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

1055. For Assistant Secretary Bundy from Ambassador. Re Embtel 1017.2

Colonel Ethel has had two more meetings with Nasution’s aide who made a number of interesting points as follows:
Police say they have caught Aidit in central Java, but this fact is not being released now. For publication, he remains still at large. One reason given for this is to obstruct PKI from naming new head of party.
Sukarno trusts Nasution about 80 percent of the time and discussions continue between them. Nasution has been pressing for accept- ance of five following points, first two of which already granted: (a) appointment of Suharto as Chief of Staff, (b) ouster of Dani (there is a report that Dani left for K.L. yesterday. We are checking), (c) PKI totally banned, (d) re-tooling of cabinet, (e) disbanding of BPI, which is Subandrio’s intelligence organization.
In latter connection army is out to get Subandrio and is worried lest Subandrio succeed in his current efforts to poison Sukarno’s mind that there was in fact a plot master-minded by the NEKOLIMs, to be executed by the army, navy and police, against the air force. Sukarno has told Nasution that he wants all the facts of this 30 September incident in order to reach his final political solution on current crisis. The army is working hard, along with police, to get the facts and they already have a good deal of incriminating evidence against Subandrio and others.
There is a major split between Subandrio and Suwito (Subandrio’s Chief Deputy in the Foreign Office). Suwito has the support of almost all the foreign office.
If Subandrio has anything to say about it, it is questionable how long Suharto can remain as Army Chief of Staff. There is strong mutual dislike between them. Furthermore, Sukarno did not wish to appoint Suharto, but was forced to do so by Nasution.
Earlier report we had from another source to effect that Sukarno was ousting Sughardi as information officer of Department of Defense [Page 328] is not true. It is true that Sukarno at first considered Sughardi as being too outspoken against PKI and Tjakrabirawa, but Sukarno has relented, partly because he now knows more of the facts and partly because Sughardi used to be one of Sukarno’s aides. Sughardi now sees Sukarno every day.
There is danger of trouble in the navy, where Subandrio is attempting to stir up dissidence. Martadinata is aware of this and is trying to head it off.
Untung is proving to be a problem to his interrogators who have been unable to extract much of interest from him. (Note that this conflicts with a German Embassy source, but we believe that Nasution’s aide’s information correct.)
Army is now screening all of its officers to eliminate those who are untrustworthy. In past several days forty have been picked up for detention, including Lt. Col. Soewasono who, working directly under General Pronoto, was largely responsible for personnel assignments and who used his office for infiltration of leftists into key spots.
General Comment: In reviewing telegrams I have drafted during past two weeks reporting Colonel Ethel’s regular contacts with Nasution’s aide, I gain distinct impression that army is proceeding methodically against Communists and Subandrio, though being prepared to co-exist with Sukarno for reasons Embassy has recently reported in detail. Also looking back over record I note that Nasution’s aide has given us much accurate information as to up-coming developments, which helps to establish his reliability as well as fact that army leadership seems to know where it is going, at least in short run.
  1. Source: National Archives and Records Administration, RG 59, Central Files 1964–66, POL 15–1 INDON. Secret; Exdis; Immediate. Repeated to CINCPAC for Manila and to the Department of Defense. Passed to the White House.
  2. In telegram 1017, October 15, the Embassy reported that Nasution was satisfied with the U.S. assurance concerning British military intentions. (Ibid.)