104. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy) to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Reply from Prime Minister Wilson on Indonesia2
1.
Harold Wilson’s long answer to your letter about a Sukarno 3 visit has just arrived. As we rather expected, he takes a very dim view [Page 221]of it, and my brother and I believe that Dean Rusk will share our view that you would not wish to go ahead in these circumstances.
2.
Wilson’s argument is that a Sukarno visit to Washington would be regarded as a triumph for his confrontation policy in Malaysia, and in the UK, and in Indonesia. The British obviously doubt that we could turn him around in any serious way, and they point out—certainly correctly—that in the current state of British opinion and deployment, there would be very harsh criticism of us from the UK.
3.
Wilson’s letter also takes a very different view from ours of the future inside Indonesia. They obviously think the army will prove stronger than the P.K.I. when Sukarno leaves the scene. If this is true, it is most encouraging, and it is worth a second look here.
4.
This message ties in quite neatly with the problem of getting Lodge to the Far East. Our thought now is that you might invite him to go as an informal representative to Kuala Lumpur and Djakarta and that from those points he could easily be invited by Max Taylor for an informal visit in Saigon. The whole expedition could be purely a matter of “having a look,” and could be compared quite smoothly to his earlier visit to third countries on behalf of Vietnam. This does not call for a decision until I get back from Saigon, but I think it is quite a good idea for the latter part of February. Lodge is alert and ready to go whenever you want him.
5.
All this of course is separate from the proposed Bunker appointment, which will take a little longer and which would be neatly balanced, in a sense, by having Lodge take an informal travelling look-see that could include reassurances to the Malaysians.
McG. B. 4
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 8, Jan.–Feb. 1965. Top Secret.
  2. Dated January 30. (Ibid., Head of State Correspondence, Prime Minister Wilson, Vol. I)
  3. Document 102.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.