141. Memorandum From James C. Thomson, Jr., of the National Security Council Staff to President Johnson 1

SUBJECT

  • Developments in the Far East

This is the second of the series of daily regional reports of possibly newsworthy items.

[Here follows a report on Vietnam.]

Indonesia

The going here is rough and will probably get rougher. The riots against our consulate at Surabaya caused Secretary Rusk to dress down the Indo Ambassador and demand assurances of protection for U.S. lives and property.2 Foreign Minister Subandrio has now given Ambassador Green such assurances; but we remain skeptical, and the Indo Communist Party may well be mounting a new offensive to force us out of our two consulates (and eventually out of the country altogether). An Indo-U.S. break would be a major victory for the Communists; [Page 299]relations are far harder to re-open than to break. But the Indo Government may hold the key.3

Our main objective remains to ride out the long storm with battened hatches (reduced diplomatic staffing) in an effort to play for the long-term post-Sukarno stakes. [We have solid new reports of Sukarno’s deteriorating health.]4

One item that caused concern in the press and on Capitol Hill is now dead and buried: the Indo Army has rejected a U.S. company’s offer (Philco) to buy Government-licensed equipment for three sites of a fixed-site telecommunications project. Because of our still friendly relations with key Army leaders, we would prefer to see this piece of news soft-pedalled.

[Here follow reports on “Japan, Australia, Taiwan, and Communist China.”]

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 14, Sept 1–22, 1965. Secret. There is an indication on the memorandum that the President saw it.
  2. See Document 140.
  3. In a September 23 memorandum to the President, Johnson saw, Cooper and McGeorge Bundy informed the President that Indonesian harassment of U.S. Consulates continued and the Department of State was considering closing them unless Indonesia took steps to protect them. Bundy and Cooper noted that Green believed closing the consulates under PKI pressure would “only whet the appetite” of anti-American forces and the Embassy would be the next target. Bundy and Cooper noted that the Department of State was under considerable pressure to reduce official representation in Indonesia to a minimum, and “the prospects for continued diplomatic relations with Indonesia become dimmer every day.” (Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Memos to the President, McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 14, Sept. 1–22, 1965)
  4. Brackets in the source text.