128. Memorandum of Conversation1

SUBJECT

  • Sale of U.S. Communications Equipment to Indonesia

PARTICIPANTS

  • The Secretary
  • Thomas M. Judd, EUR/BNA
  • Sir Patrick Dean, British Ambassador
  • Nigel C.C. Trench, Counselor, British Embassy

Ambassador Dean said he had been instructed to convey to the Secretary the British Government’s unhappiness about the U.S. decision to permit the sale of communications equipment for use by the Indonesian Army. The Ambassador said he understood the U.S. problem but the British were faced with the situation of trying to prevent other friendly countries from supplying military equipment to the Indonesians. The French were getting ready to sell three helicopters, using the action of the U.S. as an excuse. The Dutch were about to sell twenty Fokkers. HMG was also having a lot of trouble with the Japanese. The British had demonstrated that they practiced what they preached when they cancelled the Decca contract some time ago.

Secretary Rusk went over the reasons for the U.S. decision which he had previously given to the Ambassador. He stressed the limitations on the program and the desirability of aiding the Indonesian Army to obtain a secure means of internal communication.

The Secretary went on to say that this sort of problem existed elsewhere. We were not happy with some of the things the British were doing. For instance, British shipping to Cuba. It was difficult to deal with each one of these cases on an ad hoc basis. Perhaps we should discuss the general problem in an attempt to arrive at a broad policy agreement. The Secretary said we would be glad to talk with the British to see if a basis could be found for a general agreement.

Ambassador Dean said he thought HMG would be interested in such talks. Perhaps Sir Burke Trend, Secretary of the British Cabinet, could take up this matter on his current visit to the U.S.

There was further discussion of our proposal to permit the sale of communications equipment to the Indonesian Army. The Secretary [Page 274]then mentioned that the Pakistanis were apparently sending C–130 spare parts to Indonesia from supplies originally furnished by the United States. We had taken this matter up with Pakistan. In view of the nature of the problem, it would probably be inadvisable for the British to make any approaches to the Pakistanis.

Ambassador Dean said that he had been unaware of this situation. He agreed that it would probably not be a good idea for the UK to talk with the Pakistanis.2

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 21 INDON. Secret. Drafted by Judd and approved in S on August 8. The memorandum is part 1 of 2. The discussion took place in Rusk’s office.
  2. In another meeting on August 2, also in Rusk’s office, the Secretary told Dean that “the British should probably wait to see what happens. There is a good chance the Indonesians will not go through with the purchase of the equipment.” (Memorandum of conversation, August 2; ibid.)