139. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Indonesia 1

435. 1. Department has given careful consideration to current situation in Medan and Surabaya, including recommendations your 598 and [Page 295]609,2 has concluded that what we faced with is culmination concerted campaign by PKI and probably others to bring about closing of our consulates, with collusion or tacit approval by Central Govt. We recognize possibility that GOI motivation may be complicated by desire use pressure on consulates as weapon against us, that it may find role of consulates as “whipping boy” useful to head off internal confrontation, and that it may lack ability control extremist actions in provinces.

2. We suspect GOI attitude may be composite of foregoing, but regardless of motivation GOI has created situation which is making our position untenable, and we do not see significant chance for improvement. We believe any further deterioration will introduce serious danger to personal safety of Americans in provinces, though perhaps not in Djakarta.

3. With this in mind, we believe time has come to demand explicit and effective guarantee from GOI of security American persons and property in Indonesia from both mob action and harassment by either public or private Indo groups or people. Failing receipt of such guarantee in credible form in very near future, we intend close Surabaya Consulate. Without specifying Surabaya Secretary will make this position clear to Palar today, noting that if we find such action necessary we will have to look into question of continuation of Indo presence here in its present form. Our current thought is that, if Indos do not follow through, we would close Surabaya late next week. Report Secretary’s meeting with Palar will follow septel.3

4. We fully aware value of Surabaya as listening post and that consular district contains number of American citizens, but feel we are too close to end of line to let these considerations outweigh need for action on our part. We also feel that if Indos fail to act and we close Surabaya, GOI will be faced with decision to protect Medan or face seeing it go too. If GOI really wants both consulates shut (at clearly implied price their consulates here) they will produce this result themselves at time their choosing with maximum damage to us. If they do not want both closed, vigorous action re Surabaya may bring about more cautious action re Embassy and Medan. We also recognize chance that Indos will interpret closing as hostile gesture, but believe we must take this chance.

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5. In order to have decks cleared and to minimize danger to individuals next week, believe you should bring dependents and any employees who can be spared from Surabaya to Djakarta during next few days, i.e. prior closing, and that Surabaya should complete maximum destruction classified material. Do not suggest, but do not wish foreclose if you think necessary, similar action with Medan at this point. At political level, you should follow line Secretary takes with Palar (septel) with Subandrio, Suwito or any other responsible Indonesian you can find so that we can be sure message gets through.

6. Request info current summary non-Govt U.S. citizens in Surabaya district, your plans for notifying them if Consulate closes, your views on probably academic question protection U.S. Govt property after closure.

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–8 INDON. Secret; Immediate. Drafted by Cuthell, cleared by Berger and McGeorge Bundy, and approved by Rusk. Repeated to Manila for FELG and CINCPAC for POLAD.
  2. In telegrams 598 and 609 from Djakarta, both September 10, Green urged that Rusk call in Indonesian Ambassador Palar to protest demonstrations against U.S. Consulates and to “make it painfully clear to him that any serious attacks against our properties or persons will force the US to take important decisions re its relations with Indonesia.” Green recommended that Rusk imply that the United States might close its consulates, or even the Embassy, and require Indonesia to do the same. (Ibid.)
  3. For the Rusk-Palar meeting, see Document 140.