108. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 1

727. Crescendo of harassments against USG establishment in Indonesia, culminating in attacks on Djakarta and Medan libraries has brought us to stage where we will have to consider constricting our relations with Indos to minimum unless GOI takes prompt steps to halt depredations and restore situation. We recognize how this could conflict with our long-range interests in Southwest Pacific, but point is at hand where that consideration may have to give way to our inability tolerate such treatment. Question is not only one of US public outrage at Indonesian insults, but of virtual impossibility continuing do business with Indonesia under present conditions.

In line with recent expressions by President and Secretary of growing concern over mistreatment US diplomatic establishments abroad, we feel it necessary to respond in tangible manner to GOI directed or tolerated misconduct. For present we are holding up $350,000 contribution to Bandung reactor, and are considering other appropriate measures. We will, of course, bear in mind in implementing these measures that large US private investment in Indonesia is potential Indo hostage, while we have no equivalent.

To lessen our exposure and to demonstrate our concern, AID will propose further substantial reduction in size of USAID mission in [Page 229]Indonesia. Proposals subject separate communications.2 Question of MILTAG also under consideration.

With Ambassador scheduled return February 22, request Embassy advise Palace that he will be returning with instructions from USG and will seek appointment with Sukarno immediately upon return.

When Ambassador sees Sukarno, he should make clear he speaking under instructions and should convey following message in unmistakable terms: (a) USG, including President himself, views these inexcusable attacks on USG property with gravest concern, and fears they will completely destroy useful relations between us unless steps taken not only to halt them but to restore situation; and (b) as minimum, we must insist that all forms discrimination against US diplomatic community and violations accepted diplomatic standards cease immediately (Ambassador knows what they are and should cite them).

In ensuing discussion, Ambassador should draw on following points, conveying them in manner best suited to atmosphere but indicating that they being made under instructions:

Treatment USG properties and violations our diplomatic privileges has gone far beyond stage any sovereign country can be expected accept. Despite this, USG has hitherto exercised greatest restraint because of our sincere desire prevent relations from further deterioration and because we have been relying on repeated GOI assurances that seized properties would be returned to us and harassments halted. These assurances so far have proved valueless.
Sukarno and other GOI leaders have attempted portray these excesses as expressions spontaneous anger at US policies for which GOI cannot be held responsible. We cannot accept this portrayal, which in effect asks us to acknowledge that Sukarno and GOI have lost control in their own country. Facts are clear that GOI itself has taken lead in creating this deplorable atmosphere, not only by failing to speak out for law and order but by publicly condoning and endorsing mob violence.
GOI leaders have ventured suggest that USG must itself share in task of halting these excesses by modifying its policies in FE. We cannot believe this suggestion advanced seriously. We prepared at any time to discuss our policies with GOI, explain our motives, and listen to GOI views. These excesses, however, do not add to our appreciation of GOI viewpoint and interests but diminish it to vanishing point.
We particularly regret that Indonesians have used Viet-Nam situation as excuse for latest series of outrages. We know GOI disagrees with our Viet-Nam policy. However, such disagreements must in no way be allowed to result in destruction or violation of diplomatic, [Page 230]consular or any other property. Our actions in Viet-Nam stem from our firm commitment to help South Viet-Nam defend itself against outside aggression, and we determined to continue doing whatever is found necessary to meet that commitment. No actions by GOI or Indonesian mobs are going to change that situation to slightest degree, and we are sorry to see GOI sacrificing our bilateral relations in fruitless, undignified efforts to do so. (If Sukarno takes this opportunity to debate our Viet-Nam policy, you should draw on Depcirtels 1441, 1442, 1443, 1449 and 14673 in response.)
We have now reached critical watershed in our relations with Indonesia. We want better relations and we prepared do whatever we reasonably can to achieve them. At present, however, we are at point where we can do no more unless GOI responds by promptly restoring conditions which will permit us deal with each other under tolerable conditions.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON–US. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Ingraham; cleared by Cuthell, Poats, Thompson, Green, Gilbert H. Kinney of the Vietnam Working Group, and Harriman; and approved by William Bundy and Rusk. Repeated to Manila for Jones and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. Dated February 7, 7, 7, 8, and 11, respectively. (All in National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 27 VIET S)