142. Memorandum for President Johnson 1

Indonesia

(Following is the text of a CIA situation report.)

A power move which may have far-reaching implications is under way in Djakarta.

A group which calls itself the “30 September Movement” claims to have forestalled a “Generals' coup” in Indonesia.2 A number of unnamed generals and politicians have been arrested, and the homes of Defense Minister General Nasution and Army Commander General Yani are under guard.

A decree issued on 1 October by Lt. Colonel Untung, Commander of the Presidential Bodyguard, stated that the government would be administered by an Indonesian Revolution Council. According to the decree, the council will follow already established government policies, and council membership will be announced shortly.

No mention has been made of any active role by Sukarno. The government radio initially announced that the 30 September Movement was organized to “save President Sukarno whose health was in danger.” It later commented that he was safe and “continues to carry out the leadership of the state.”

The 30 September group claims that the alleged Generals' plot was American inspired. The US Embassy's external telephone line was cut three hours before the Indonesian Radio announced that the “coup” had been thwarted. Troops are stationed at the Embassy.

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The immediate purpose of the 30 September Movement appears to be the elimination of any political role by anti-communist Army elements and a change in Army leadership. Action against similar Army elements apparently is also planned outside Djakarta. The affair may also be used to generate new Anti-American activity.

It seems likely that Sukarno knew in advance of the movement and its intention. Prime movers in the whole affair, however, in terms of timing and detailed planning may well have been First Deputy Prime Minister Subandrio and Communist Leaders who are close to him and to Sukarno.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Indonesia, Vol. V, Memos, 10/65–11/65. Secret. There is an indication on the memorandum that the President saw it.
  2. In Tosec 34 to USUN, October 1, the Department transmitted a memorandum, originally prepared by Underhill for William Bundy, to Rusk and Goldberg both of whom were at the United Nations. The memorandum noted that the 30th of September Movement had installed a 40-man Revolutionary Council led by Untung who had a “military police background and was trained in the United States,” although he was unknown to the Embassy. Underhill considered that the way the Revolutionary Council was virtually ignoring Sukarno “suggests he is either dead or completely incapacitated,” and noted that as a senior member of the Palace Guard, Untung was in an ideal position to know if Sukarno had been suddenly stricken. Underhill summarized the proclamations issued by Untung, and weighed 4 unfavorable tentative indicators against 3 favorable ones. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 23–9 INDON)