having a useful yeasty effect could upset the whole process.
- Our President and Secretary continually use the line that we cannot have dealings with Communist China or admit it to the UN while Peiping pursues its present aggressive course in Southeast Asia. How can we reconcile this posture with a presidential meeting with a man who admits aggression against his Southeast Asian neighbors?