130. Memorandum From Chester L. Cooper and James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1


  • Avoidance of Panic Regarding Indonesia

We have learned of some disturbing views that are circulating on the seventh floor at State regarding U.S. relations with Indonesia. We are at a point where either an initiative by you at today’s lunch or a talk with Bill Bundy is probably required.

[Page 277]

It appears that the report of the attack on our Medan consulate coincided with a contingency message from Marshall Green discussing third-country representation of our interests in the event of a break in relations with Indonesia—jointly to cause undue alarm at State.2 The result has been a high-level thrust toward quick and drastic action on the evacuation of dependents and the reduction of staff. There is danger that an impulsive decision may be reached here within the next two days.

This high-level concern is shared neither by Green nor by the working level of the Department. As Green reports in Djakarta’s 191 (attached3), he believes that actions at odds with the Bunker report would be premature at this time. Both he and the experts regard August 17th as the annual critical date. Actions taken by us prior to the 17th would tend to be self-fulfilling.

Marshall Green now has the authority to evacuate any dependents any time he chooses. We should let him take the lead on this one and support his judgment. What the seventh floor needs at the moment is to move gently some feet away from the panic button.4

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. IV, Memos, 3/65–9/65. Confidential.
  2. The report of the attack on the consulate in Medan is in telegram 3 from Medan, July 30. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 INDON) Regarding the contingency message, see footnote 2, Document 129.
  3. Dated July 31. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON–US)
  4. At the bottom of the memorandum, McGeorge Bundy wrote: “done by call to WPB[undy] who agrees. McGB.” Thomson, Ropa, and Cooper updated events in Indonesia in an August 9 memorandum to Bundy. They noted that Thomson was in close contact with FE in State and that harassment had ended with an August 7 attack on the U.S. Consulate at Surabaya where the Indonesian security forces “did their honest best to hold back the mob.” Green had rejected closing the Medan and Surabaya consulates and expected a “breather” until Sukarno’s August 17 speech. Green was described as “very much on top of the situation” and was proceeding with an orderly, quiet reduction of U.S. Embassy staff. State was “back on Green’s wave length—alert, concerned, and ready to move fast if necessary. FE has been informed that the President is also concerned.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Name File, Cooper Memos)