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

Unnumbered. For Assistant Secretary Bundy from Ambassador Green.

Following is Ambassador Green’s comments on Secretary Bundy’s message re pattern of UK actions on Kalimantan and how we should handle with Indonesians.2
I generally agree with your suggested approach. At same time I question contention in Deptel 4133 that “we should credit Indo military with sufficient sophistication to realize that British would not stab Indo army in back while it was dealing with PKI.” Latter contention overlooks suspiciousness of hard-pressed army and its poor communications. We just cannot leave to chance that Indos will understand British restraint.
In latter connection, Colonel Ethel was told today by his Indo army contact (who is close to Suharto and Nasution) that Indo army hopes British will not escalate Malaysia confrontation at this time because it would weaken army position. Source believes US only nation which could bring pressure to bear on British on this matter. Later on in conversation, source stated that Indo army leadership feels it has situation well in hand and will win this time, provided British do not interfere by escalation.
I therefore recommend that Ethel reply to his contact just about along lines Secretary Bundy suggests. This would of course require that British desisted from any kind of aggressive patrolling but it should not involve any weakening of UK defensive position.4
Colonel Ethel hopes see contact tomorrow.5
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL INDON–UK. Secret: Eyes Only. There is no time of transmission on this telegram, which was received in the Department of State at 2:46 p.m., October 10.
  2. Not further identified.
  3. In telegram 413 to Djakarta, October 7, the Department told Green it “had serious reservations on wisdom proposal that British convey to Indonesia military willingness to refrain from attacks as long as Indo Army continues to press PKI.” No matter how discreetly passed, it would saddle the recipient Indonesian with the danger of “exposure as traitor to nation.” The Department then suggested that the Indonesian military was sophisticated enough to realize that the British “would not stab Army in back while dealing with PKI” without being specifically informed. (National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–1966, POL INDON–UK)
  4. In telegram 437 to Djakarta, October 10, the Department agreed with Green’s recommendation, but asked that the Embassy withhold action until the matter was cleared with the British. (Ibid.) In telegram 1918 to London, repeated to Djakarta as telegram 446, the Department reported that Berger had suggested to a British Embassy official that the United States pass the following message to the Indonesians: “First, we wish to assure you that we have no intention of interfering Indonesian internal affairs directly or indirectly. Second we have good reason to believe that none of our allies intend any offensive action against Indonesia.” (Ibid., POL 23–9 INDON) The British agreed, but asked that the phrase, “to initiate,” be included between “allies intend” and “any offensive action.” (Telegram 447 to Djakarta, October 1; ibid.)
  5. Printed from a copy that bears no signature.