14. Memorandum From Michael V. Forrestal of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1


  • The Attorney General’s Trip to the Far East

At Tab A you will find a memorandum discussing arguments for and against a Presidential Determination on assistance to Indonesia at this time.2 At Tab B you find a draft background guidance for the press on the trip,3 and at Tab C the Department of State’s suggested instructions for the Attorney General.4

The State Department’s instructions describe the purpose of the meeting with Sukarno and can be summarized briefly as follows:


The main purpose of the trip is to get across as forcefully as possible to Sukarno that the policy of military confrontation which he is pursuing against Malaysia will have disastrous consequences for our relations with his country. This is not the case of West New Guinea. The reaction among the American people against Indonesia is already so strong that the possibility of maintaining any of the cooperative programs which we have established over the years is becoming remote. If hostilities should escalate and the Australians become involved, Sukarno will find us and the rest of the civilized world necessarily aligned against him.

In short, the Attorney General will use every possible argument to persuade Sukarno to abandon his military activities in Borneo completely, or, at least, agree to a cease-fire.

The second objective of the visit is to bring Sukarno, Macapagal and Tunku back to the negotiating table. If Sukarno gives reasonable assurance that he will abandon or suspend his military activities, then the Attorney General will proceed to Manila and Kuala Lumpur in an effort to encourage the leaders in these two capitals to meet as quickly as possible. The Attorney General will not himself attempt to negotiate their difficulties; his job is to help clear away obstacles to the three of them getting together and coming up with an Asian solution.
If the talks have gone well this far, the Attorney General will go on to London. His purpose there is to tell the British the results of his talks in the Far East and to persuade them to support whatever arrangements for an early meeting of the three Asian leaders he has been able to work out.

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files: Job 80–B01285A, Meetings with President, 1 January–30 April 1964. Secret.
  2. See Document 12.
  3. Attached, but not printed.
  4. See attachment to Document 13.