134. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • The Secretary
  • Under Secretary Ball
  • Assistant Secretary MacArthur
  • Senator Fulbright
  • Senator Gore
  • Senator Symington
  • Senator Pastore


  • Breakfast Meeting and Informal Discussion of Indonesia

The subject of Indonesia came up briefly at the breakfast meeting this morning attended by the above persons. The Senators were interested in what Sukarno had said in his August 7 [17] Independence Anniversary speech. Under Secretary Ball observed that the US rather than Britain and Australia had been singled out for attack although perhaps the attack was less violent than one might have expected. The speech clearly aligned Sukarno and Indonesia with the Communist World in terms of objectives and purposes.

There was then an inconclusive discussion about the role of the PKI and the army in Indonesia, during which the Under Secretary indicated that Sukarno’s activities had considerably aided the PKI’s penetration of the government. One of the Senators said that he understood the army would oppose the PKI. The Under Secretary commented that the situation would not arise as long as Sukarno was at the helm. Should Sukarno disappear, and there were rumors that he had been quite ill recently, it was not clear and predictable whether the army would go all out against the PKI or whether the PKI processes of infiltration of the government had reached that point where the army would try to accommodate itself with the PKI in some form of modus vivendi. Much might depend on the kind of action the PKI initiated should Sukarno disappear and this is unpredictable at this juncture.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON. Confidential. Drafted by Douglas MacArthur II. Copies were sent to Ball, Rusk’s Special Assistant C. Arthur Borg, Read, and William Bundy. The time of the meeting is from the Johnson Library, Rusk Appointment Book.