155. Telegram From the Embassy in Indonesia to the Department of State1

Unnumbered. Please pass Secretary Bundy from Ambassador Green:

Reference Deptel 458.2 In addition reply regular channels. We were approached yesterday through Col. Ethel by Nasution’s liaison officer for help with portable voice communications gear for use by guards protecting Nasution and other top army people and their families. [Page 323] Unclear whether AP story based approach here or in US. We have carefully limited knowledge of liaison officer’s request to several key officers. In this Embassy, none of whom have talked to AP or anyone else about this.
[less than 1 line of source text not declassified] has, with my approval, offered to provide three Motorola P–31 handy-talkies 49.9545 with batteries and battery chargers. Army Attache will covertly turn over the above to the Indonesian army on October 14.
We are taking cautious approach to providing further assistance of this kind [less than 1 line of source text not declassified] although it is in our interest to preserve present army leadership from danger assassination which we assess very real. Also believe small quiet gesture such as this (or help to Nasution’s child) could be important in terms of helping a friend in need and will be remembered accordingly.
Conceivably army has intention to seek again from US sources equipment for communications with outer islands. As you know, this is old story which could be basis AP report.
I would appreciate your comments.3

  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, DEF 21 INDON. Secret. There is no time of transmission on this telegram, which was received at the Department of State at 9:33 a.m. on October 14.
  2. In telegram 458 from Djakarta, October 13, the Department informed the Embassy of an Associated Press story based on an “informed source” that Suharto had sent a colonel to the United States to procure communications equipment to contain the Communist threat of civil war in Indonesia. The Department asked for the Embassy’s comment. (Ibid.)
  3. In telegram 470 to Djakarta, October 14, Bundy told Green that he completely concurred in the action that Green took on portable voice communications. The Department had no indication that the Army would renew its request for a major communications project with the outer islands. Such would be a long-range project and the Army probably had sufficient control of civilian communications network for the time being. If the Army renewed its request, the Department suggested it should be given serious consideration. (Ibid.) Printed from an unsigned copy.