114. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Malaysia 1

1428. Kuala Lumpur’s 1109.2 Department’s attitude toward current motions in direction negotiation Indo-Malaysian dispute has been as follows:

We have continued believe bilateral contacts between senior officials of GOI and GOM could be useful to help locate areas within [Page 244]which agreement possible, and to prevent Indos from claiming GOM avoiding settlement. We therefore encouraged HMG and GOA to support or at least not deter Razak-Subandrio meeting.
For same reasons we have not opposed Sukarno-Tunku meeting, subject qualification that at that level meeting would be less formal, would lose some of flavor of “contact” and would take on air of negotiation.
We have not wanted sponsor negotiations at this point because we think they will inevitably lead to some version of AACC idea, and we think it would be premature and perhaps dangerous for GOM to accept such vague concept until preliminary quiet contacts have established more precisely what is meant.
While there are advantages in AACC, as idea stands undefined at present, it has these dangers: Sukarno has publicly stated and reiterated that he will accept any solution proposed by AACC. This is fine public position, but at same time various Indo diplomats have recently confirmed what we have previously assumed, which is that Indos would insist that AACC work on basis consensus unless, of course, they had pro-Indo majority. At least Indo nominee would not accept position which too hard for GOI to swallow, and other Asians would be most unlikely incur Indo enmity by pushing too hard for such position. We thus feel we could rule out idea that AACC would confirm UN ascertainment and certify Malaysia as pure. AACC would be left with choice of recognizing inability reach agreement or of coming up with some new form of “testing will of people of North Kalimantan.” This being case, we think that what form this testing procedure would take must be worked out informally between GOM and GOI before concept accepted. Otherwise, GOM is likely to be faced with AACC recommendation for plebiscite which it might feel it had to reject, thus giving ball game to Sukarno.
As far as Phils are concerned, we have felt they have no place in bilateral contacts because their presence reintroduces Borneo claim, because their method of operation via press leak has been dramatically unhelpful, and because Indos have been most successful in using them as divisive element in past. At same time, if matters proceed past bilateral stage in trilateral meeting, we think it important that they be fully aware of situation and our views of it in hope we can mitigate disadvantages inherent in their presence. This produces dilemma: if we talk to them too fully and too soon we may encourage their desire attend, while if we leave them out too long we may have uninformed and destructive Philippine involvement.

At this stage we inclined think we should not push Phils until it clear that tripartite meeting is inevitable. We expect, however, that Macapagal or Mendez or both will want Bundy’s views on Indo-Malaysian [Page 245]negotiations, and recognize subject cannot be by-passed. If this happens, suggest Ambassador and Bundy might give briefing on current status of contacts, drawing on points 1 to 4 above, and endorsing AACC structure outlined Kuala Lumpur’s 1109, with which we fully agree.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 32–1 INDON–MALAYSIA. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Cuthell and approved by Green. Also sent to Tokyo for Bundy and repeated to Bangkok, Djakarta, Kuala Lumpur, London, Singapore, and Canberra.
  2. In telegram 1109 from Kuala Lumpur, March 5, Bell suggested that Department officials talk to the British about an AACC in which Sukarno would choose Pakistan or Cambodia, the Philippines would designate Thailand at U.S. urging, and Malaysia would consider Nigeria as their candidate. (Ibid.)