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


  • Ambassador Bunker’s meeting with you today
Ambassador Bunker is coming in primarily to report to you on his mission to Indonesia. I attach at Tab A the first two sections of a long report.2 These sections give his general conclusions and his recommendations.
He is pessimistic about the short-run prospects for improved U.S. relations with Indonesia. Bunker knows it takes two to have good relations, and he thinks Sukarno simply does not want them right now. Malaysia is the immediate cause of friction, but even if Malaysia were settled, the internal politics of Indonesia would bend Sukarno toward hostility to the U.S.
At the same time, Bunker believes strongly in a continued U.S. effort to play for the long-term stakes by keeping open quiet lines of contact to the Indonesian Government and people—and especially to the Indonesian military. He recommends that we reduce our visibility, avoid punitive actions, remove vulnerable Americans from isolated regions, but maintain a skeleton AID staff with minor and popular AID projects as our University contract program. His one politically tricky recommendation is that we should keep our good relations with the Indonesian military by completing a firm but unfulfilled commitment to the Indonesian army to help in finishing a telecommunications project (Part 2, page 2, item 2). There is not yet an inter-agency position on this one.
There are two questions that may be more important than Bunker’s report: (1) the succession in Indonesia, and (2) your own possible interest in appointing Bunker.
On Indonesia, Bunker recommends Henry Byroade who has done a very good job as Ambassador in Burma. The State Department concurs, and so do we. Byroade’s record is marred by some private indiscretions, but he has apparently behaved very well in Burma, and he has the temperament and style for Indonesia.
On Bunker himself, I continue to think that if he were interested, he would give a stature and coherence to our European Bureau that it has never had in many years, even under Foy Kohler.
McG. B.
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, 3/3/65–6/30/65. Secret.
  2. See Document 121.