140. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Secretary’s Conversation with Ambassador Palar


  • The Secretary
  • Ambassador Lambertus N. Palar, Indonesian Embassy
  • Mr. Samuel D. Berger, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Far Eastern Affairs
  • Mr. H. Kent Goodspeed, Officer-in-Charge, Indonesian Affairs
The Secretary told Ambassador Palar that he had asked him to come in regarding the serious problem of Indonesia not affording the [Page 297]most elementary rights of legation to diplomatic and consular establishments.
The Secretary said that the United States was becoming increasingly concerned about the repeated intrusions in Indonesia on the rights of legation, which have been recognized for many years as fundamental to the elementary proprieties of international conduct. We afford these rights to Indonesian representatives in the United States, and we expect them to be afforded our representatives in Indonesia. The United States must know more clearly what the intentions of the Indonesian Government are. We find the present situation intolerable. If the Government of Indonesia really wants a continuation of diplomatic relations, it must afford adequate protection to our personnel and our installations.
The Secretary emphasized that he was not discussing any of the foreign policy issues about which Indonesia and the United States have different opinions. Rather, he was referring to the structure of diplomacy by which Foreign Relations are carried out. The most basic requirement of this structure is that diplomatic representatives be protected and allowed to conduct their business without harassment. The Indonesian Government is not providing this protection.
Ambassador Palar said he regretted the attacks on our establishments which had taken place. He attempted to explain them by saying that Sukarno allows demonstrations so that he may respond to the wishes of the people, and that unfortunately sometimes the demonstrations get out of hand, particularly outside of Djakarta. Sukarno’s strength, he said, is that he never goes beyond what he knows the people of Indonesia want.
The Secretary responded that the United States does not underestimate the leadership qualities of President Sukarno, which have been manifested in many ways. In this matter, however, we have not heard him tell the Indonesian people to respect the right of legation. What we have heard him say would tend to encourage demonstrations, not restrain them. We do not believe that President Sukarno is helpless in the face of public opinion. Our impression is that he is the leader of Indonesia, who shapes and molds public opinion in his country.
The Secretary emphasized that it is of the utmost importance that the highest level of the Indonesian Government understands that if Indonesia wants relations with the United States, it must correct the situation which has developed and which has now become dangerous. If the Indonesian Government allows mass demonstrations to continue to the point where we can no longer operate and where the safety of our people is involved, we shall have to examine the position of Indonesian installations in the United States. Before departing, Ambassador Palar said that he was embarrassed by what is happening in [Page 298]Indonesia and that he had no excuse for it. He would convey the Secretary’s request to his Government immediately.2
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 17 US–INDON. Confidential. Drafted by Goodspeed and approved in S on September 20.
  2. According to telegram 329 to Djakarta, September 17, Palar called on Rusk on that day to “reaffirm GOI intention honor rights of legation.” Palar stated that the Indonesian Government would allow and, on occasion encourage, demonstrations, but it had issued strict orders to the police to prevent violence. (Ibid., POL 23–8 INDON)