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

1784. Embtel 795.2 As set forth Embtel 16433 and other recent messages, Country Team and I are agreed on orderly reduction and regrouping of American-official presence here worked out as cooperatively as possible with GOI or those elements GOI which are responsive in that way, and consistent with task US can and should try to accomplish in Indonesia. We are against reduction beyond that as either punitive or defensive measure unless and until security situation worsens markedly. Despite rising tide anti-Americanism which has closed our USIS operations, forced beginnings of takeover of American private property and made continuation some of our other projects and programs, including AID, of marginal value or impossible, we feel that we should try to weather storm and retain nucleus of mission which could again mount programs designed to assert effectively US influence in this country. It is our hope that reductions in various agencies now under way may to some extent increase and enhance work in small mission we hope to form here in way which will make it more water tight and storm worthy. In general we would like to (a) fold smaller and hope fully hard hitting information and psychological staff into Embassy and [Page 246]Consulates and continue contest for minds of Indonesians, particularly youth; (b) retain AID building (despite difficulties noted AIDTO 1055),4 sufficient housing to accommodate small AID staff (we would plan to use building also, if agreement can be gotten from GOI, to take some of pressure off of Embassy which is bulging at seams for space); (c) small Defense liaison staff attached to Embassy in place of MILTAG (perhaps also to be officed in AID building); (d) residual civic action liaison to be continued by foregoing; (e) [garble—Peace?] Corps to extent requested, used and protected by GOI.

Following are more detailed comments on numbered paras reftel in seriatim;


AID. CT considers situation requires withdrawal most of USAID on basis b AIDTO 10495 with following modifications:

University contracts be terminated ASAP view limitations imposed on their operations by program restrictions and their isolated exposure possible harassment. Would attempt terminate contracts and withdraw personnel as soon as feasible.
USAID and AID/W initiate action immediately to cancel outstanding procurement and divert shipments en route as deemed appropriate.
We hope that some participant training might continue. While we will not press GOI on this we would hope have funds and US administrative personnel available to be responsive to any Indo request for training in US, at least until it absolutely certain GOI will approve no such training whatever.

USAID preparing separate message response AIDTO 1049 recommending schedule required actions. In brief, we envisage residual AID staff of 8–10 persons as against present strength of 70. Edwards will discuss problems with Poats at Baguio.


Peace Corps. Believe PC should remain Indonesia as long as volunteers can continue to do their assigned jobs without undue harassment. This may be possible if planned reductions US presence here produces easing of tensions and GOI actively implements announced desire maintain good relations with USA. If, however, withdrawal USIS allowed become focal point increased anti-American activity PC will not escape attack but indeed will be all more evident target as others depart.

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Maintenance effective PC operations in Indonesia will require GOI take additional steps to promote recently reiterated Sukarno desire continue PC in Indonesia. This subject currently under discussion with FonMin; response we receive will be significant test GOI determination keep PC here in spite of current atmosphere. Without some strong Sukarno support to regional govts we believe unlikely PC can continue operate effectively under any circumstances. Do not believe any evacuation required at this time; physical safety PCVS not seriously in question whereas any such moves would signal drive to oust all PCVS. Will keep this under constant review and notify Dept soonest if situation changes.

MILTAG. Do not consider voluntarily close-out to be in US interest, however, believe we should consider deactivation of MILTAG as such and establishment within Embassy of “Special Assistant to Ambassador for Defense Liaison Activities.” This Defense Liaison Group to have mission maintain US military presence, perform MAP and civic action residual function, maintain direct link to CINCPAC and DOD, and provide base for future expansion of MAP or other Defense activities should such expansion become desirable. Organization should include officer representation from each service dept, personnel to perform continuing specialized functions, and minimum clerical and administrative support. Believe this can be accomplished with eight military personnel (5 officers and 3 enlisted), which includes spaces for Signal Corps officer to supervise Philco contract, army schools liaison officer at Bandung, and enlisted radio man to support military communications system at the Embassy. Believe reduction below numbers proposed above should not be considered until requirements are further reduced or until further reduction is made necessary by actions of Indonesian Govt. This represents drastic cut from present MILTAG strength of 25 enlisted men and officers. Proposed organizations will be covered in greater detail in MILTAG reply to CINCPAC message DTG 030419Z.6
Evacuation. Do not believe advisable yet move into formal phase of E and E plan. To do so would almost inevitably leak to Indonesian community and complicate our problems; at very best such action would add to morale problems in American community. What I need in face this unpredictable situation is standby authority to (a) authorize advance travel for dependents who would like to leave on voluntary basis, (b) advance authorization to ship HHE, if necessary, and we strongly recommend CONUS as safehaven (Deptel 798),6 (c) use foreign flag vessels if American shipping not available. Embassy believes it would also be wise, on contingency basis, to select and make [Page 248]other necessary preliminary arrangements for representation of US interests in Indonesia by third power. (I would think that Japanese Embassy here would be one of few here with sufficient staff and standing with GOI to do this effectively—would welcome Dept’s comments.) Preparations for fulfillment provisions FAM 7–9507 could then be completed.
USIS Regrouping. See TOUSI 215.7

Reconstituted programs outlined above based on strong belief it in US interest, at least until game progresses a bit further, to maintain nucleus MILTAG and USAID (possibly under other names) along lines outlined above for residual reporting responsibilities and other situations that may develop. Number of events could alter present direction Indo politics and provide renewed openings for US initiative. Among these are (a) possible replacement of Sukarno through death or incapacitation; (b) possible army move to stem present trends; or (c) conceivably shift of Malaysian confrontation out of military arena. None of these at all certain but all possible. More likely is hope, as stated Embtel 1643 that with less conspicuous and smaller mission here GOI will find it easier to protect us and that our relations will accordingly, and despite continued foreign policy differences, be eased. This assumes of course GOI desires continued relations. While this also not certain, believe it clearly in US national interest to continue on this assumption until situation clarifies way in which GOI cooperates in orderly withdrawal of USIS installations will provide barometer for future action across board. If we are successful in closing down USIS without exacerbation already difficult situation, I propose that I have frank discussion with Sukarno/Subandrio re remainder of our programs in effort reach understanding. Do not believe we should move too fast with actions which will be interpreted by Indos as retaliatory. Let us have our plans ready so as to be able move fast if necessary and desirable but take soundings as we go. As Dept aware, stakes in game are high and we should not burn any bridges before absolutely necessary.

Subandrio has promised see DCM March 9 to discuss surplus housing and related matters. We should if possible get his agreement on our retention AID building and part of AID housing as well as on use AID building for some other elements this mission. Would appreciate reaction Dept and other agencies soonest.

(AIDTO 1055 received after preparation this message but presents no basic inconsistency with USAID proposal in para 1 above. Will reply part I following Baguio discussions. Response part II being provided separately.)

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON–US. Secret; Immediate. Repeated to Manila for Bundy and FELG, and to CINCPAC, Medan, and Surabaya. Passed to the White House, Defense, and CIA.
  2. In telegram 795 to Djakarta, March 5, the Department indicated that the United States must reduce American presence in Indonesia beyond cutting the USIS program. The Department suggested “quiet and undramatic” reductions, including a prompt close-out of the AID program by June 30, planning for a possible Peace Corps withdrawal, a closing of the Military Advisory Group operation by the end of the fiscal year, and urgent consideration of evacuation of U.S. officials’ dependents. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 109.
  4. Dated March 5. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, AID (US) 1 INDON)
  5. Dated March 4. (Ibid.)
  6. Not found.
  7. Not found.
  8. Not found.