129. Memorandum From the Director, Far East Region (Blouin) to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs (McNaughton)1
- Further Deterioration in Relations with Indonesia
Ambassador Green reports from Djakarta that the United States should prepare for a break in diplomatic relations with Indonesia.2 Although he does not believe a break is imminent, he says the “heat is again being turned on us” and that preparations should be made for this eventuality. This assessment was made in a few hours before a Communist-led mob stoned the U.S. Consulate in Medan.
The strong anti-U.S. demonstrations which have taken place since Green’s arrival in Djakarta, the blunt words which Sukarno leveled at [Page 275]the United States during the Ambassador’s presentation of credentials, and the increasingly vitriolic anti-American and anti-Green statements in the Indonesian press apparently have convinced the Ambassador that his initial efforts to improve relations between the two countries have met with sharp rebuff.3 Relatedly, the Indonesian Government has turned down a request for the research ship Atlantis II to conduct a marine survey in the Banda Sea, which Indonesia claims as its territorial waters. Sukarno is pressing ahead full speed with plans to set up a rival to the United Nations known as the CONEFO (Conference of Newly Emerging Forces) next year, and his latest boast that he will explode an atomic bomb in November has caused the Embassy to speculate that Peking may detonate a bomb in Indonesia in order to bolster Sukarno’s prestige among the Afro-Asian nations. A growing campaign is being waged by the Indonesian Government, or important elements in it, to convince the public that Indonesia is under imminent threat of attack from the United States. A forged document was recently made public by the foreign minister which “proved” that the British and American Ambassadors in Djakarta were conspiring on plans for an invasion of Indonesia.
Conclusion and Recommendations
It appears that the conclusions reached by the Bunker Mission, namely, that a large reduction in the American presence in Indonesia would produce a better climate in which to conduct US/Indonesian relations, are being proved fallacious and that time may be running out on U.S. efforts to placate Sukarno. Perhaps our moderation in dealing with Indonesia has misled Sukarno to believe that the United States is not prepared to defend its interests. There are nearly 100 million people in Indonesia who by all logic and past history should be pro-American. I am convinced they are truly afraid of Communist China but have the delusion that they (Indos) are clever enough to handle them and/or are convinced that the U.S. will back down and leave the Communist Chinese in a commanding position.
Therefore, it might be appropriate to consider what measures we should take to make clear our determination to use the international waters around the Indonesian islands and also to counteract the political impact of the possible detonation of an atomic bomb in Indonesia. The following steps might be taken:
- Reopen with State the question of sending one or more Navy ships through the Indonesian Straits “unannounced” to demonstrate our refusal to accept the Indonesian claim to these as territorial waters.
- Encourage the Atlantis II to carry out that part of its survey in the Banda Sea which is clearly outside Indonesian territorial waters and make it clear we will not stand for any harassment.
- Reconsider our decision to permit Philco Corporation to build a three-site communication system for the Indonesian Army. The Indonesians apparently are delaying any decision in this matter in order to reap a full political harvest from Malaysia’s bitter reaction to the United States support for its “enemy”. Although I supported the decision and feel the opposition to this sale is largely emotional, I’m leaning toward reneging now, not just because of Commonwealth opposition, but because of continued Sukarno boorishness.
- Take steps to minimize the political impact if Indonesia should detonate an atomic bomb. Such a detonation is hardly possible without ChiCom help but the Indos have surprised us before. The event would alarm not only the Malaysians but the Fils, too.
Rear Admiral, USN
- Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 70 A 3717, Indonesia, 000.1–291.2 (092. Indonesia). Secret. Drafted by D.E. Neuchterlein of OASD/ISA/FER.↩
- In telegram 190 from Djakarta, July 31. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON–US)↩
- As reported in telegram 188 from Djakarta, July 31. (Ibid.)↩
- Printed from a copy that indicates Blouin signed the original.↩